The Spectator

Spectator live blog: The Supreme Court’s Brexit hearing, day two

The second day of the Supreme Court hearing has seen the Government continue to put forward its case for why it should be allowed to pull the Article 50 trigger without the say so of Parliament. And Lord Pannick has been arguing why Parliament must give approval for the start of the process of Brexit. Here’s how the day unfolded on our Spectator live blog:

4.30pm: Pannick’s main pitch is about the power of Parliament. He tells the Supreme Court that ‘Parliament is sovereign and only Parliament can remove that which it has incorporated into domestic law’ – meaning that Brexit cannot be started by the Government without the agreement of Parliament. He boils down his argument to a series of main points, including the fact that the 2015 Referendum Act didn’t make any provision for the triggering of Article 50 – meaning that it should be down to Parliament. And that only a law passed by Parliament can revoke rights which were introduced by Britain joining the EU back in 1972. On this point, he says: ‘It is so obvious, so basic’

3.10pm: Pannick tells the court that the question in the referendum is not the be all and end all. In particular, he says that the question put to voters – ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’ – cannot be assumed to be ‘the only question that parliament would want to consider’ in this matter. 2.50pm: Lord Pannick has taken to the floor and is now spelling out why the Government’s appeal against the High Court’s earlier ruling should be thrown out. Pannick told the Supreme Court that ‘there is no relevant prerogative power’ enabling the Government to trigger Article 50 without the say-so of Parliament. Pannick also said that his argument was that ‘it is inherently unlikely’ that when Parliament enacted the 1972 Act, which brought Britain into the European community in the first place, there was nothing within the act which suggested a change could be brought about by a minister (i.e.

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