NI Attorney General: “Article 50 trigger – will ‘amend not a comma or a full stop of the 1998 Act’.”

As with the Belfast High Court, so with the UK Supreme Court…  NI Attorney General John Larkin has been repeating the argument.  From the BBC text coverage from the Supreme Court

Northern Ireland’s attorney general, John Larkin, is continuing to make his case that none of the legislative or constitutional arrangements underpinning devolution should stand in the way of the UK government triggering Article 50.

The 1998 Northern Ireland Act, which set up the NI Assembly and NI executive, made no mention of the UK’s EU membership or gave special protection to Northern Ireland in respect of this continuing, Mr Larkin says.

He says the decision to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave – the so-called Article 50 trigger – will “amend not a comma or a full stop of the 1998 Act”.

As he prepares to cite a number of sections of the Act to back up his point, president Lord Neuberger intervenes to ask whether this is strictly necessary, saying he realises the time available to the NI politician is “attenuated” anyway.

Mr Larkin says he agrees and summarises his position: “Can I simply say the claims that these (provisions) expressly or by necessary implication dislodged the prerogative is defeated by a simple reading of those provisions.”

And from the Guardian’s version

The attorney general for Northern Ireland, John Larkin, is appearing because of legal challenges in Belfast arguing that Northern Ireland has its own constitution consisting of the Northern Ireland Act and the Good Friday Agreement and so they are sovereign on constitutional change. The case was joined to the supreme court hearing and Larkin is arguing that the Good Friday peace agreement has nothing to do with EU membership.

Are the Northern Ireland government parties listening…

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