Transcripts (perhaps draft) of the Article 50 ‘Brexit’ Appeal hearings at the Supreme Court

Perhaps while that is going on, can I ask you a more general point which is one that has been troubling me, and it arises out of what Lord Reed was saying, whether really the question we are dealing with is not so much a question of parliamentary sovereignty, which everyone accepts, but whether we as a court can tell Parliament how to exercise that sovereignty. Imagine this situation, assume after the referendum vote the Government said: we think we should regard this as Brexit means Brexit, but we want to make sure that Parliament is with us on that, so we will put a motion before Parliament, rather as they did back in 1972; saying: we want your approval, Parliament, to launch Article 50 and we are not going to go ahead with Article 50 unless we get it.

Now, they would say: of course, we accept that is not legislation, we will need in due course, in two years' time or after our negotiations, to have a repeal bill which will deal with the rights that can be transposed into domestic law, make sure there isn't a black hole of rights which cannot, but that will all be done, but for the moment what we are doing is simply making sure that Parliament is with us.

Now, as I understand it, you say that would not be good enough. It would be open to us, the court, to say to Parliament: no, no, that motion, even though it has been supported by a large majority (Inaudible) is not good enough, you have to have a one-line bill which makes all the difference. The one-line bill does not solve any of the problems, it doesn't solve any of the problems of what we do about all the detail; but you say that is a magic wand that makes all the difference.

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