The High Court has blocked a fresh attempt to challenge Brexit through the legal system. Campaigners had argued that Parliament needed to separately give consent to take Britain out of the European Economic Area.
Though the single market was not mentioned in June's referendum question, Theresa May says she will be taking the UK out of it on the back of the vote's result. A number of countries sit outside the European Union but retain access to the EEA, most notably Norway.
Parliament is in the process of giving consent to the Government to trigger Article 50 and begin Brexit negotiations. The High Court previously ruled that MPs had to be given a vote on the process to delegate the power to the Government.
However the new challenge, brought by Adrian Yalland and Peter Wilding, who runs the pro-single market organisation British Influence, argues that the European Economic Area is a separate organisation and should require separate consent. Other plaintiffs have also joined the challenge but asked not to be identified for fear of media backlash.
Judges have now refused consent for the challenge to go ahead and said they will give their reasons later.
Yalland said, “I have campaigned for parliamentary sovereignty and accountable government for 20 years and now I want parliament to exercise its sovereignty by deciding if the UK should withdraw from the single market treaty.
“Parliament, not government, took us into the treaty and so parliament, not government, must decide if and when we leave. I voted to leave the EU but parliament did not intend the referendum to cover the issue of membership of the EEA. The government should stop seeking to stretch the mandate to leave the EU to cover things parliament did not intend the referendum to cover.
“The referendum was on membership of the EU, not the EEA, nor of [the European court of human rights]. It was not an opinion poll on immigration. I want nothing less than Brexit. But anything more than Brexit is for parliament to permit. The government has a mandate, not a blank cheque. We are a parliamentary democracy, not an elected dictatorship.”
A survey of MPs by Ipsos MORI released this week found that just 26% of MPs thought the UK had to leave the single market to honour the referendum result. The vast majority did not hold this view.