The Court case about Article 50

I have found it difficult to take the Court case seriously, but I am assured by many clever people it is entirely serious and is part of the complex argument over how we leave the EU.

To me it is no part of the Courts’ remit to tell Parliament what we do and do not have to vote on and debate. How can we claim to have an independent and strong Parliament if we need to consult judges over what our agenda should be every day?

The idea that the courts need to come to the aid of some members of the public because Parliament has decided not to debate and vote on a topic is bizarre. Surely if you want Parliament to debate and vote on something you lobby your MPs, you do not take up an expensive court action.

There has been no vote to endorse an Article 50 letter so far for very good reasons. The government sees no need for one. It argues it is a prerogative power, and anyway it is mandated directly by the public when they made the decision to leave the EU in a referendum. We had all been told by government and Parliament before the vote that an Article 50 letter would follow swiftly once we voted to leave.

The official Opposition also clearly sees no need for one. The Opposition could have used one of its several Opposition days to table a suitable motion and call a vote on sending an Article 50 letter. They have decided not to do so. I presume that is because they say they now accept the verdict of the referendum, and see that trying to win a vote stopping an Article 50 letter directly seeks to thwart the decision of the voters. Let us hope the judges understand that a free Parliament can vote on just this issue if it wishes, but has chosen not to.

The government is sure of its case and has not therefore set out any contingency plans were the courts to decide against them. I assume were the courts to demand a vote in Parliament before an Article 50 letter the government would simply table a motion and it would pass.

I doubt Labour would want to vote down the letter or the Repeal Bill which Parliament will be debating and voting on. Were they to do so and succeed the PM would have to call an election. The election would be held to elect more MPs clearly dedicated to implementing the wishes of UK voters. On current polls it would produce a strong Conservative pro Brexit majority. That majority could then vote through the constitutional changes necessary to secure an independent UK.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

148 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    I hope your optimism proves fully justified but have my doubts, especially given the many dire decisions taken by May already. She is clearly not a real Tory she seems as wet, lefty and broken compass possessing as Cameron or Major. Why are so many of the talented MPs Lilley, Owen, Mogg, yourself, Cash and many more not in the government. She hardly has a surplus of tallent. After all at least half the cabinet are dire, proven failures or totally misguided remainers.

    There are still very powerful remainer forces fighting the anti Brexit war. These people are mainly in the legal profession, the state sector, the BBC, the Lords, the commons, academia the “arts”, a few vested interest big business groups and the lovvies.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      Mrs May was a remainer, her main decisions so far, HS2, Hinkley, runway dithering, worker on boards, gender pay drivel, support for green drivel grants…….. have all been foolish and wrong headed. She was a remainer who lied to voters, in the referendum, that they had control of the borders through Schengen and one who as Home Secretary for many years failed even to control non EU migration while pretending to be doing so. This while wasting taxpayers money on pathetic gimmicks like go home advertising trucks driving round certain high immigrant areas.

      Why should we trust her now? She has done nothing yet to show she is worthy of much confidence at all, either on a sound economic competence or in the EU negotiation. Her choice of shoes seems to be her main priority.

      She is totally failing to make the huge economic case for Brexit. There are huge economic advantages to be grabbed, get on with making the most of them and stop this lefty interventionist politics, the absurdly expensive pointless vanity projects and all the pathetic dithering.

      • adams
        Posted October 23, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Well said Sir or Madam .

        • Hope
          Posted October 23, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          Did we get a vote on the Lisbon Treaty as promised by Labour- No. why on earth is Hilary Benn chairman of the Zbrexit select Committe.. 17.4 million of us voted against his putrid views,we voted against Miliband And Labour being in power. Yet the dishonest dishonourable politicians persist in acting against the public’s wishes. A good purge if the rotten parliament is long over due. A clear out of the civil service is required and the Tories have still failed to change left wing selection process for all key public sector appointments including the bar and judges.

          Reply. The Chairman of the Brexit Committee has to be Labour under the agreement. I voted for Kate Hooey, but as you saw there were more Remain MPs who wanted a Remain Chairman.

          • P Moore
            Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:25 am | Permalink

            Sorry, Mr Redwood, that is not the point. Did the Commons get a vote on Maastricht, on Lisbon? So why is it ‘right’ that they must have a vote on this? Not confronting you – maybe you wonder why, too.

            Reply As I keep saying, the Commons can have a vote on this if it wants one, but so far it has not wanted one. Parliament does not need the courts to dictate its agenda

          • Reality Check
            Posted October 28, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

            Actually, there was a vote on the Lisbon treaty, in 2008, I suggest you google it. Not sure where you get your facts from, you will find a BBC news story on just this subject, entitled, “UK parliament approves EU treaty”. Parliament has had a vote on all treaties since the introduction of the Ponsonby rule, which has been enshrined in statute by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7461918.stm
            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponsonby_Rule

      • Posted October 23, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        If Theresa May was a remainer then she did a damn good job of hiding it. I have read with interest the revelations that have come out about Cameron’s dealings with her during the referendum. I am reminded of John Major’s convenient toothache when asked to come out and support Thatcher when she was removed from office…

        • Lifelogic
          Posted October 26, 2016 at 4:31 am | Permalink

          She clearly was a remainer. She even lied to the electorate that we had control of our borders through Schengen. Something she must have know was a complete untruth. This in order to trick & deceive them into a remain vote. See also the leaks in the Guardian today (Wed) on the risks to banking.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      ‘Wet’

      – ‘Wet’ as in having empathy towards others, perhaps?
      ‘Wet’ is often (not always) used to encourage others to suppress their empathy towards others. So in reality, it’s those who suppress their own empathy towards others, who are really the ‘wet’ ones.

