Harborough’s Conservative MP Sir Edward Garnier says he is “surprised and disappointed” at his own Government’s reaction to the High Court ruling on Brexit.
Sir Edward, also a prominent lawyer, said judges were perfectly entitled to make a decision on whether Parliament should discuss and vote on how the UK starts the process of leaving the European Union.
He added he welcomed a Brexit debate in Parliament.
“The court expressly said we are not here to discuss whether it’s a good or bad idea to be in or out of the EU” explained Sir Edward.
“The ruling was to do with Parliamentary approval. The court reached the conclusion that the Government alone can not, through use of the Royal Prerogative, change statute law.
“It needs to be approved by the whole of Parliament. The whole point of the Civil War (Crown versus Parliament) was to do with that!”
Sir Edward said it was ironic that newspapers with “unelected editors” should claim that “unelected judges” were not entitled to an opinion.
Many national newspapers castigated the judges for, said Sir Edward, simply doing their job. The Daily Mail, for example, said the judges were “Enemies Of The People”.
“What newspapers write or say is up to them” said Sir Edward. “If they want to say things that are silly or inaccurate, that’s a matter for them.
“But I was surprised and disappointed that Government Ministers such as Sajid Javid on Question Time said the court’s decision was “an outrage”.
Sir Edward said he was also “surprised and disappointed” that the Lord Chancellor, Elizabeth Truss, had to be “reminded” that it was her job to uphold the independence of the courts.
Her support only came after The Bar Council issued a statement condemning the “unjustified attacks on the judiciary arising out of the Article 50 litigation”.
Sir Edward said he was also “surprised and disappointed” that Prime Minister Theresa May did not “rebuke ministers for abusing the judges”.
Sir Edward campaigned to Remain in Europe, but has since said he will now support Brexit - “the decision of the electorate was quite clear”.
But he adds: “It’s perfectly proper for Parliament to debate the general strategy for Brexit. We need to know more than the phrase ‘Brexit means Brexit’.”