So who’s been watching the court proceedings over the Brexit vote? No one? Well whose been reading the key points of the appeal in the papers or online? The whole key point over this trial and appeal nonsense is whether or not its illegal for Theresa May’s government to push through Brexit without consulting parliament.
The method by which Ms May’s government could circumvent parliament is through the Royal Prerogative, according to English Common Law the royal prerogative is loosely defined as: “the name for the residue of discretionary power left at any moment in the hands of the Crown, whether such power is in fact exercised by the reigning Monarch or by their Ministers.”
The royal prerogative is not an unlimited power and it is up to the courts to decide whether the prerogative exists.
This however raises many questions, both legally and constitutionally. Key in my mind however is this. If the supreme court find in favour of the claimant, and the royal prerogative is seen as illegal, does this spell the beginning of the end for the monarchy?
On the face of it I would say no it doesn’t really change anything in terms of what the monarchy can and can’t do, after all the royal prerogative has actually been decided at the courts prerogative since the 1600’s. But I do feel that with the way things are in the current political climate, if the court were to say that this last vestige of royal power was in fact illegal, it may well form a rallying cry for the republican movement in Britain.
When I speak of the republican movement, I don’t speak of the political party that President Elect Donald Trump managed to simultaneously represent and alienate. I in fact speak of the movement that wish to abolish the monarchy (opinions on how vary from a peaceful referendum to a guillotine).
I do think that a lot of the constitutional questions that arise from such a trial are being overshadowed by the narrative which is being portrayed in the media, the left leaning press focusing on the need for parliament to be consulted and the shameful actions of the government in trying to bully this policy through, and the far right press is focusing on the outrage that the will of a narrow majority is being questioned. Its almost as if certain right wing media outlets are suggesting that the supreme court is trying to overturn the Brexit vote, rather than simply iron out how it is implemented, but that’s their prerogative, if they wish to mislead their readers and politicise the judiciary it is their right. But it still over shadows the real questions that need to be asked.
It’ll be interesting to see if the verdict is held up after the appeal has ended.