Northern Ireland secretary: UK government will accept supreme court ruling on Brexit

Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire has said the British government will accept any supreme court decision forcing Westminster to vote on Brexit, despite insisting his party is staunchly opposed to a similar ruling from the high court, writes Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Political Correspondent.

Speaking in Dublin at a crowded Brexit fallout event today, the Conservative MP said while his Government respects the independence of the judiciary, it believes the British population's referendum views must be heard.

In a highly divisive step last Thursday, Britain's high court concluded that the Brexit referendum result can only be acted on once it is supported by a vote in parliament.

The move directly contradicts British prime minister Theresa May's position that she has the right to trigger Article 50 of the EU constitution - which begins the formal EU exit - without turning to parliament.

This is because the referendum vote last June was based on a decision by parliament to allow a decision to be made by referendum - effectively transferring the decision out to a public vote.

In response to last Thursday's high court ruling, the British government has insisted it should have the right to instigate a Brexit itself, while Remain campaigners have urged MPs to block any attempt to act on the referendum result.

Speaking in Dublin today, Northern Ireland secretary and Conservative MP Mr Brokenshire (pictured) repeated the view.

While saying he as a trained lawyer and his government believe in the independence of judges and will accept a supreme court decision if it backs up the high court position, he believes the referendum result should still be acted on.

"As a government we are very clear that the independence of the judiciary is one of the fundamental principles of our country.

"But we disagree with the decision of the high court on the decision it has taken, and that's why we will be appealing," he said.

"Clearly we will stand by any decision the supreme court rules on, but we do disagree with that assessment and that's why we will be appealing."

Asked if the Brexit result may now not be acted on, Mr Brokenshire added:

"Ultimately this is about giving the will of the people a voice. The UK public gave their verdict and we will follow through on that."

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

Related Articles

A hostile president in France would be far more destructive than Brexit

Taoiseach travels to the Hague for further Brexit talks

British retailers warn of risks of 22% tariff on EU food without Brexit deal

Tory election manifesto 'will include PM's Brexit pledges' to stifle rebellion

More in this Section

Minister for Health under pressure for handling of NMH ownership

Citizens' Assembly meets for final session on 8th amendment

No winner of tonight's Lotto worth more than €9.5m

Howlin: Coveney and Varadkar using FG leadership race to 'drag country further to the right'


Today's Stories

Three incidents in two weeks involving drones at Cork Airport

Call for campaign to tackle alcohol in pregnancy

Leo Varadkar’s pension plan for ‘second class sector’

After raising €4m cystic fibrosis charity says it needs no more money

Lifestyle

What to watch this week

Valberg is a hidden gem with skiing for all the family

Restaurant review: Cirillo’s, 140 Baggot Street, Dublin 2

Take a stroll through Ireland's heritage gardens

More From The Irish Examiner