Scotland politics

Scottish government lawyer attends Brexit challenge case

European flag at Westminster Image copyright PA

A senior lawyer has been instructed by the Scottish government to attend the High Court challenge to the Brexit process in London.

Campaigners are trying to force the UK government not to begin withdrawal talks without parliament's approval.

But the UK government believes the EU referendum gives the prime minister the mandate to trigger what is known as the article 50 process.

The case is due to be heard at the High Court in London on Thursday.

SNP ministers are not directly involved in this legal dispute but are sending legal counsel to observe in case they decide to become active.

'A close eye'

It has emerged that they made a submission in a similar case being heard by the High Court in Belfast.

Lawyers for the Scottish government took issue with the attorney general for Northern Ireland's interpretation of Scottish devolution.

It is unlikely that the Scottish government will become involved in either the Belfast or London cases over the central question of whether parliament or the prime minister can start the Brexit process.

Instead, it reserves the right to make the case for Holyrood to be formally consulted on Brexit.

A Scottish government spokesperson said the administration was "keeping a close eye on the court actions and will assess them at all stages as they proceed to see whether there is an argument for us to become more directly involved.

"In relation to the proceedings before the High Court in England, we are considering the position very carefully and have instructed counsel to attend the hearing in London this week to observe."

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