High court rules UK government can not leave EU without Parliament

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LONDON (AP) – In a major blow for Britain’s government, the High Court says the prime minister can not trigger the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union without approval from Parliament. The government is likely to appeal Thursday’s ruling to the Supreme Court.

Plans for Brexit are being challenged in a case with major constitutional implications, hinging on the balance of power between Parliament and the government.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will launch exit negotiations with the EU by March 31. She is relying on a power called the royal prerogative that lets the government withdraw from international treaties. Claimants argue that leaving he EU will remove rights, including free movement within the bloc, and say that cannot be done without Parliament’s approval.

The British pound has surged after the ruling that the government can’t trigger the Article 50 process for Brexit. Minutes after the decision, the pound was up 1.1 percent at $1.2430 as traders reacted to the news.

The pound has taken a battering, losing about a fifth of its value against the dollar, since the June 23 vote to leave the EU.

Many in the markets hope that the court ruling will at the least delay the process of Britain’s exit from the EU or diminish the government’s ability to push through a so-called “hard Brexit,” which would see Britain leave the European single market. The hope is that lawmakers won’t give their backing if the government intends to push for that sort of deal.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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