JEREMY Wright has given a robust defence of the British legal system after High Court Judges ruled Parliament must have a vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the European Union (EU).
Speaking in the wake of widespread anger in the national press at the decision by the three judges, the Kenilworth and Southam MP, who is also the Government’s principle legal adviser as Attorney General, said although he disagreed with the ruling, judges must be able to adjudicate as they saw fit.
He told the Observer: “There is a limit to what I can say about the judgement as the case will be heard by the Supreme Court in December.
“However, there are two principles of our legal system, applicable to this and all court cases, that need re-stating.
“First, the applicants in this case were entitled to bring their case and have it heard, and entitled to do so without harassment and intimidation, though not, of course, in a free society, without criticism.
“Second, the Judges in the High Court were entitled to decide the case as they thought fit in accordance with their legal judgement.
“Again, they should not, and I am sure did not, expect to do so without criticism.
“I can and do defend these principles while also disagreeing with the arguments of the claimants in the case and with the judgment of the High Court.
“The proper way to dispute the judgement of the court is to appeal it and that is what the Government will do.
“It will then accept the final judgement of the Supreme Court.”
Mr Wright also said that he would vote to invoke Article 50 – formally notifying the EU of withdrawal – should Parliament be given the chance:
“If and when the matter of enacting the view of the British people in the referendum comes before the House of Commons to determine, I will vote to do as the people have decided – namely to leave the EU.
“This can only lawfully be done by triggering Article 50 and so the question of whether to trigger the Article 50 process is essentially the same question as was asked in the referendum.
“For Parliament to ignore the decision of the people on this question would in my judgement be wrong.”
The Government’s appeal of the High Court ruling will be heard by the Supreme Court, starting on December 5.