Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to do all she can to protect Scotland’s place in Europe
The Scottish government is to seek to intervene against the UK government’s appeal to the Supreme Court over the triggering of Article 50.
The High Court ruled last week that MPs must vote on whether the UK can start the process of leaving the EU.
The UK government immediately said it would appeal to the Supreme Court, with a hearing due next month.
The Lord Advocate, Scotland’s most senior law officer, will now apply to be heard in the case.
Prime Minister Theresa May had argued that the result of the EU referendum – and existing ministerial powers – meant MPs do not need to vote on the triggering of Article 50.
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But a panel of three High Court judges agreed with campaigners that the move would be unconstitutional, and that parliament would need to vote before Article 50 could be invoked.
The Scottish government had legal representatives observing the case, and later said it was considering whether to become directly involved.
Confirming that it would seek to intervene in the case, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was clear that Scottish interests would be affected by Brexit.
And she added that the consent of the Scottish Parliament should also be sought before Article 50 is triggered.
If the Supreme Court was to allow the Scottish government’s intervention and ruled against the UK government, it would therefore mean there would have to be a vote on Article 50 in Holyrood as well as in Westminster.
The High Court case against the UK government was brought by investment manager Gina Miller. EPA photo
Ms Sturgeon also stressed that she was not attempting to veto the process of England and Wales leaving the EU.
But she said the “democratic wishes of the people of Scotland and the national parliament of Scotland cannot be brushed aside as if they do not matter”.
Scotland voted to remain in the EU by 62% to 38% in June’s referendum, while the UK as a while voted by 52% to 48% to leave.
Ms Sturgeon has pledged to do all she can to protect Scotland’s place in Europe, and to maintain its membership of the single market.
‘Rights and freedoms’
The first minister said: “The Scottish government is clear that triggering Article 50 will directly affect devolved interests and rights in Scotland.
“And triggering Article 50 will inevitably deprive Scottish people and Scottish businesses of rights and freedoms which they currently enjoy.
“It simply cannot be right that those rights can be removed by the UK government on the say-so of a prime minister without parliamentary debate, scrutiny or consent.”
She also urged the prime minister to “live up to her promise to treat Scotland as an equal partner in the United Kingdom and listen to the will of the people of Scotland”.
All five parties in the Scottish Parliament backed remaining in the EU ahead of the referendum, but the Scottish Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats have warned Ms Sturgeon against using the result to push for a second vote on Scottish independence.
Scottish Labour said it supported the objective of getting the “best possible deal for Scotland”, which it said meant “remaining part of the UK and retaining a close relationship with the EU.”
The party’s Europe spokesman, Lewis Macdonald, said: “Rather than spending the next six weeks appealing to the Supreme Court, the UK government’s time would perhaps be better spent getting on with outlining a clear plan for Brexit.”
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie welcomed Ms Sturgeon seeking to join the legal action against what he described as the “unjust and undemocratic” use of the Royal Prerogative to invoke Article 50.
He added: “Theresa May could end all this and simply accept that there must be a democratic vote before Article 50 is invoked. However she chooses to waste time and money fighting the decision made so she can impose an unwanted hard Brexit on the United Kingdom.”
Tags: Article 50, Brexit, Britain, Gina Miller, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland, Scottish government, Theresa May, to maintain its membership of the single market, to protect Scotland's place in Europe, UK, UK government's appeal to the Supreme Court over the triggering of Article 50, United Kingdom