      (and don’t forget, suppressing one’s empathy can be a sign of narcissism, even sociopathy, so something to be really aware of).

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted October 23, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        ‘it’s those who suppress their own empathy towards others, who are really the ‘wet’ ones’

        – In other words, they lack the courage and generosity of spirit to have empathy towards others, and try and mask this by pretending they are courageous by calling other people ‘wet’

        Sorry to bang on about this, but this word is often used in the Conservative Party and in society in general that only leads to a false understanding, i think, between real courage and false courage, and between empathy towards others and a narcissistic kind of individualism.

        So please let’s stop splitting Conservatives between ‘wets’ and ‘non-wets’. It’s divisive and a false representation of how things really are. The Conservative Party needs to unify if it’s to stop socialism/Marxism, social liberalism, and an ugly form of nationalism taking root in this country at the moment.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 23, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        Wet, meaning doing things that actually cause far more harm than good (often in the misguided belief you are being nice & doing good). The main examples being:- endlessly increasing taxes, laws, fiscal complexity, red tape, intervention, grand idiotic vanity projects and an endless growth in the size of government.

        “Wet” meaning:- heart first logic & brain engagement never. Or “niceness” and religion over logic, real science and real economics.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

          Or “niceness” and religion over logic, real science and real economics.

          – The Quakers were religious and they were pretty good at logic, real science and in particular economics. Not sure what you’re point is.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 23, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        Having “empathy” but also understanding that being endlessly “kind” or giving endless sweets to children (using money taken of other people people) is rarely the best thing to do.

        Even for the recipients of the largess.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          ‘but also understanding that being endlessly “kind” or giving endless sweets to children (using money taken of other people people) is rarely the best thing to do’

          – I agree to a point but at the same time, we’re not atomised individuals. And we’re not Scrooges. We’re people connected to others, and we have a duty to look after the vulnerable as well those who might die on behalf protecting us in war, and so on (it was after WW2, that the NHS and so on was introduced).
          And with privilege comes responsibility (and old fashioned Tory maxim).

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          ‘Having “empathy”’

          – Our country is seriously broken. I mean so many people live in tiny little bubbles of the few people they have things in common with, and often these bubbles where you find these connections or ‘relationships’ are pretty shallow anyway. And i think this is often down to a lack of empathy (and many other factors as well). – A serious lack of empathy between people in general, family members, between different classes, regions, races, even within political groups, and so on.
          Our country is seriously broken. And a lack of empathy is a key reason behind this.

    • Posted October 23, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      Given your opinion of the cabinet surely that’s reason enough not to trust them with making deals for our future in secret. I have yet to see any evidence that Brexit in any form will be beneficial for the country given the risks to the pound, failure to control immigration outside of the EEC and the impact on trade. What is the huge economic case for brexit? Australia is about 1.9% of our trade and India does more trade with Belgium than the UK. The stirring of racial tensions will have an enormous impact on the well-being of the UK and adversely affect our relations with other countries.
      Already the backlash to the Conservative party is being felt with the Witney bye lection result. Since the referendum we now have the Tories split with a lunatic right and Labour with a lunatic left. Come back Osborne and Cameron.

    • amelinixon
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      IMHO : )

  2. Margaret
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    The fight for power goes on, money is made, things are made worse and in the end we are back where we started where the interference has cost money, a line of people through too many fingers in the pie get it wrong as Chinese whispers tactics ensue. This has been my experience for a long time and it sounds as though it is perpetuated in higher places than my little life. Of course all executives must be contacted to prove how all the Brexit vote was wrong in he first place and twisted around so the straight forward fair people are punished for the money makers and power seekers. I despair because of these morons.

    • bigneil
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Agreed with every single word – well said.

  3. SM
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    How wonderful it must be to have the kind of bank balance that will finance such self-indulgence; yet I wonder if those participating give a thought to the taxpayers’ money that will be spent having to defend this action?

    If I were dripping with ££££s and felt so strongly about individuals’ rights, I think I would put that money into genuine charities that are trying to help people fleeing from crazy wars and corrupt dictatorships.

    • Terry_nyorks
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Now theres a word of sense. Lets all get our prioritis right as John is doing in his main article

  4. The Active Citizen
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    “How can we claim to have an independent and strong Parliament if we need to consult judges over what our agenda should be every day?”

    As so often, you hit the nail on the head. These courts actions are ludicrous and vexatious. Parliament and Government decide these things and if voters don’t like their policies and actions there is redress at the ballot box.

    The Government lawyers now need to tell the Courts that action by the Government can’t be impeded and that the original ‘whenever’ advice to the High Court has in fact been superceded by events. The Government must be free to act as soon as possible on Article 50.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Redress at the ballot box is alas a very weak mechanism indeed. Cameron failed to deliver even a sensible MP recall system.

      One vote every five years for, usually, the least bad of just two likely winners. Who will not do what they promised anyway after being elected. This as we saw in spaces with “low tax at heart”, Eurosceptic, hug a hoody (and a Husky), my priority in three letter is the N H S, Cast Iron failure Cameron.

