Colm O’Cinneide: Why Parliamentary Approval for the Triggering of Article 50 TEU Should Be Required as a Matter of Constitutional Principle – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The argument that Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) cannot be lawfully triggered without the consent of Parliament has generated plenty of excited discussion over the last week, both in specialist legal circles and in the wider world. The announcement by Mishcon de Reya that that legal action was pending to ‘ensure the UK Government will not trigger the procedure for withdrawal from the EU without an Act of Parliament’ has brought this debate to boiling point. Some commentators have talked excitedly about a ‘legal dream team… launching a last gasp legal bid to preserve Britain’s European Union membership’. In response, there has been a visceral backlash in pro-Leave ranks against what they see as an attempt by conniving lawyers to thwart the will of the people. The front page of the Daily Express on 4 July 2016 led with the banner headline ’Top Lawyers in Threat to Referendum Vote & Democracy’, going on to warn about ‘outrage and rioting on the streets’. Similarly, Professor Frank Furedi commenting on Twitter described the proposed legal action as nothing less than an ‘authoritarian attempt at a “legal” coup’, with Brendan O’Neill indulging in similar hysteria in the Spectator.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 7th July 2016