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Barristers argue that Parliament should make final decision on Brexit

15th Jul 2016

More than 1,000 barristers have signed a letter to the prime minister urging him to allow parliament to decide whether the UK should leave the European Union, arguing that there must be a free vote in parliament before article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon treaty can be triggered.

The letter describes the referendum result as only advisory because it was based on “misrepresentations of fact and promises that could not be delivered”.

The letter states: “The referendum did not set a threshold necessary to leave the EU, commonly adopted in polls of national importance, eg, 60% of those voting or 40% of the electorate. This is presumably because the result was only advisory.

“The outcome of the exit process will affect a generation of people who were not old enough to vote in the referendum. The positions of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar require special consideration, since their populations did not vote to leave the EU.

“The parliamentary vote should take place with a greater understanding as to the economic consequences of Brexit, as businesses and investors in the UK start to react to the outcome of the referendum.

“For all of these reasons, it is proposed that the government establishes, as a matter of urgency, a royal commission or an equivalent independent body to receive evidence and report, within a short, fixed timescale, on the benefits, costs and risks of triggering article 50 to the UK as a whole, and to all of its constituent populations. The parliamentary vote should not take place until the commission has reported.”

The letter is the latest initiative aimed at persuading Downing Street not to exercise royal prerogative powers and instead allow parliament to make the ultimate decision. way for the right method to be adopted in serving notice under article 50. We will certainly be pressing the court to deal with the matter swiftly.”