A letter signed by 200 business leaders being delivered to Downing Street today urges the Prime Minister not to waiver on her plan to trigger formal Brexit talks by the end of March without a vote in Parliament.
The letter says: “We are confident that Britain can prosper outside the EU.
“Some of us voted Leave, some Remain. Others represent international businesses with a stake in Britain’s success.
“What we share is a respect for the decision made by a clear majority of the British people to leave the EU and a belief that it is now vital that Article 50 is triggered within the Government’s time frame – no later than March 31, 2017, but preferably sooner – so that the country can get on with leaving the EU and businesses and investors can plan accordingly.
“Create certainty and confidence, trade and jobs will follow.”
The letter was coordinated by financier Daniel Hodson, chairman of pro-Brexit The City for Britain.
Signatories include David Cameron’s former enterprise adviser and one-time Trade Secretary Lord Young, City leaders Dr Peter Cruddas and Jim Mellon, theatre impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh, and JD Wetherspoon pub chain founder Tim Martin.
Welcoming the intervention Leave Means Leave co-chairman John Longworth said: “British businesses want to get on with leaving the EU and making a success of Brexit.”
Dr Cruddas, treasurer of the proLeave Change Britain, said: “Business needs certainty.
“Those trying to delay Article 50 are increasing uncertainty and putting British firms, jobs and investment at risk.”
Separately UK Independence Party leader Paul Nuttall said: “Ukip fully supports the rule of law but the judges of the Supreme Court must remember that legitimacy in a democracy comes from the people and the people have spoken clearly.”
Pro-Brexit former Conservative Cabinet minister Owen Paterson said in response to other threats to put a spanner in the works that Tory activists he met this weekend were delighted with Brexit “but, like the 200 businessmen, are saying ‘when are you going to get on with it, we do not want to be thwarted’”.
He added: “There’s a huge issue for the whole political establishment, and the media and the judicial establishments.
It should not be sneered at (that) 17.4 million people voted for this and if this is not delivered there will be the most shattering disillusion with that establishment.”
The hearing in Britain’s highest court starting today will for the first time in the court’s seven-year history involve all 11 of its justices.
It is set to last four days with judgment due next month.
The Government is challenging a High Court ruling that the Prime Minister needs the approval of MPs to invoke Article 50.
Ministers are said to be preparing a 16-word Bill to put through Parliament if they lose in the Supreme Court, designed to give opponents as little opportunity as possible to delay Brexit.
A Government spokesman said: “Obviously we will be prepared for all eventualities but this is premature.
“We are focused on the appeal to Supreme Court. As Downing Street and the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union have said, the logical conclusion to draw from the High Court judgement is that legislation would be necessary.
“But we are appealing the judgement and hope the Supreme Court will rule differently.
“In the event that it doesn’t, we will assess precisely what remedy the Supreme Court requires and will set out our approach at that point.”
December 5th, 2016: Express