PM Theresa May is trying to keep her finger on the Brexit trigger as calls mount for an emergency general election to settle the question of withdrawal from the EU.
Thursday's High Court decision insisted that Parliament must have the final say on Britain triggering Article 50. Now May is calling European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in an attempt to persuade continental leaders that the ruling would not shake her pledge to trigger divorce deal negotiations and formally launch Brexit by April next year.
However, the High Court judgment has created huge uncertainty. Tory former chancellor and ardent pro-European Ken Clarke told BBC Newsnight he would move to block invoking Article 50, saying: "I will vote against it. I shall stick to my guns. I'm not going to cast a hypocritical vote."
With the largely pro-EU Commons in the Brexit driving seat pending an appeal of the High Court ruling to the Supreme Court in early December, interim Ukip leader Nigel Farage wants May to call a snap general election, even though he said such a move would face stiff opposition from Tory and Labour benches alike.
Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act brought in by the Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition, the slated May 2020 general election could be brought forward only if two-thirds of MPs vote for it or the Government loses a vote of no confidence and other parties cannot form an alternative administration within 14 days of such a move.
After the High Court ruling rocked Westminster, Brexit Secretary David Davis conceded that an act of Parliament would now be needed to trigger Article 50, with May's spokeswoman stating his view was the "logical conclusion" to draw from the High Court judgment.
The spokeswoman said May was keen to tell other European leaders she would stick to the declared timetable for withdrawal, stating: "She will set out what the process is, which is that we are appealing and that we are carrying ahead and sticking to the timetable we have set out. This judgment is not going to derail that."
Juncker's spokesman made it clear to reporters in Brussels that the phone call was taking place at the request of the Prime Minister, not Brussels.