      On the EU the voters we denied any say at all when Heath took us in and then on for about 46 year, until this year.

  5. APL
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    JR: “To me it is no part of the Courts’ remit to tell Parliament what we do and do not have to vote on and debate. ”

    Agreed. The Court interprets the law that Parliament makes.

    There is something to be said for the proposition; Royal prerogative no longer rests with the Crown, then it ought to rest with Parliament. However, that isn’t the case nor has it been up until now.

    • Liz
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Some judges don’t accept that unfortunately and are trying to make “judge” laws – particularly in the area of privacy. One of the dire effects of the EU, because it is basically an undemocratic institution, has been the encouragement of executives in the UK to try and get round democracy and take power away from the people. Given the judiciary we have I would not rule out a win for those wanting to force a debate on Article 50. I now think a general election might be the only way to get Britexit through and at the same time reform the House of Lords which has been allowed to get too big and out of control.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 23, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        There is certainly a very great risk of this. It certainly seems to be the BBC agenda and much of the legal profession (who benefit so much from endless increases in legal complexity and multi level courts and authorities).

    • acorn
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Remember that the UK and Ireland are the only two Common Law countries within the EU. English law works on a Judge made common law system, as opposed to a civil law system, which relies on statutes like France.

      As far as I can gather, the royal prerogative still stands and the Monarch delegates his/her supra-national duties and responsibilities to “Ministers of the Crown”.

  6. eeyore
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    If the courts can tell Parliament what it must debate, they can also tell it what it must not debate. A corrupt judge might order it not to discuss judicial corruption, and a politically-influenced one might ban comment on political influence among judges.

    We would then cease to have a democracy and instead live under a dikastocracy – a word not known to the English language because the concept itself, rule by judges, has not yet occurred to the English.

    In any case, isn’t Parliament is the highest court in the land and not under the jurisdiction of lower courts? Notoriously, even the licensing laws do not apply within the Palace of Westminster.

  7. Oggy
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    What you say is common sense but unfortunately there are quite a few people in both houses that don’t subscribe to it and have their own vested interests at heart. The Lords for example don’t give a fig about General elections and they are the real threat to our democracy. Perhaps it’s now time to abolish the Lords.
    As for the court case it is just a blatant attempt by sore whinging remoaners to keep us in the EU. Whoever loses will appeal and it could go on for a very long time. Imagine a scenario if it eventually went to the European courts for clarity on how to run the British parliament !- absolutely ridiculous.
    Just one more reason to get out of the EU ASAP.

  8. Mark B
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The government is sure of its case and has not therefore set out any contingency plans . . .

    I guess some people never learn.

    Yes, as I stated sometime ago here on this website: A Three Line Whip, a Confidence Motion and the threat of deselection followed by a swift election should do the trick. A flushing out of the parliamentary bowls. 🙂

    With a 21% lead in the polls this should frighten quite a few on the opposite side of the benches.

    Bring it on.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      A general election will not alter the composition of the House of Lords, the same irreconcilable hypocritical anti-democratic unelected legislators-for-life will still be there and prepared to do whatever they can to keep us in the EU.

      Not all of them, though, at least one has seen that they should not try to do that, Lord Grocott at Column 2166 on July 7th:

      https://hansard.parliament.uk/lords/2016-07-07/debates/16070739000388/BrexitCaseForASecondReferendum

      “I sat through the whole Committee stage of the referendum Bill. The referendum was supported by the Conservative Front Bench, by the Liberal Democrat Front Bench, by my Front Bench, by the Green Party, by the Scottish National Party and by the Welsh national party – all parties supported the referendum. I never heard anyone say, “This is only the first of two referendums”; I never heard anyone say, “Oh, this is just an advisory referendum. You don’t have to take much notice of it. It’s useful advice, but let’s leave it at that”. The unanimous view of this House – no one voted against – was that the public should decide in a referendum.

      I simply say to this House, of which I am very fond, that this is essentially an advisory House; the public are not an advisory public. The public have made their decision. I say to my friends in this House – I would say it to my friends at the other end, among whom I see no appetite whatever for another referendum – that it really is not our job to thwart the will of the British people.”

  9. Brigham
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Perhaps if our judges don’t get it “right” it should be taken to the European court at The Hague.

    • Malcolm Lidierth
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      With Christmas fast approaching, the turkeys will need to be asked soon.

  10. agricola
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    In fairness to the complainants , their ship has gone down and they are grabbing at anything floating to sustain themselves. The real test is for the judiciary who in the past, under the cloak of the ECJ and the ECHR, have come up with some quite bizarre decisions, even to the point of risking the internal security of the UK by allowing those who would do us harm to continue to enjoy our hospitality. Watch this space.

    • David Price
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      To borrow your analogy I think it is more that the majority decided to get off an unseaworthy vessel but the minority that elected to remain would rather drag them back on now it is sinking than accept reality and leave also.

  11. Jerry
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    “To me it is no part of the Courts’ remit to tell Parliament what we do and do not have to vote on and debate. How can we claim to have an independent and strong Parliament if we need to consult judges over what our agenda should be every day?”

    That is plainly absurd, yes it is Parliaments job to make the laws but it is the courts job to make sure that the law is observed, including making sure that Parliament remains constitutional.

    “Surely if you want Parliament to debate and vote on something you lobby your MPs, you do not take up an expensive court action.”

