Scotland will seek to intervene against the UK Government as it seeks to overturn a legal ruling which made clear MPs must approve the formal triggering of Brexit, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The Lord Advocate, Scotland’s most senior law officer, is to lodge a formal application at the Supreme Court to intervene in the case.
Ms Sturgeon said it “simply cannot be right” that rights linked to membership of the European Union “can be removed by the UK Government on the say-so of a Prime Minister without parliamentary debate, scrutiny or consent”.
The First Minister added: “So legislation should be required at Westminster and the consent of the Scottish Parliament should be sought before Article 50 is triggered.”
It comes after three senior High Court judges last week ruled PM Theresa May does not have the power to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to start the two-year process of negotiating Brexit without the prior authority of the UK Parliament.
Her Government immediately announced plans to appeal against the judgement, taking the case to the Supreme Court.
The Scottish Government believes it must also be formally consulted before Article 50 is triggered.
Lord Advocate James Wolffe is to lodge an application to intervene in the legal case as soon as the UK Government formally submits its appeal, Ms Sturgeon said.
The Scottish Government’s intention to intervene in the case comes after the vote for Brexit put the union between Scotland and the rest of the UK under increasing pressure, with the SNP leader having already warned a second referendum on Scottish independence is now “highly likely”.
On Tuesday, the First Minister said: “Let me be clear – I recognise and respect the right of England and Wales to leave the European Union. This is not an attempt to veto that process.
“But the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland and the national Parliament of Scotland cannot be brushed aside as if they do not matter.”
While a majority of UK voters backed Brexit in June’s referendum, almost two-thirds (62%) of Scots voted to Remain.
Ms Sturgeon said: “The Prime Minister said that on June 23 people across the UK had voted with, in her words, “emphatic clarity” when they voted by a margin of four points to leave the EU.
“The margin for Remain in Scotland was 24 points – a far more emphatic and clear result.
“So the Prime Minister needs to live up to her promise to treat Scotland as an equal partner in the United Kingdom and listen to the will of the people of Scotland.”