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High Court rules against government in Brexit case

The UK government cannot begin negotiations to leave the EU without the approval of Parliament, the UK High Court has ruled.

The legal verdict is a surprise victory for opponents of the government’s plans for Brexit. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said that she would unilaterally trigger Article 50 by the end of March, arguing that she did not need the approval of Parliament to do so.

However, the High Court’s ruling means the government will not be able to do so, and must seek approval from Parliament first before invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty, which triggers formal discussions with the EU about the final terms for the UK to leave the European Union.

Even before the verdict was announced, it was expected that whichever side lost the case would appeal against the decision to the Supreme Court. If the verdict stands, the decision will mean negotiations over the UK’s approach to Brexit will become the subject of intensive scrutiny in Parliament.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear the appeal in December.

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