    But what if Parliament has developed cloth ears and the governing party believes that they have become ‘above the constitution’, miss-using their prerogative powers. What you seem to want to risk, even though it is almost certain that any parliamentary vote would be in favour of confirming the referendum result, is for any future governing party to become Judge, Jury and executioner…

    “On current polls [a GE] would produce a strong Conservative pro Brexit majority.”

    Don’t be so sure of the Conservative part, a strong Brexit government perhaps, but not necessarily Conservative. There are a lot of europhile Conservative voters in the south (as the Witney Constituency has just discovered!), whilst Brexit was won in the Labour heartland of the north – hence why any vote in the current Parliament will pass in favour of the governments Brexit policy, after all Mrs May has a slim but working majority and turkeys do not normally vote for Christmas. Should Mrs May call an election you will see instant unity within the Labour Party, Mr Corbyn will be the best thing since sliced bread in the eyes of the Blairites. Just as all the eurosceptics rallied around John Major in 1992.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Just as all the eurosceptics rallied around John Major in 1992.

      Well he only won because people thought he was a Thatcherite but with a softer.

      They soon sussed him out and realised their mistake, then buried the party from a majority for 4 terms. Even now (thanks to the lefty, pro EU, tax borrow and waste, greencrap purveyor Cameron the Majority is only 12, and that only being thanks to the dreadful prospect of an Ed Milliband and Nicola Sturgeon coalition.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

        @LL; “Well he only won because people thought he was a Thatcherite but with a softer.”

        No, John Major only won because Mr Kinnock blew it 3 days before polling day with that daft pre-election ‘victory’ rally in Sheffield and his “Oh Yeah, Oh Yeeah, Oh Yeeeeah” shouts in to the microphone. Opinion polls of the time show how close the election had been until then, but with a sharp drop in support the day following that rally, which in turn spurned The Sun to run the headline -on polling day- “If Kinnock wins today, will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights” (a newspaper that always follows public opinion but rarely makes any, but then still claims the credit – as they did after Majors victory in 1992).

        Major went to some trouble to make electors think he was anything but Thatcherite, stressing he was his own man, with his own policies, even stressing his working class roots etc…

        “They soon sussed him out and realised their mistake”

        …Yes, because he turned out to be rather to Thatcherite, and thus the electorate did turf the Tories out for 4 terms -and then 18 years later elected a Tory party largely devoid of Thatcherism. A danger Mrs May appears all to aware of. Also remember that Brexit was won on Keynesian economic, if not socialist, concerns; provision of housing, jobs, decent wages etc. Not Mrs Thatcher’s (Free Market) Monetarist ideals that the EU has embraced so effectively.

    • Newmania
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      There is some truth in this but what JR and you are dancing around is that it is the collapse of the Labour Party that has betrayed us into the hands of ultra Nationalists. Last night I was chatting to a few enraged Remain Conservatives about whether we could actually support Jeremy Corbyn. Bottom line ; nope .
      Luckily we have a dreadful Brexit MP and a Liberal opposotion so for us voting against our own Party is relatively easy . That any of this can be interpreted as an endorsement for Brexit is , I need hardly say, laughable .

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 23, 2016 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

        I never ever thought I’d live in a Britain where to want to be British would be ‘ultra Nationalistic’.

        I never ever thought I’d live in a Britain where Christmas could be threatened.

        I never thought I’d live in a Britain where celebrities would collude with the ruling establishment by siding with 35-year-old men trying to swindle the country and insisting against all reality that they are children – then accusing us of being racists because we refuse to accept such lunatic double-think.

        Newmania assumes that anything away from his own position is ‘ultra’. His is not the moral high ground but etc ed.

  12. Alan
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    I disagree with Mr Redwood. The Parliament’s position on belonging to the EU is currently expressed in the European Communities Act and other legislation, all of which state that we are a member of the EU. It should not be lawful for a prime minister to act in a way that effectively repeals these laws without the consent of Parliament. I hope the court case will make it clear that it is against the law.

    It is not lawful for the courts to interfere with the operation of Parliament, but it is right and proper that the courts can question whether the actions of the prime minister are lawful. The principle that everyone, including those exercising the Royal Prerogative, is subject to the law is an important one.

    Reply Parliament will debate and vote on repeal!

    • Bob
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      @Alan,
      Parliament delegated the decision to the British people in a referendum.
      The govt spent £9,500,000 on a leaflet to every household explaining the issues albeit in a very biased way. The last page stated:

      “This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide”

      The people voted to leave. It doesn’t get much clearer than that.

    • Alan
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Mr Redwood’s reply to my post seems to imply that the Article 50 notification is revocable. In that case I agree the Parliament can in due course refuse to pass the Repeal Bill and we would stay in the EU. However, I there is disagreement amongst lawyers on whether or not the Article 50 notification can be revoked.

      If it cannot then there would be no way for Parliament to prevent us leaving the EU once the notification had been given. The laws that Parliament has passed would be made nugatory by the Royal Prerogative. That is what I am saying should not happen.

      Reply. Read what I write – Parliament does not want a vote on Article 50, as it could have one anytime if it wished. I presume the opposition have not tabled one because they feel they cannot oppose the decision of the people in the referendum

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        So rather than having laws passed by Parliament rendered nugatory, which parliamentarians could have foreseen would happen if the referendum vote was to leave the EU and which they could have easily forestalled by a simple amendment to the proposed law for the referendum, let’s now have the votes of 33 million trusting citizens rendered nugatory.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      That principle is not in dispute.

