North East MPs react to High Court Brexit ruling

MPs have been having their say today following the announcement on Article 50 and Brexit.
MPs have been having their say today following the announcement on Article 50 and Brexit.

North East MPs have reacted to a landmark High Court ruling that Theresa May alone cannot trigger Brexit.

Today's decision by top judges means that the prime minister cannot trigger Article 50 without a parliamentary vote by MPs.

We have asked a number of North East MPs and campaigners on both sides for their reactions to the ruling.

Their responses will be added as they come in.

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott welcomed the decision.

She said: "I am delighted with the ruling.

"I do think it is the right thing to do - Parliament is the sovereign place to discuss these things."

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright said: "This is not stopping the will of the country, or the majority of the country, who wanted to come out of the EU.

"If anything, one of the strands of the Leave argument was that they wanted Parliament to be absolutely sovereign. It is a case of making sure Parliament has a key role and this and there is a strong democratic mandate.

"It is making sure our Parliamentary democracy is recognised throughout this entire process."

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson said: “The decision of the British people must be respected, but it is also important that Parliament maintains its role in scrutinising and holding the Government to account as they negotiate our exit from the EU. This ruling continues that important convention.”

Richard Tice, Co-Chair of Leave Means Leave, said: “This is disgraceful – 17.4 million people will be furious today.

“Our democracy is being damaged by an elite band of people in the legal system.

“There is absolutely no need for a parliamentary vote.

“The question was put to the British people and they voted to leave the EU.

"British business has reacted well to the Brexit vote and it is essential that the process of leaving the EU begins as soon as possible to ensure confidence in the British economy continues.

“A vote in Parliament is wholly unnecessary, time consuming and betrays the democratic will of the people.”

The Government has been given the go-ahead to appeal against the ruling at the Supreme Court.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck said: “The High Court ruling does not change my commitment to respect the will of the British people and push for the best possible Brexit for the people of South Shields.

“However, this morning’s ruling shows that the government must consult parliament over the terms of its proposed negotiation in a transparent manner and cannot ride roughshod over constitutional principles.

“The British people did not vote for a return of sovereignty to this country only to have it by-passed by this unelected and unaccountable government.”

UKIP North East MEP Jonathan Arnott said it left “a bad taste in the mouth”.

He added: “Whichever side lost was always going to appeal; this is a matter of law which will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court. As such, it’s the ruling on December 7th by the Supreme Court which truly matters.

“But this ruling still leaves a bad taste in the mouth: if the Supreme Court were to confirm this decision in December, it would give those MPs who were defeated by the British people at the ballot box the opportunity to have a second bite at the cherry fighting against Brexit.

“Some will stop at nothing to subvert and undermine the will of the people. But I put any MP who attempts to do that on notice: if you try to frustrate our democratic voice, we’ll be taking your seat from you at the next General Election.”

However, North East Labour MEPs Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen welcomed the High Court’s judgment that the UK Parliament must be consulted on the triggering of Article 50, the rule that will lead to our withdrawal from the EU.

Jude Kirton-Darling said: “This is excellent news, as I feel very strongly that MPs should have not just a say but the right to vote on the how the government implements the EU referendum result. We do not yet know what the terms of any deal will be and it is therefore important that our lawmakers can effectively scrutinise it. This is an example of parliament taking back control.

“It is only right and proper that democratically elected MPs can express their opinions on such an important issue.”

Paul Brannen MEP said: “A key point for many people voting to leave the EU was that Parliament should be sovereign. This judgment supports Parliament remaining sovereign in the big decisions affecting our country.

“Parliament should not only have the power to examine the deal reached with the EU but also to approve it by voting for it, and as such we are very pleased about this judgment.”

According to The People's Pledge - The Campaign for and EU Referendum, the majority of MPs are likely to back triggering Article 50.

The cross-party campaign claims its research has revealed that 258 MPs are already set to back the move if a vote is held, with 94 further Conservatives still to indicate their view.

A majority in parliament requires 322 votes, which means that Theresa May is currently only 64 votes short of a majority with 94 of her own MPs in hand.

The group also claim the prime minister is likely to be helped by a surprising number of former Remain-backing Labour MPs in northern constituencies now aligning themselves with their local voters and pledging to respect the outcome of the referendum.