British court says Brexit plans must be approved by Parliament

LONDON, A British court ruled Parliament must approve Brexit plans before beginning the two-year countdown to the country’s formal departure from the European Union.

Lead claimant in the Article 50 case, Gina Miller (C), gives a statement outside of the High Court after a decision ruling in her landmark lawsuit in London on Thursday. In a major blow for Britain’s government, the High Court has ruled that the prime minister can’t trigger Britain’s exit from the European Union without approval from Parliament. Photo by Hannah McKay/EPA

The ruling by a panel of London judges is likely setting up a Supreme Cour tconfrontation for the final move in Britain’s exit from the bloc. It is widely seen as a setback for Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to trigger Article 50, the formal process that begins the two-year window for an exit.

“If notice is given under Article 50, it will inevitably have the effect of changing domestic law,” the judges said.

The legal action was brought by several residents who challenged the legality of the government to utilize Article 50 of the Libson Treaty that triggers Britain’s exit from the bloc without consulting Parliament. May has said she has the right to move ahead without parliamentary approval.

A government spokesman said the legal decision will be taken before the Supreme Court in early December.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn urged the government to begin negotiating with Parliament immediately, saying “there must be transparency and accountability to Parliament on the terms of Brexit.”

In June, British voters shocked the world when they voted to leave the 28-nation European Union, prompting British Prime Minister David Cameron to step down.

By Amy R. Connolly