The United Kingdom’s attempt to leave the European Union was thrown into disarray Thursday after a High Court ruled the process cannot begin without the government winning a further vote in parliament. Theresa May’s government had argued the summer’s referendum, in which the British electorate decided by a margin of 52-48 to leave the EU, negated the need for a further vote in Britain’s House of Commons. However, in what could prove to be a pivotal ruling, the High Court ruled the government cannot trigger Article 50—the clause in the EU constitution that begins a two-year exit process—without parliamentary approval. The court case was brought by a group of powerful Remainers headed up by Gina Miller, an influential London fund manager. The British government immediately said it would appeal.
In a statement after the decision, Miller said “This result today is about all of us: Our United Kingdom and our futures. It is not about how any of us voted—each of us voted to do what we believed was the right thing for our country. This case is about process, not politics… [We] are pleased to have played our part in helping form a debate on whether the rights conferred on U.K. citizens through Parliament legislation 44 years ago could be casually snuffed out by the executive without Parliament or our elected representatives and without proper prior consultation about the government’s intentions for Brexit.”
— AFP news agency (@AFP) November 3, 2016