There appears to be a lot of confusion as to when Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will be invoked and even more confusion as to whom will be responsible for firing the starting pistol.
The Prime Minister Theresa May has consistently suggested that the triggering of Article 50 will take place in the New Year.
The statement is made on the certainty that, it cannot be made during this year, is based on the following:
On July 3rd of this year, a request was made to the High Court, that, the decision to trigger Article 50, be made by parliamentary assent alone, and not by royal prerogative of the Prime Minister.
A hearing by the high court agreed on July 19th agreed that a full hearing over a 2 to 3 day period would take place commencing October 15th.
This hearing ensures no action will be taken to trigger Article 50 before before this date, and whatever the court decides, will, most certainly, result in a request to the Supreme Court for a review of the High Court’s decision . This then will be delayed until at least December of this year.
In the event that the Supreme court upholds the ruling, that, only a parliamentary vote to leave will be the final decision, can Article 50 be invoked.
The referendum in favour of rescinding the United Kingdom membership of the European Union is not legally binding. The purpose of the referendum was uniquely to gauge public opinion on the proposition of leaving or remaining a member of the European Union. This position was never outlined to the electorate, as the inevitable outcome of such a revelation would have had a significant effect on the levels of turnout countrywide.
In short in could be argued that the electorate were misled from the onset.
The United Kingdom does not have a written constitution, significant decisions on matters legal and constitutional were the at the discretion of the monarchy as royal prerogative, and latterly the same rights endowed upon whichever Prime Minister was leader of the democratically elected government in power at the time.
This situation will be tested legally and decided upon by the High Court Judgement in October.As regards the dilemma to be facing the elected parliamentarians in the event the case is upheld by the Supreme Court , and parliament has to decide by debate , this will certainly separate the wheat from the chaff.
After all that is their role in our democratic process, the populous vote for their representatives to represent their interests, and hopefully arrive at the best solution for the country as a whole.
That situation will be manifest itself eventually.
At least, the Supreme Court has wisely ruled out input from the devolved governments.
Update 24th January 2017
The supreme Court announced today with a majority of 8 votes to 3, that, it agrees with the earlier High Court Judgement in 201,6 that Parliament alone makes the decision as to trigger Article 50 to begin the leave process.
This decision upholds the constitutional process, whereby Parliamentary process overrules ancient perogatory powers , maintaining democratic process, whereby the Members of Parliament, voted for by the people in democratically held elections,uphold the will of the people.