SCOTLAND’S highest civil court has said that a legal action which could put an end to Brexit should be allowed to proceed.

A crowdfunded action by several Scottish politicians from every major party except the Tories went before the Court of Session in Edinburgh yesterday, where judges announced that the case could proceed.

The Court of Session accepted the petition from the cross-party group of seven politicians to determine whether Brexit can be stopped if Britain, acting alone, decides to halt the Article 50 process.

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The UK Government must respond within three weeks before the Court of Session sets a date to hear the case, which will centre on the legality of stopping the Article 50 withdrawal.

The petitioners want the Court of Session to refer the issue of whether or not the UK can unilaterally stop Brexit to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

Ultimately they want the ECJ to rule on whether the remaining 27 EU countries would need to approve the stopping of the Article 50 process or whether the Westminster Parliament has the power to do so itself – that could see the Tory Government defeated if MPs do not like the deal.

The first four politicians who raised the case were Alyn Smith, the SNP MEP, Ross Greer and Andy Wightman, two MSPs from the Scottish Greens, and David Martin, a Scottish Labour MEP.

The second of Labour’s two Scottish MEPs, Catherine Stihler, plus Christine Jardine, the LibDem MP for Edinburgh West, as well as Joanna Cherry, an SNP MP and a QC, have also joined the petition.

Their action is being supported by legal counsel in Edinburgh and by Jo Maugham QC and the Good Law Project.

In a statement earlier this week the seven said: “We know it is possible to stay in the European Union if the other member states allow. But experts believe our Parliament can withdraw the [leaving] notification without their permission.

“But there is only one way to be sure: a court has to decide what Article 50 means.”

Jean-Claude Piris, former head of the EU council’s legal service, has backed the seven, writing on Twitter: “Article 50 is based on the principle that withdrawing from the EU is a unilateral decision. Nobody can force a state to leave. The only condition is that [the] decision is taken in conformity with its constitutional requirements.”

The Court of Session’s decision that the action can proceed is a blow to the Tory Government and comes little more than a year after the UK Supreme Court ruled that the Westminster Parliament, and not the Government, had to invoke Article 50.

After a vote in Parliament, May formally notified the EU of Britain’s intention to leave the EU by triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on March 29, starting a two-year exit process. She has since said she will not tolerate any attempt in Parliament to block it.

The SNP opposed Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to trigger Article 50 when it came before Parliament, but yesterday’s court action was particularly significant due to it also involving parliamentarians from the Labour, LibDem and Green parties.

They have acted following increasing evidence that any Brexit deal is at best likely to be a fudge, and at worst a horrendous settlement for Scottish and UK interests, hence the humiliating defeat of May’s Government last week that has now guaranteed that Parliament will get a “meaningful” vote on the Brexit deal – and that vote could be to stop Article 50 in its tracks.

In its response to the initial letter advising it of the seven’s legal action, the UK Government said the decision to trigger Brexit will not be withdrawn.

The office of the Advocate General, Lord Richard Keen of Elie QC, said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the public position we do recognise having taken is that the stated and consistent position of the government has been and is that the UK’s notification under article 50 (2) will not be withdrawn. This is clearly long established and consistent and discloses no basis for legal challenge.”