Friday, November 4, 2016

Courting Brexit In Parliament

The May government will have to make a better case for Leave.

By Review & Outlook
The Wall Street Journal
November 4, 2016

Britain’s High Court ruled Thursday that members of Parliament will get a say after all on the country’s exit from the European Union. If it stands on appeal, the ruling sets up a showdown in the House of Commons over whether to begin negotiations with Brussels to leave in line with June’s referendum result.

This has Brexiters worried, and for good reason. A majority of members, including many Conservatives, belonged to the “Remain” camp prior to June’s vote, and supporters of “Leave” fear they will use parliamentary maneuvers to tie Brexit in knots to remain in the EU. The government of Theresa May, whose refrain as Prime Minister has been “Brexit means Brexit,” is appealing the ruling.

But the Court’s ruling is well-founded. Since Brexit will inevitably mean changes to U.K. domestic law, those changes need to be considered by Parliament, not simply dictated from the Prime Minister’s office as an exercise of the royal prerogative to conduct foreign policy.

The deeper fear of the Leave camp is that Brexit isn’t working out as planned. Instead of the promised Thatcherite paradise of a freer, more economically competitive Britain, Mrs. May is steering the country in a more statist direction. Britain may shed some of the more destructive regulations of Brussels only to get the same regulations repackaged and reinstated by Westminster.

No wonder markets reacted happily to the Court’s ruling, with the pound jumping 1% on the news. Voters might also take notice and perhaps reconsider their Brexit vote. We share Mrs. May’s view that June’s vote must be respected, but that doesn’t mean that Parliament should be left out. If the Court’s ruling makes Leave advocates nervous, maybe it will induce them to get Brexit right.

Article Link To The Wall Street Journal: