Government advisers believe there will be a split decision over the Supreme Court’s Article 50 ruling, with judges voting 7 to 4 in favour of giving a Parliament a veto on when Britain leaves the European Union, The Telegraph can disclose.
The news is a boost for the Brexit side, as some had feared before the case this week that the Government could lose the appeal by a majority of 10 to one.
A narrow win will make it harder for pro-European Union MPs and peers to frustrate the progress of a new law to trigger the start of Britain’s talks to leave the EU by the end of March.
Legal commentators and experts had believed the court comprised overwhelmingly pro-Remain judges, some expecting the pro-EU side would win by a margin of 10 to one.
However, government lawyers now believe the margin in favour of Remain is actually much narrower.
One source said: “It is difficult to predict how the case is going to go but the thinking of those in the room is that there might be a sizeable minority who are with the Government.
“The understanding is that it is unlikely to be a slam dunk either way; even if a majority agree with Gina Miller there will be a sizeable majority who don’t.”
The source added: “The feeling among those in the room was the division among the judges was much more pronounced than perhaps it appeared at first thought.”
A narrow win for the Remain side will still mean that the Government will have to pass a law formally triggering Article 50 by the end of March.
But the small margin of the victory will mean that is harder for the SNP and Liberal Democrats to amend any legislation and attempt to delay it.
By: Christopher Hope, chief political correspondent