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Tuesday, 20 February 2018
JOHN HOWELL says the Government has a responsibility to uphold voters’ decision to leave the European Union.
The Henley MP was speaking after the High Court ruled that Parliament must be consulted before the Government can invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the formal mechanism for leaving the EU.
The Government has been given permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Mr Howell said: “It seems to me that the High Court judges have not decided that Parliament must be involved in a decision about all that is involved in dealing with Brexit.
“They have decided that to trigger Article 50, Parliament must be involved. The question before the Lord Chief Justice and others was as simple as that.
“The comments from those who wanted to leave the EU that the judges are trying to overturn Brexit is far-fetched and far from the truth.
“The comments from those who wanted to remain that this gives Parliament the chance to reverse the referendum decision is also just as far-fetched.
“The point remains that we, as Conservatives, stood at the general election on a manifesto, supported by more than 11 million people, which promised to uphold the verdict of the referendum whichever way it went regardless of our own feelings and the way we voted as individuals. That is what we are trying to do.”
Mr Howell condemned national newspaper “attacks” on the three judges who made the decision, including Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas.
He said: “I happen to know the Lord Chief Justice. I do not know, nor have I ever asked, what his politics are on this or any other issue.
“He is an honourable and highly professional man and I have no reason to doubt that the same applies to his colleagues.
“Newspapers which attack the man and not the ball should be ashamed of themselves. Free speech is no justification for these attacks.”
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