      The core argument made by the claimants is that Parliament has created rights through that legislation, and government cannot use Royal Prerogative to set in train a process which will lead to the irremediable loss of those rights.

      The fundamental flaw in their argument is that Parliament has not in fact created those EU rights for UK citizens, they were created by the government in agreement with the governments of the other EU countries. As pointed out by one of the government’s counsel, the fact that Parliament could not legislate to reinstate a right is a sure sign that Parliament did not create it in the first place.

      That was the argument which “baffled” the Lord Chief Justice when it was first made, as reported in some parts of the media, and understandably so because it is widely assumed that Parliament was the originator of our rights as EU citizens, when in reality its role was to adapt our domestic law to implement rights which the government had secured for us through EU treaties negotiated, signed and finally ratified all under Royal Prerogative.

      However it is quite possible that the judges will take a different view.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      ‘It is not lawful for the courts to interfere with the operation of Parliament, but it is right and proper that the courts can question whether the actions of the prime minister are lawful’

      – Perhaps in the case of the Iraq War more than any other. An illegal war, with no planning behind it. A moral and political disaster.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      @JR reply; Are you saying, as an opinion or fact, that parliament will have had a vote before A50 is triggered?

      Reply I am saying it could have one if it wanted anytime – it doesn’t want one!

      • Jerry
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        @JR reply; A very strange state of affairs then, it would appear, a notionally pro Brexit government who thinks it will loose a vote confirming the referendum result, and an notionally pro EU opposition who thinks it will loose any vote that attempts to over-turn the referendum result – most people would suggest that such a parliament is or is likely to become moribund, hence why some have decided to use the courts, if for nothing more than clarification…

      • David Price
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        As Denis Cooper has pointed out a couple of times parliament has already had several opportunities to vote on the issue before Article 50 is triggered – in 2008, 2011 and 2015.

        We the public only got one go, how many goes does parliament need before it demonstrates it is capable of taking instruction and mandate from the people it is supposed to serve? Parliament and government certainly didn’t seem to have any problems taking instruction from the EU over many years.

  13. alan jutson
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    If enough people wanted a debate in parliament about article 50 then they could raise a petition, and gain over 100,000 supporters to get that debate, that is the democratic way of moving forward without using the Courts.

    I hope you are right about the majority in parliament wanting to support the will of the people, because it seems to me we have rather too many politicians who think it is their job and right, to impose their thoughts on their constituents, because they think they are too dim to understand the real issues..

    • Posted October 23, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      This would apply to our host who is a leading Brexiteer whereas Wokingham voted decisively for Remain.

      We elect MPs and expect them to decide which way to vote on individual issues using their conscience to guide them.

      If this were not the case, we would still be hanging murderers, for example.

      When it comes to a General Election we then have an opportunity to vote out any MP who takes a completely different view from his constituents on major issues.

      On balance, overall, the voters of Wokingham clearly think having our host represent them in Parliament is good for them.

      Reply 1. We do not know how the voters of the Wokingham constituency which includes parts of West Berkshire and excludes large parts of Wokingham Borough voted , as the votes were declared by Council area
      2. All of my constituents had their own vote on Brexit, so on this one occasion I did not represent them but I represented myself, as they all represented themselves!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      That’s already happened, on Monday, but only in Westminster Hall:

      https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2016-10-17/debates/0D10F53C-7241-46AC-88CD-BD91964FADE2/UKExitFromTheEuropeanUnion

      “I beg to move,

      That this House has considered e-petitions 133618, 125333, 123324, 154593, 133767 and 133540 relating to the UK’s exit from the European Union … ”

      Taken across the two Houses it’s rather unlikely that a majority in parliament do want to support the will of the people, because those in the Lords don’t ever have to answer to the people and many of them have no scruples about imposing their own personal will as more important than that of the people.

      These hypocrites have the nerve to object to the government using the antiquated undemocratic Royal Prerogative to trigger Article 50 when they owe their seats to the same antiquated undemocratic Royal Prerogative.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      @alan jutson; Most would suggest that 16 odd million already have!

      Yes I know that is a bit of extrapolation upon the referendum result but no more than certain Brexit supporters telling us all that they are telepathic and know why getting on for 17.5 million people voted to leave and thus how and when the UK should actually leave the EU.

      • David Price
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        The when was made very clear before the referendum,

        On 22nd February 2016 PM David Cameron stated in the House of Commons;

        “If the British people vote to leave, there is only one way to bring that about, namely to trigger article 50 of the treaties and begin the process of exit, and the British people would rightly expect that to start straight away.”

        So telepathy isn’t needed.

        In Hansard, column 24 – http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160222/debtext/160222-0001.htm#16022210000001

        I trust you will stop trying to perpetuate your equivocating fictions that you can avoid the referendum and instead recognise that, in the words of Mr Cameron the referendum was “a straight democratic decision—staying in or leaving—and no Government can ignore that.”

        • Jerry
          Posted October 24, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

          @David Price; I see neither a date (the “When” question) nor any policy for Brexit (the “How” question” [1]) in the above citation, beyond the fact that any exit from the EU would have to be via A50.

