Paris Gourtsoyannis: UK Constitutional crisis has not been averted

If the justices of the Supreme Court had ruled that the Scottish Parliament did have to hold a vote to authorise Article 50, it would have triggered a constitutional crisis.

Nicola Sturgeon could make use of the courts decision Picture: Ian Georgeson

But the fact they have now underlined the Scottish Parliament’s lack of constitutional authority on such a important issue affecting Scotland’s future will give Nicola Sturgeon just as much ammunition.

At Westminster, attention now turns to the parliamentary battle ahead. The question of whether to back Article 50 legislation, seek to amend it, or reject it altogether is already dividing the Labour Party, but that doesn’t mean the government will have its own way.

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The Lib Dems will seek to attach a demand for a second EU referendum on the terms of the final Brexit deal, while the SNP will call on the government to seek approval from devolved administrations.

Both those amendments may struggle to find cross-party support, but MPs on all sides of the Commons want the government to publish a detailed white paper on its Brexit plans before Article 50 is triggered.

And ministers will have to get approval from the House of Lords, where 102 Lib Dem peers are prepared to make life awkward for the government.