Wearside MPs have welcomed a ruling that Parliament will have the ultimate say on Brexit.
The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by ministers against a High Court judgment blocking their decision to begin Britain’s exit from the European Union without Parliament having a say.
Supreme Court justices ruled, by a majority of eight to three, that Prime Minister Theresa May cannot lawfully bypass MPs and peers by using the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and start the two-year process of negotiating the UK’s divorce from its EU partners.
The ruling is a blow to Mrs May, who has repeatedly said she intends to trigger Article 50 by the end of March following the clear majority in favour of Brexit in the June 2016 referendum.
It was won by a group of anti-Article 50 campaigners led by investment manager Gina Miller, 51, and hairdresser Deir Dos Santos.
Later, in a statement to the House of Commons, Brexit Secretary David Davis said this deadline could still be hit by means of “the most straightforward Bill possible”.
The purpose of the bill will be “simply to give the Government the power to invoke Article 50 and begin the process of leaving the European Union”, he said.
He added: “Parliament will rightly scrutinise and debate this legislation but I trust no-one will seek to make it a vehicle for attempts to thwart the will of the people or frustrate or delay the process of exiting the European Union.”
Mr Davis said: “This is not about whether or not the UK should leave the EU. That decision has already been made by the people of the United Kingdom.
“We will work with colleagues in both Houses to ensure this Bill is passed in good time for us to invoke Article 50 by the end of March.”
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott said she was ‘delighted’ with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“It was the right decision,” she said.
“It upholds the sovereignty of Parliament and the role of MPs in discussing and debating Article 50.
“Article 50 is going to be triggered but this means it can be debated properly.”
Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson said: “It is welcome that this costly and lengthy court case, brought to the Supreme Court by the Prime Minister, is over and we now have clarity to move us forward in the process of leaving the EU.
“What is important now is we get on with the task of scrutinising the Bill that will trigger Article 50, which should have been brought before Parliament months ago, instead of getting embroiled in legal proceedings.
“Parliament is sovereign in this country, and it is important that we should be consulted on triggering our exit from the EU.
“I have made clear that I will vote for Article 50 when the time comes, but the Government must be held to account to ensure that jobs and livelihoods are protected as the negotiations begin and we leave the EU.”