Wales politics

Brexit court ruling challenge a mistake, Carwyn Jones says

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Media captionFirst Minister Carwyn Jones was speaking after the High Court ruled MPs should be consulted over leaving the EU

Challenging a High Court ruling that MPs should be consulted over leaving the EU would be a mistake, First Minister Carwyn Jones has warned.

Judges said the UK government could not trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty without Parliamentary approval.

UK ministers are to appeal, pointing to the referendum result and existing ministerial powers.

Pro-Brexit Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies called the judges' decision an "unnecessary distraction".

But Mr Jones said the ruling was "extremely clear" that "the UK Government cannot trigger Article 50 using the Crown prerogative".

"Indeed, this is consistent with many of the arguments made by the Leave campaign themselves about Parliamentary sovereignty.

"It is a mistake, in my view, to challenge such a clear ruling and we should now try and move ahead to develop a fuller understanding of the UK Government's position.

"The position of the Welsh Government has been consistent throughout - we accept the decision made by the people and will not work against the referendum result - we are working hard to get the best possible exit terms for Wales.

"However, it is important that votes take place in all four nations to endorse the UK negotiating position."

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Image caption Gina Miller, who made the High Court challenge, said the UK government would be wrong to appeal

Plaid Cymru's Brexit spokesman, MP Jonathan Edwards, welcomed the High Court ruling and called for the Welsh Assembly and other UK parliaments to have a say on the terms of Brexit as well as the timing.

"The people of Wales voted to leave the European Union and we must respect that decision, but nobody has voted for a 'hard Brexit'," he said.

"Being dragged out of the single market and the customs union as well as the European Union will devastate the Welsh economy and we will continue to resist any attempts to do so."

However, Mr Davies said: "A clear majority of the British people voted to leave the European Union in June, and Parliament's job is to enact that decision - not to subvert it.

"The people have spoken and their decision must be respected.

"Parliament had its say when the referendum was approved by an Act of Parliament. There is no basis for a further vote in Parliament, other than to aid those seeking to block the path of democracy.

"Any attempts to row back on the referendum result will be met with anger and frustration by the British public.

"This is an unnecessary distraction, and this side-show must not be allowed to distract the UK Government from getting on with the job of negotiating a new relationship with our European neighbours."

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