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UK ministers challenge Scottish court ruling on Brexit

THE UK Government will today mount a last-ditch challenge to an emphatic judgment by Scotland’s highest court about giving MPs the power to block Brexit.

The Advocate General for Scotland’s office will ask the Court of Session for leave to appeal a decision handed down by Scotland’s most senior judge and two others last month.

In September’s landmark decision by the Court’s Inner House, a group of Scottish politicians won permission to ask Europe’s highest court for an authoritative ruling on whether MPs can halt Brexit by revoking the Article 50 withdrawal process.

The Lord President, Lord Carloway, said the idea, dismissed by UK government lawyers as “hypothetical and academic”, should be referred as a matter of urgency to the European Court of Justice before Westminster votes on a final Brexit deal.

If the ECJ rules Parliament can revoke Article 50 without the permission of the other 27 EU states, it could in theory result in MPs stopping Brexit.

A one-day hearing at the ECJ in Luxembourg has now been scheduled for November 27.

The UK Government will today ask the Court of Session to reconsider and refer the case to the UK Supreme Court on appeal, with the aim of recalling the ECJ reference.

The case could be decided in Edinburgh today or continued at a more substantive hearing.

The fight for a definitive ECJ ruling has been led by Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, Labour MEPs Catherine Stihler and David Martin, SNP MEP Alyn Smith, SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC and Scottish LibDem MP Christine Jardine.

They asked the Court of Session to ask the ECJ whether parliamentarians could instruct the UK government to revoke Article 50.

Their case was initially dismissed in June by Lord Boyd, but in September they won an appeal heard by the Lord President, Lord Menzies and Lord Drummond Young.

Mr Wightman told the Herald: “The reference [to the ECJ] has already been made. I don’t know why the UK government is wasting more time and money opposing a fairly resounding decision of the Inner House.”

Jolyon Maugham QC, whose campaign group the Good Law Project has helped coordinate the politicians’ case, said the UK Government’s arguments were “hopeless”.

He said: “The Government is scared witless at the thought of MPs and the public learning we was still Remain. If Theresa May can’t get her Brexit through Parliament we need a People’s Vote because she doesn’t have a mandate for driving the country off a cliff.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We were disappointed by the decision of the Court of Session and are seeking to appeal it in the Supreme Court.

“But it remains a matter of firm policy that we will not be revoking the Article 50 notice, and we will not comment further on ongoing litigation.”


Source : HeraldScotland

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