independent.co.uk – Brexit: Letter saying EU referendum result ‘not legally binding’ signed by 1000 lawyersCo-creator Philip Kolvin QC says parliament is ‘the guardian of our democracy’
More than 1,000 lawyers have signed a letter addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron saying the EU referendum result is merely “advisory” and not legally binding.
Arguing the vote for Brexit, which was opposed by world leaders such as Barack Obama and Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund, is far from guaranteed, the group advised the Government to carefully consider whether to follow through with the British public’s vote to leave the European Union.
Before Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – the route via which members states leave the EU – can be triggered, they say primary legislation will need to be enacted.
The lawyers add that the Government should organise an independent investigation into the costs and benefits of withdrawal before making plans to exit the bloc.
They say their letter will reach Mr Cameron this week and proposes a way forward which “reconciles the legal, constitutional and political issues” triggered by the Brexit vote.
Philip Kolvin QC, who co-ordinated the creation of the letter, said: “Parliament is sovereign and the guardian of our democracy.
“MPs are elected to exercise their best judgment on the basis of objective evidence, to safeguard the interests of the country and their constituents for this and future generations.
“At this time of profound constitutional, political and possibly social and economic crisis, we look to them to fulfil the responsibility placed upon them.”
David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham and former Higher Education and Skills Minister, told The Independent: “In our democracy parliament is sovereign – we do not have government by referenda or plebiscite.
“Whoever replaces David Cameron Prime Minister will have to seek the approval of Parliament before any move is made to invoke Article 50 and trigger Brexit.
“I’m absolutely clear that in the best interests of my constituents and of the nation as a whole I will be voting against the invoking of Article 50 when it comes before Parliament and I know that many of my colleagues share the same view.”
Aidan O’Neil, a constitutional and EU law specialist who is one of the signatories, said: “The Brexit referendum has made clear that the UK is not a united nation-state, but a divided state of nations.