Liam Fox said the government is disappointed at the High Court ruling that the government cannot trigger the formal process of leaving the European Union without the prior approval of Parliament.
The International Trade Secretary told the House of Commons: “The government is disappointed by the court’s judgment but is determined to respect the result of the referendum. This judgment raises important and complex matters of law and it’s right that we consider it carefully before deciding how to proceed.”
In one of the most important constitutional cases in generations, three senior judges ruled that the prime minister cannot use the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to start the UK’s exit from the EU without the prior authority of Parliament.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is lobbying to keep Britain in the European single market and against a so-called “hard Brexit”, described the result as “significant indeed” while Leave campaigner Dominic Raab said the decision was “disappointing”.
The Tory former minister said: “This case is a plain attempt to block Brexit by people who are out of touch with the country and refuse to accept the result. However, the vote to leave the EU was clear and they should not seek to obstruct it. Leaving the EU provides us with the opportunity to create a society which works for all. Instead of trying to row back on the referendum result, the country should be moving forward and working together to make a success of Brexit.”
Former Tory minister Anna Soubry urged Dr Fox to examine the details of the ruling. She said: “I think you said the government will be appealing. Could I ask you on behalf of the government please to look at their learned judges’ ruling and understand that it’s not about a re-run of the arguments about the EU referendum, it’s all about Parliament’s sovereignty. In that event will the government look at it carefully to decide whether or not in fact the learned judges are right and it’s this place that should and indeed will trigger Article 50?”