LONDON: The UK government on Tuesday lost a landmark legal challenge after the Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May must seek Parliament’s consent to take Britain out of the European Union (EU).
The judgement means the British Prime Minister cannot trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to officially begin Brexit negotiations with the EU until Britain’s MPs and peers give their backing.
The government had argued that it already had the executive powers to trigger Article 50 but Supreme Court judges rejected the case by a majority of eight to three.
UK Attorney General Jeremy Wright said the government was “disappointed” but would “comply” and do “all that is necessary” to implement the court’s judgement.
UK Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis is expected to make a statement in the House of Commons within hours after the government lost its appeal.
Downing Street has been preparing for the result for weeks and is understood to have drafted a short Bill to seek parliamentary approval to trigger Article 50.
May has insisted that she will keep to her plan to trigger Brexit by the end of March.
The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union is widely known as Brexit. Following a referendum held on June 23, the UK gov-ernment intends to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union by the end of March 2017.