(REUTERS) – The British government believes the legal process required to trigger a divorce from the European Union, known as Article 50, does not legally require parliamentary approval, a government minister said on Monday.
More than 1,000 prominent British lawyers have written to Prime Minister David Cameron to say that lawmakers in parliament should decide whether Britain leaves the European Union because the June 23 referendum was not binding.
Cabinet Office minister John Penrose told a parliamentary debate that government lawyers did not agree.
“Apart from observing that there are court cases that are already planned or under way on this issue, so the judges may reach a different view, I would simply remark that government lawyers believe it is a royal prerogative issue,” he said.
“But I hope that everyone else here will also agree democratic principles should outrank legal formalities. The prime minister has already said that parliament will have a role and it’s clearly right that a decision as momentous as this one must be fully debated and discussed.”
(Reporting by William James, writing by Kate Holton; editing by Elizabeth Piper)