Londonderry MP Mark Durkan has demanded the United Kingdom Government place proposals it intends submitting to Brussels regarding its exit from the European Union before MPs, prior to triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
The Foyle MP has co-sponsored a parliamentary motion at Westminster calling on the government not to begin the formal process of withdrawal from the EU until its proposals have been fully debated in the House of Commons and voted upon by MPs.
His call comes as lawyers acting for a group of business people and academics have launched legal proceedings saying it would be unlawful for a Prime Minister to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty without a full debate and vote in Parliament.
Mr Durkan said: “The formal process of an exit from the EU must not be started without full and proper parliamentary scrutiny.
“The government must not submit its declaration to the European Council invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty unless and until the full proposals it intends to submit to the Commission to activate the process of withdrawal from the EU are debated in full and voted upon by MPs.”
He made the comments as law firm, Mishcon de Reya, said it was mounting a legal challenge to try to ensure the Government seeks legislative approval from Parliament before triggering Article 50.
Once Article 50 is triggered and the European Council is notified of the UK’s intention of withdrawing from the EU, the Government must then negotiate a withdrawal agreement with Europe.
If an agreement is successfully arrived at and supported by a qualified majority of EU member states, the European Union treaties will cease to apply to the UK from the date agreed and specified within that negotiated agreement.
If no agreement is reached, however, the exit date for the UK will be no later than two years after London notifies Brussels and Strasbourg under Article 50.