During the Brexit referendum, a distinction was made between sovereignty and power. An institution can, like the Moldovan Parliament, be sovereign with limited powers; another, like a multinational company, can be powerful without being sovereign. The Westminster Parliament, some Leavers argued, was no longer sovereign: hence the language of ‘taking back control’. They weren’t swayed by forecasts of a loss of international influence because they were concerned with sovereignty, not power.
Parliament, as a sovereign body, can legislate as it likes. The effects of its legislation are a function of its power. The Article 50 notification may take back sovereignty; it gave away power.
- Frederick Wilmot-Smith at LRB blog.