LONDON, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) — The barrister at the center of the historic court case over Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) is to address the House of Lords on the Brexit bill, it was announced Thursday.
Lord David Pannick represented businesswoman Gina Miller who challenged Prime Minister Theresa May’s right to trigger the article 50 mechanism to kickstart Britain’s departure from Brussels without the consent of parliament.
The Supreme Court in London ruled in favor of Miller on Jan. 24, which means MPs (members of the Parliament) need to vote on a parliamentary bill before the process can start.
The Brexit bill ended its journey on Wednesday in the House of Commons with a landslide victory for May.
The parliamentary bill giving May authority to trigger article 50 must now be passed by to the unelected House of Lords.
It was revealed Thursday by officials at Westminster that Lord Pannick was one of 140 peers in the upper chamber wanting to speak in the debate later this month.
It also became clear that May wouldn’t learn whether she is free to trigger the mechanism until March 7.
Officials at Westminster announced the timetable for taking the Brexit bill through its final stages in the House of Lords.
Because the House of Lords will be entering a short recess, the main debates will not start until Feb. 20 when the first of 140 peers have their say.
The debate will continue on Feb. 21, with the process switching to more detailed debates by a committee on Feb. 27, which will continue into early March.
The third and final stage will be reached on March 7 when the House of Lords makes its final decision with a vote.
If the House of Lords follows the Commons and approves the bill, it will then go to the palace to be given Royal Assent by Queen Elizabeth.
Only then will May have the legal authority to trigger article 50, but it will be tight to meet her end-of-March deadline.
Once article 50 is triggered, it means the process has reached a point of no return. It will set a two-year maximum timetable for London and Brussels to strike a deal on the post-Brexit relationship between the two.
Downing Street will be eagerly waiting to see whether any potentially-delaying amendments are put forward by peers in the House of Lords where there is strong support for Britain remaining in the EU.
Some MPs have already signalled that if members of the House of Lords attempt to delay or wreck Brexit, it could lead to demands for Britain’s upper chamber to be abolished.
May made no comment on her landslide victory in the Commons when she met Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloini on Thursday for bilateral talks at 10 Downing Street.
However, the pair did discuss post-Brexit relationship between the two countries, with both prime ministers saying they looked forward to a continuing relationship between London and Rome.
May also said at a media briefing that after she triggered article 50 she would press for the status of EU nationals living in Britain and British citizens living in EU countries to be addressed at an early stage so assurances could be given to both.