Lincolnshire MPs who supported and opposed leaving the European Union have agreed that Parliament has a duty to vote to trigger Article 50 after the High Court ruled that Theresa May’s government does not have the power to begin formal negotiations to leave the organisation without consulting them.
The landmark ruling from judges on November 3 means that Prime Minister Theresa May and ministers cannot now trigger Article 50 – the process by which the UK begins its formal departure from the European Union – by ignoring the calls for a vote from MPs.
A spokesperson for the PM confirmed that the government would appeal against the decision, with the Supreme Court set to hear the case next month, with a ruling expected in January.
Three of the Conservative MPs for Greater Lincolnshire told Lincolnshire Reporter that they fully supported the government’s decision.
One of the most vociferous critics of the court’s ruling was Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, who accused the judges of “acting like petulant children”.
The passionate Eurosceptic who was recently elected by his fellow Conservative MPs to the Brexit select committee, also said that the High Court was obstructing the will of the British voters, 51.9% of whom voted to Leave the European Union.
McCartney said: “Those who took this to the High Court are acting like petulant children, who, because they did not get their own way in the referendum, are doing all they can to impede the will of the people.
They are so arrogant, they obviously do not believe in democracy and regard themselves as better and more intelligent than the 17.4 million who voted for our great country to leave the European Union. Sadly for them, they are wrong.
“I am confident the government will succeed in its appeal, will still invoke Article 50 as planned, and the will of the people of our great democratic country will not be thwarted.”
Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh also supported the Prime Minister’s stance.
Leigh, who has been an MP since 1983, is also a staunch Eurosceptic like McCartney.
He said: “I would vote to trigger Article 50 under the timescales provided by the Prime Minister, if not before, by the end of March 2017.
In any event surely no MP will vote to subvert the will of the people.
Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman, who was a Remain supporter, said that it was “incumbent on all MPs” to vote to trigger Article 50 because of the referendum result.
His constituency recorded the highest Leave percentage of anywhere in the UK, with more than 75% of voters in Boston voting for Brexit.
A parliamentary vote should not stand in the way of the democratic will of the electorate, who clearly expressed their will to leave.
“Most MPs, including myself, have already said that we should accept the result of the referendum, so I would vote in favour of triggering Article 50 if this comes to Parliament.”
Scunthorpe MP Nic Dakin supported the ruling of the High Court, but again insisted that Parliament had a duty to respect the will of the British people.
However, the Labour MP said that it would be irresponsible to support a triggering of Article 50 until the government makes it clear what sort of relationship it is seeking to negotiate with the EU.
He said: “I think when people voted to leave the EU they wanted the UK Parliament to assert its sovereignty.
“It would therefore be extremely ironic if there was not a vote in Parliament and the government was able to trigger Article 50 without the proper scrutiny that should go alongside its doing so.
“Until the courts’ process is exhausted, however, we will not know the final legal position.
My own view is that Parliament has a duty to respect the will of the British people but it would be irresponsible to support a triggering of Article 50 until the government is clear about how it intends to manage the exit negotiations including being clear about what sort of relationship it wishes to achieve with the remaining 27 nations of the EU.
Rest of Lincolnshire MPs keep silent
Sleaford and North Hykeham MP Stephen Phillips declined to comment on the ruling of the High Court.
The other Greater Lincolnshire MPs — Andrew Percy (Brigg and Goole), Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes), Melanie Onn (Great Grimsby), Victoria Atkins (Louth and Horncastle), John Hayes (South Holland and the Deepings), and Nick Boles (Grantham and Stamford) — did not respond when asked for a comment from Lincolnshire Reporter.
Also read: Brexit court ruling gives control back to Parliament, argues Lincoln law lecturer Barry Turner.