theresa may
British Prime Minister Theresa May has cracked down hard on visa for international students in an effort to cut migrationReuters

After the high court in the UK ruled that the prime minister cannot use the "royal prerogative" to start the Brexit process by initiating Article 50, Theresa May may have to brace for a hard fight in the Parliament over the nitty-gritties of Brexit.

The court ordered that only the Parliament can begin the Brexit process, unlike May's earlier claims that the government will initiate the UK's departure from the European Union. The high court order slows down the process considerably. May had said that the process would start as early as March 2017. 

Lord chief justice Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd had said "the most fundamental rule of the UK constitution is that parliament is sovereign".

The government has said that it would appeal the order in the Supreme Court, the hearing for which is on December 7-8.

If the Brexit issue goes to the Parliament, MPs from different parties are all ready to stall it. 

It is "inevitable the prime minister will have to answer the big questions" on whether she wanted the UK to be in the single market or the customs union, said Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary. 

"This is about accountability and scrutiny," he said. "Very many MPs accept and respect the referendum of course, but the terms upon which we exit are vitally important. I think there is now consensus that the prime minister has got to disclose the overarching strategy. The idea that we are all to be kept in the dark until some time in 2019 only has to be said to be rejected."

Even those in May's party called for transparency about the negotiations. Andrew Tyrie, chair of the Treasury committee, said May's government needed to be "much more transparent about its objectives in the negotiations, in some detail, and the sooner the better".

"It should also ensure that parliament can scrutinise the objectives and vote on them. The UK is leaving; a public debate is needed about where we want to arrive. Before taking off, it is always a good idea for the pilot to discuss with the passengers and crew where they might want to land," he added. 

Apart from calls of more transparency in the negotiations, there was also talk of an early general election that could bolster the Conservative Party's strength in the two houses of the Parliament, easing the Brexit process. However, the prime minister has said that the election will take place in 2020 as scheduled. 

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