UPDATE: The High Court has ruled against a second Parliamentary vote that was proposed in order to legitimise Britain’s departure from the single market. A MP vote is not needed to get the UK out of the single market.
Another Brexit challenge has risen from the ashes, with the High Court set to hear another proposal for a Parliamentary vote on Brexit. It was only yesterday that MPs voted in favour of triggering Article 50, which itself was a result of the High Court ruling in favour of Gina Miller who called for such a vote. This time, it’s a vote on the legitimacy of Britain leaving the single market.
The Single Market Justice campaign, which obviously doesn’t plan on doing justice to the majority of British people, is set to question the legitimacy of Britain leaving the European Economic Area (EEA) on the grounds that it joined the EEA separate to joining the EU. As such, it will propose a Parliamentary vote similar to the one seen earlier this week.
If successful, the triggering of Article 127, which will detail the procedure of Britain’s departure from the EEA, will have to be passed in Parliament. This means Brexit has been delayed yet again by an organisation that, funnily enough, pretends to uphold justice.
Once upon a time Brexit meant Brexit, but now all of a sudden it doesn’t mean 100% Brexit. Yesterday, the Brexit secretary David Davis did not rule out this vote. He said that Britain’s departure from the EU does not automatically guarantee it’s departure from the single market, as it is a “legal empty vessel”.
The EEA, more commonly known as the single market, includes all 27 EU countries along with Norway and Iceland. Remaining in the single market would mean the United Kingdom will not leave the “one territory without any internal borders or other regulatory obstacles to the free movement of goods and services”, as defined by the European Commission. If this is to happen, thanks to campaigns like “Single Market Justice”, then Brexit doesn’t really mean Brexit.
The Single Market Justice campaign’s argument is that last year’s referendum did not specifically refer to the EEA. The fact that it’s flaunting its ignorance is strikingly clear when looking at the basics: the people were promised a “hard” Brexit, not a soft version. The campaign wrongly and unjustly is trying to bring about the latter.
Because the campaign argues that the European Economic Area Act of 1993 was established through British law, the High Court may decide that Britain’s departure from the EEA may not be constitutionally supported without a vote in Parliament.
The Prime Minister already released a White Paper detailing her plans for Brexit, which was one her twelve objectives. Many of its contents are a relief, and the Prime Minister’s goals range from “Ending the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the UK” to creating “an immigration system that allows us to control numbers”.
But it did mention that contributions to the EU may not be completely cut off: “There may be European programmes in which we might want to participate. If so, it is reasonable that we should make an appropriate contribution.”
But the biggest concern at this moment is the new challenge posed to the Brexit process. It is likely that the High Court may give in to the arguments made by the Single Market Justice campaign, as a similar principle was used when it ruled in favour of a Parliamentary vote on triggering Article 50. If so, then the majority of British voters will be left betrayed yet again by another obstacle to a smooth but hard Brexit.