A court has ruled that UK Prime Minister Theresa May must seek parliamentary approval before triggering the formal process of leaving the European Union, a step some investors hope will lessen the chances of an economically disruptive ''hard Brexit''. Jo Webster reports.
A major upset to the Government's Brexit plans. The High Court in London, ruling that Prime Minister Theresa May cannot trigger the divorce on her own. A panel of three judges says, instead, she has to put it to a parliamentary vote, giving MPs the power to delay the UK's exit from the EU, Or, in theory, block it altogether. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, MICHAEL HOLDEN, SAYING "A new law could be disruptive because it would mean it would have to go through both Houses of Parliament, through the House of Commons, where most MPs were in favour of remaining in the EU and through the House of Lords, the unelected chamber which is more likely to cause difficulties because they don't have their constituents to answer to, they don't have the voters to answer to and they could put forward amendments, they could delay it. It could be very sticky for the government. Sterling, bouncing almost a full cent against the dollar on the news. Investors think lawmakers would at least steer the country away from the most extreme options - which would see Britain booted out of the single market. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKETS ANALYST, JASPER LAWLER, SAYING: "Anything that indicates that the Brexit can be watered down or completely stopped has been taken as a positive thing, so I think the knee-jerk reaction here in markets would be probably a positive pound maybe a negative FTSE reaction just purely because of the pound but overall seen as a positive for the outlook for the UK economy and thus positive for markets." The pound has since retreated slightly on news of an appeal. The government says it's disappointed with the judgment - and will take the case to the Supreme Court. May has vowed to begin divorce proceedings by March -but this showdown could throw a spanner in the works.