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Daily Express: Theresa May must take action 'IMMEDIATELY' if judges uphold Brexit challenge

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THERESA May must trigger fresh parliamentary votes "immediately" if judges uphold a legal challenge to her Brexit plans, Tory MPs said today.

The Prime Minister will tomorrow morning hear the Supreme Court's decision in the historic case about whether she has the power to formally apply for Britain to leave the EU.

Eleven justices at the country's highest legal body are set to publicly announce their crunch ruling at 9.30pm.

Their decision could mean fresh approval from Parliament is required before Mrs May can begin formal exit negotiations with other EU leaders.

Ministers are understood to be ready to fast-track legislation through the Commons and Lords if the judges uphold the challenge launched by anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller.

They were urged not to delay in seeking parliamentary backing to allow Mrs May to activate Article 50, the exit clause in the EU's rulebook.

Senior Tory backbencher John Penrose, a former constitutional reform minister, said: "If the Supreme Court rules against the Government tomorrow, Ministers should table a short and tightly worded Bill in Parliament immediately.

"MPs and Lords must not frustrate the democratic will of the people.

"We’ve had a referendum, the result must be respected and Article 50 should be triggered by the end of March, according to the Government’s timetable. "Indeed, the House of Commons has already voted for this by 461 votes to 89.

Another Tory MP said: "No one knows what the judges are going to rule, but the Government must be ready to act."

Other Brexit campaigners also urged Mrs May to press ahead with breaking the country's ties to Brussels as soon as possible.

Richard Tice, co-chairman of the pressure group Leave Means Leave, said: "Whatever the decision of the Supreme Court, it is vital the Government moves quickly to trigger Article 50.

“If the ruling is in favour of the Government then there is no reason to delay beyond this week.

“If the ruling is against the Government then a Bill must be introduced to the House this week and a clear timetable set out to ensure that Article 50 will be triggered by the end of March.

“If this is the case, it is merely a formality as MPs have already voted on whether the Government should trigger Article 50 and overwhelmingly honoured the democratic decision taken by the British people in the EU referendum.

"Any attempt to delay the Brexit process after backing the previous vote would be an unforgiveable betrayal of the British people. The Lords should also follow suit; any delay by them would ensure their abolition.”

Ukip MEP Gerard Batten, Brexit spokesman for the anti-Brussels party, urged Mrs May to forget about activating Article 50.

Instead, he called for her to seek to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act that legally enshrines the UK's membership of the European bloc.

Mr Batten said: "The Article 50 process is just delaying matters.

"I would urge the Prime Minister to simply repeal the 1972 Act to allow us to immediately start emergency action on immigration, fisheries and other issues."

The judgment follows a ruling by the High Court in November stating that Parliament has the final say on officially deciding that the UK wishes to leave the European Union.

The Government appealed to the Supreme Court to try to overturn the High Court decision effectively blocking the Prime Minister from activating Article 50.

The Supreme Court judges will also rule on a separate challenge arguing that the Scottish Parliament and other devolved assemblies given a veto over Brexit.

Mrs May has said she wants to start the exit process no later than the end of March.

And her spokeswoman yesterday insisted the timetable would remain in place whatever today's legal decision.

The Prime Minister's spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister has been very clear that we will be sticking to the timetable.

"Of course in December we had MPs in Parliament backing the fact that we should get on and trigger Article 50 by the end of March."

Voters backed leaving the EU by 51.9% to 48.1% in last year's historic referendum.

But critics claim the poll was a consultative plebiscite that is not legally binding on the Government.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday threatened a fresh attempt to interfere with the triggering of Article 50.

She said: "No matter what the court decides, I want to make this crystal clear - I intend to make sure the Scottish Parliament has the chance to vote on the question of triggering Article 50.

"If the UK Government don't start showing Scotland some respect, I'll make sure that people across Scotland have the chance to choose our own future before the Tories drag us off an economic cliff-edge."

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