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  1. ITV Report

Northern Ireland High Court rejects Brexit challenge

The NI High Court has rejected a legal challenge that would give Stormont a vote on Brexit. Photo: PA Photos

A challenge to the Prime Minister's power to trigger Brexit negotiations has been dismissed at Belfast High Court.

A cross-party group of politicians had claimed the country should have a veto on an exit and said the Stormont Assembly should have a say on whether to trigger negotiations with Europe.

But the High Court ruled against the challenge saying that it was not viable that NI could veto Brexit for the rest of the UK.

The Brexit challengers said it would be unlawful to trigger Article 50 without Northern Irish consent and that leaving the EU would undermine the Good Friday agreement, the peace process and other fundamental rights.

Mr Justice Paul Maguire said the implications for Northern Ireland were still uncertain after Theresa May said she would begin exit negotiations with Europe before March.

Raymond McCord, whose son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries, had a separate Brexit challenge surrounding its impact on the peace process heard alongside that of the politicians at the High Court in Belfast.

Mr Justice Maguire said: "While the wind of change may be about to blow, the precise direction in which it will blow cannot yet be determined so there is a level of uncertainty, as evidenced by the discussion about how the Northern Ireland land border with Ireland was affected by withdrawal from the EU."

He added: "In respect of all issues, the court dismissed the applications."

Mr McCord says he will appeal the ruling to the UK Supreme Court.

Speaking outside the High Court, he said: "Today is a setback but we will see the judges in London.

"I believe what we are doing is correct. Fifty-six percent of the people of this country (Northern Ireland) voted to remain."

In response to the ruling, Mrs May's spokesman said the Prime Minister "welcomed" the judgement.

Mrs May's spokesman said: "There was no reason to think the EU referendum undermines Britain's rock solid commitment to 1998 Belfast agreement."