British lawmakers must approve government plans to trigger Article 50 to kickstart official Brexit process, the Supreme Court rules. Sarah Charlton reports.
A significant blow to British Prime Minister Theresa May's plans for Brexit. The Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday (January 24) that she can't start the first steps without parliament's involvement. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SUPREME COURT PRESIDENT, DAVID NEUBERGER, SAYING: "By a majority of 8-3, the Supreme Court rules the government cannot trigger Article 50 without an act of parliament authorising it to do so." The court president says an act of parliament is needed because exiting the EU will change some UK laws and the rights of citizens. The court however ruled that the government doesn't have to ask Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland separately. May hoped she could use executive powers to invoke Article 50 herself, and begin two years of divorce talks. Instead, the Brexit process will be open to scrutiny from lawmakers. Potentially muddling what May had hoped would be a clean break. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn says Labour won't seek to frustrate triggering of Article 50, but will seek to amend legislation. Brexiteers call it an attempt to thwart or water down exit negotiations, such as retaining access to the bloc's single market - a so-called "soft" Brexit. However, the president of the Supreme Court stating from the start, the issue isn't about overturning the referendum result, but how it should be legally implemented.