Scottish Government to join Brexit Court fight

The Scottish Government is to join the next legal battle over Brexit and argue for Holyrood to have a vote on the issue.
Nicola Sturgeon says Holyrood should have a vote on BrexitNicola Sturgeon says Holyrood should have a vote on Brexit
Nicola Sturgeon says Holyrood should have a vote on Brexit

The UK Supreme Court today ruled that Scotland's top law officer will be allowed to address a hearing on the triggering of the Article 50 process to leave the EU next month.The High Court recently ruled that MPs must have a vote on the Article 50 process, but the UK Government is opposed to this and is appealing the issue at the Supreme Court next month.It was confirmed today that Scotland's Lord Advocate James Wolffe will be allowed to address the hearing, along with legal representatives from the other devolved administrations.

The Scottish Government's Brexit minister Michael Russell welcomed the decision.

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But he added; "We continue to call on the UK Government to drop the appeal and to accept that Parliament has the right to determine the triggering of article 50. We recognise the decision of people in England and Wales to support Brexit, but the views of people in Scotland cannot simply be brushed aside.

"The Lord Advocate will be making the case on behalf of the Scottish Government and he will set out his arguments to the court.”

A Supreme Court spokesman said today: "Counsel for the Scottish Government and for the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain have been invited to address in their skeleton arguments the relevance of points of Scots Law, so far as they do not also form part of the law of England and Wales, to the determination of the present proceedings."Ms Sturgeon, believes that the consent of the Scottish Parliament and the UK's other devolved parliaments and assemblies should also be sought before Article 50 is triggered.

It could mean there would have to be a vote on Article 50 in Holyrood as well as in Westminster if the Supreme rules against the UK Government. However, it is unclear whether this would mean that Brexit could blocked.

A panel of three High Court judges last month agreed with campaigners that the move would be unconstitutional, and that parliament would need to vote before the formal process of leaving the EU can begin.

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, whose party back a second referendum on the final terms of Brexit also welcomed today's decision.

He added: “Whatever decision is made by the Supreme Court will have a profound impact here in Scotland. Previous court decisions have affirmed that Theresa May must not trigger Article 50 without a vote in parliament. Acting without the approval of Parliament risks plunging the UK into a constitutional crisis. Scotland will now rightly be able to contribute to this appeal."