This week, the High Court ruled that the Government cannot give notice of its intention to leave the European Union, under Article 50, without the approval of Parliament.
The Government had opposed the legal challenge, which was brought by private individuals, on the grounds that its prerogative powers enable it to give notice without reference to Parliament. The Claimants, however, argued that Parliament is sovereign and that Parliamentary approval is required before the Government can give notice under Article 50.
See also: NFU Council's bold vision for post-Brexit farming
A statement from the Government confirmed that it will not allow the judgment to "derail Article 50 or the timetable we have set out (giving notice by the end of March 2017). We are determined to continue with our plan". The Government has announced its intention to appeal the High Court’s ruling to the Supreme Court.
With a majority of MPs in favour of Remain, it’s still unclear whether parliamentary backing could be achieved. Many will feel that the Referendum result is a big enough mandate, while others will argue that a General Election should be called before the issue is put before Parliament.
If the High Court’s ruling is not overturned on appeal, the prospect of a General Election in early 2017 could become more likely.