          So no, it was not “made very clear before the referendum”, or even during the referendum. What is more it was made very clear by Cameron, the government and Civil Service that no Brexit planning had been done, or was going to be carried out, on their part before the result was known – many a electorate might have, understandably, considered that was in deference to the possible wishes of parliament post a Brexit decision.

          No government is ignoring the referendum result, the Brexit process has begun, nor is anyone else, but some Brexiteers seem ready to ignore both the right of parliament to have a say (before any detailed deed is done) and ironically the very democracy the Brexit groups said needed to be ‘repatriated’ back to the UK parliament, getting rather upset when us mere plebs start insisting.

          [1] having to use A50 is not the How question, and it is here that some Brexiteers want us to believe their telepathic powers

          Reply Let’s try again. We get out by sensing an Art 50 letter, which so far Parliament has not wanted a vote on but could have one, and then by repealing the 1972 Act which only Parliament can do and can vote on!

          • Jerry
            Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

            @JR reply; It is not the job of the opposition to do the work of the government, they have limited days when they can control the debate.

            Voting for or against repeal of the 1972 Act after A50 has been triggered, even worse after any agreement or none has been reached, is a toothless tiger for either side of the argument, we are out of the EU 24 months after the trigger date what ever parliament does or doesn’t do. The ‘Great Repeal Bill’ is mere domestic house-keeping.

            Reply The government sees no need for an Art 50 vote. If MPs do think there is a need then they need to table a motion accordingly.

          • David Price
            Posted October 25, 2016 at 3:59 am | Permalink

            @Jerry – You see what you wish to see, Article 50 is the how.

            Cameron told us the timetable (“Article 50 straight away”) and we were threatened by Project Fear repeatedly with detail (No internal market membership, oceans of illegal immigrants, WW3 etc).

            Perhaps your telepathic power tells you the wishes of the 17 million voters, but it doesn’t tell you mine nor it seems a number of politicians and voters. Parliament already had a say regarding Article 50 being started as a consequence of the referendum outcome and they accepted it all the way through the bill process to the point the referendum was held.

            By blocking and delaying Article 50, for any reason, they are now denying the democratic decision by the majority.

            The politicians, media and civil servants involved in this historic moment may wish to consider that this has become a test of their competence and attitude towards this country and it’s people. There will be another election and there will be repercussions.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 25, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

            @JR reply; Of course the government sees no need, it is now very obvious that Mrs May and the more moderate Brexiteers are running scared of being lumbered with the House/electorate wanting something Tory eurosceptic back-benches do not want…

            @David Price; We did not vote on a date for triggering A50 never mind what we should ask/demand from Brexit, the referendum only asked IF we should leave the European Union and if so that A50 would be used. Stop trying to rewrite what was printed on the ballot paper.

            Try reading your own citation, note the comer, what Mr Cameron said in effect was that in the event of an exit vote the UK would leave the EU via A50, and that the process would start immediately – except process is not necessarily triggering A50 immediately, even less so considering that there had been no planning.

            Also when I suggested on the Saturday following the vote that A50 should indeed be triggered on Monday 27th June I was greeted by a barrage of “What’s the rush” comments from many on this site, so there was no expectation from Brexiteers then that A50 should or would be triggered immediately. The rush has since come about because some Brexiteers fear that they will not get the type of Brexit they wish for.

            “You see what you wish to see, Article 50 is the how.”

            That comment must rank as the most deserving of the ‘Pot calling the kettle black’ award! It is europhobes that only see what they want, even if there are not 17 odd million different reasons why people voted for Brexit there are 28 different reasons why 17 odd million people voted for Brexit as there were 28 different groups all campaigning for a Brexit all with different manifestos/agendas. At least six of which were discussed and debated on this very site in the months before the referendum.

            Also I am not the one claiming any telepathic power, unlike you and other Brexiteers, that is why I want there to be at least a vote in the House were MPs can represent the wishes of their constituents to settle the “How” and “When” questions now we know the answer to the “If” (we should leave the EU) question.
            Reply There will be plenty of votes when we deal with the how, leaving by repeal of the Act!

          • Jerry
            Posted October 26, 2016 at 8:04 am | Permalink

            @JR reply; Let’s try once again, as you once said to me…

            But that is not likely before A50 is triggered (indeed Mrs Mat has stated that there will be debate but no parliamentary votes before A50 is triggered), and perhaps not until negotiations are far reached if not complete.

            In any case “The Great Repeal Bill” is nothing to do with Brexit per se, it is simply domestic house-keeping to keep the many EU laws alive here in the UK post Brexit, it is not the act of Brexit – although it could combine both tasks as I have suggested, and in private if needs-be.

  14. WingsOverTheWorld
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    To me this isn’t a case of Royal perogative or even the primacy of Parliament. We, the people in this supposedly democratic nation, were promised a vote – the result of which would guide Government policy. We had the vote; Government have their mandate. Now get on with it!

    • bigneil
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      I’m really glad you put the word “supposedly”.

    • Jerry
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      @WOTW; Get on with what, 17m different ways people want the UK to leave the EU? Welcome to getting nowhere very fast!…

      Or perhaps there should now be a cross-party political consensus reached as to the best Brexit policy, after all it is likely that as many (if not more) Labour supporters voted for Brexit as Tory, but the most vocal post Brexiteers have been those right of centre-right.

      Groups such as Vote Leave, if they carry on deigning the very parliamentary democracy they called for during the referendum, are in danger of winning the war but loosing the peace come the next GE.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        Have you asked all 17 million voters for their reasons then Jerry?
        Or are you just guessing their motives?

        • Jerry
          Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          @Edward2; “Have you asked all 17 million voters [..//..]”

          No, and nor have either the government or Vote Leave etc. that is the point and why some are suggesting that the government should either ask the electors directly or via their Members of Parliament.

          “Or are you just guessing their motives?”

          That’s a bit rich coming from someone who does think they know why 17m people voted for Brexit and thus thinks there is no need to actually ask them the “How” and “When” questions…

          • Edward2
            Posted October 25, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            We the People had to answer a simple question on the referendum voting paper.
            It is now up to our elected representatives to negotiate and manage our majority decision.
            As you say yourself, the EU has a big say in this process so no one can predict the final outcome.

            The when is already being answered.
            Article 50 will be triggered early next year.

            The how has been spoken about by the Government and it has said negotiations will be debated by Parliament when the outcome is known.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 26, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; “The how has been spoken about by the Government and it has said negotiations will be debated by Parliament when the outcome is known.”

            Even if A50 is the “When” (which I do not accept, see my replies to @David Price), so much for the “How” question and democracy then, the very parliamentary democracy Vote Leave and others wanted returned via Brexit! What happens if parliament votes down the governments A50 settlement with the EU27, the UK is out with nothing more that WTO rules anyway – the government is basically saying vote our way or else have something perhaps much worse by default.

            That is not parliamentary democracy, it is a ‘Hobsons choice’ bordering on the sort of autocratic government that europhobes complained about from the EU – out of the frying pan into the fire it seems, from one autocracy to another…

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      In its official leaflet the government promised that the referendum result would not just “guide” government policy but DETERMINE it. And parliamentarians knew that was the case before the leaflet was distributed to every household, but did not raise any objection to the electors being told:

      “This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide.”

      It’s outrageous that any parliamentarian in either House should now question that just because they don’t like the way the people voted; which is all that it’s about, the legal arguments are just a pretext for trying to neutralise the result.

      • Jerry
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        @Denis Cooper; In a parliamentary democracy government policy is placed before the House, and it becomes enacted if parliament agrees, anything else in a time of peace is called a dictatorship…

        A government is free to make any policy “A matter of Confidence”, pledging to resign and call an GE if they loose the will of the House – and more importantly, their own MPs.

        Mrs May has a working majority in her own right, what is more there are eurosceptic MPs in the Labour party who I’m sure would feel able to disobey their whips (perhaps more so at the moment) should their party decide to ignore the will of many of their own voters.

        Reply The Leader of the OPposition said again today in the House that he respects the decision of the UK voters, soi I assume that means he would not want to try to vote down a letter for exit.

        • Jerry
          Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

          @JR reply; Exactly! So why not just have the dammed vote and put the whole matter to bed?…

        • Edward2
          Posted October 24, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

          You are sounding more like Tim Farron every day Jerry

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 25, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

          Houses, Jerry, plural.

          • Jerry
            Posted October 25, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; “Houses, Jerry, plural.”

            Could the House of Lords stop Brexit, as the referendum (and thus, by definition, result) was a manifesto pledge would it not fall within the scope of the Parliament Act?

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted October 25, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            Yes, provided it was a Bill and not just a motion then it would, but with a delay of up the thirteen months during which the bad losers could try other tricks to neutralise the referendum result. Which is what Baroness Wheatcroft and other unelected legislators-for-life are hoping will happen, as she wrote in August:

            http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/opinions/a-rebellion-in-the-lords-brexit-article-50-referendum

            !Steering a Bill through both Houses would be much harder. There are just 243 Conservative peers out of a total of 798. While among them there are some vociferous outers, including former Cabinet members Nigel Lawson, Norman Tebbit, Norman Lamont and Michael Forsyth, there are many equally vocal Tories for “Remain.” With no constituents to fear and a conviction that remaining in the EU and helping it reform would be a much better option than plunging into the unknown, they would defy the whip, which cannot inflict the same pain as it does in the Commons. The Lords would be resoundingly “not content” and could remain a blockage to the legislation for up to one year.

            Much might change in that time. The EU might even concede that the UK was not the only country which needed to see some curbs on free movement and make changes. Then their lordships might argue that there was a good reason to call that second referendum and hope for a very different result.”

  15. David Murfin
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Parliament’s rights were hard won in a civil war. The Parliamentarian’s claim was to be able to restrain the King’s Executive power. Now it wants to wield it. Cromwell learned the difference, and dismissed a Parliament which spent its time discussing but not deciding (much as the EU Parliament today.) That we are in this position with Article 50 results from Parliament comprising MPs who represent their parties’ views about what the Executive should do, instead of their constituents views about what it should not.
    What the Executive should not do at the moment is dither about implementing the result of the referendum. If we do need time to establish our negotiating position nothing would concentrate the Government’s mind more quickly than having the 2 year clock actually ticking. (I have read in this diary what seems to me to be a completely sound simple strategy.)

  16. Ed Mahony
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    As a Remainer (in favour of strong reform of the EU), I agree with you. I think it’s a bit pathetic and we just need to get on with Brexit now, and without wasting too much time over negotiations.
    I also think it’s a bit pathetic Remainers and Brexiteers falling out over Brexit. Important as it is, there’s far more to life than whether we’re in the EU or not. And we all need to just get on with Brexit now. If it works out, great. If not, we just get on with how things were before but this time trying to reform the EU.
    Regards.

  17. Iain Moore
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    ‘Unelected’ Gordon Brown signed the Lisbon treaty. So May has just as much authority to act as he did.

    The Lisbon treaty was ratified with the legal understanding that once ratified the Government didn’t have to refer any matters pertaining to it back to Parliament , which includes article 50. If the likes of the Remainers don’t like it, perhaps rather than boasting, like Ken Clarke did when he said he had never read the Maastict treaty, had been more diligent in their duties rather than leave the Commons chamber empty when the Lisbon treaty was passed

    The referendum was part of the Governments manifesto.

    Parliament voted for the Referendum 541 votes to 53.

    The referendum question put to the people was..Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the EU or leave the EU? So no confusion there.

    The only question is, what is there to discuss in court? The judge should have thrown it out on day one.

  18. The PrangWizard
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    All you say is true but we are no longer led by people of principle and resolve.

    How often has some virtue signalling publicity seeking celebrity with the support of much of the media come up with some special pleading which government has caved in on. Privileged groups like these and their friends in high places make policy these days, yet they have no democratic mandate. They are never opposed for long.

    In this situation relating to Article 50 it matters not if the case is lost by those pursuing it; if the judgment contains any remark however insignificant which the complainers claim supports their contention I would guess that pressure will be brought and Mrs May will make some concession because of her inherent weaknesses. It will probably be for ‘more consultation’, ie. more of her dithering.

  19. Margaret
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I took ,a couple philosophy/ ethics degrees when I had suffered much distortion of the truth and suffered greatly. I am still living with the consequences of this. My intention was to become a barrister and hopefully put justice into the law. I was a single parent and couldn’t afford to keep a roof over my head for myself and children and complete the expensive courses.

    Some of the ethical works I read were beautiful and I carried on bringing ethics into work and building up the professional life I was qualified for. In the early 1990’s I worked on respect and dignity for all and made it clear that ethics was at the basis of all law. The discipline I was studying was the foundation for all laws, yet it was scoffed at as though it was some vacuous light headed pursuit rather than infiltrating in to all aspects of life.

    We can all laud science but the beauty is how we use it, we can all abide by the law if it is based on ethics( Think of Assad’s law), we can all build empires as long as good ethics are the corner stone. There is little use in deconstructing laws if the substance is not there in the first place.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Well said.
      As a historian (and student of English Literature and Philosophy in the past), I can tell you that all civilisations crumble when ethics goes out the windows. The most extreme example of that are the Nazis. But it can happen in any kind of society, not just with fascists or Communists, or a decadent (and bored/jaded) society like we have today.

  20. fedupsoutherner
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    OT I see the banks are already threatening to leave the UK and start up elsewhere due to the uncertainty of Brexit. If we were allowed to get on with it as you suggested yesterday John, maybe this could be avoided. This looks like a similar tactic to that exercised during the Scottish independence referendum. Is it an empty threat and what do you think about this issue John?

    • backofanenvelope
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      If you were a bank, would you really want to move to Paris? They don’t speak English. They don’t like Americans. Everything is more expensive. The bureaucracy is more over powering………………………………….. Their workforce only pretends to work. You will find it hard to sack people.

    • rose
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      If they were really going to do it they would just do it, not announce it as a threat. They are trying to influence the PM’s conduct of our exit. Like the Japanese, they prefer to have us in the single market for their own benefit, but will be able to adapt as they did over the Euro and Schengen.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:17 am | Permalink

      The particular threat you mention did not come from the banks themselves but rather from a lobbying trade group keen on getting a bit of publicity. So as a threat it is null and void.

  21. Graham
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    My scepticism about getting over the line is well documented on this blog despite JR’s positive take.

    I really really hope I’m wrong.

  22. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    “I assume were the courts to demand a vote in Parliament before an Article 50 letter the government would simply table a motion and it would pass.”

    A motion would likely pass in the Commons, but the claimants are demanding a full Act passed by both Houses rather just a motion and there would be much less chance of getting that through the Lords as presently composed.

    I read here:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/house-of-lords-brexit-warning-cabinet-minister-thousands-peers-lloyd-george-abolish-future-block-eu-a7374066.html

    “House of Lords future at risk if it tries to block Brexit, leading cabinet minister warns”

    “Tory peer Patience Wheatcroft has accused Theresa May of “using the royal prerogative” to decide on her own what Brexit will look like, without giving anyone else a say.

    She has demanded Parliament have a say on exactly what kind of Brexit the government is pursuing.

    Lords Speaker Norman Fowler has also suggested peers could vote down legislation that comes from the Commons.

    One Tory peer has told The Independent: “There are people who are worried that if the Lords pushes back on this, it could be the end of the Lords.

    “But the Lords has to be reformed anyway, it has to happen. There are far too many of us. So some of us don’t see that as an impediment.””

  23. S Smith
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    We just need to get article 50 invoked before lots of people who seem to be scared of getting up in the morning get there way and scupper it.

    ECA needs to be gone too. The rest I’m not overly concerned about.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      Too late for that now, there was a short window when Cameron could have done what he promised and sent in the notice, before the court cases were started.

  24. 'Nough
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    How many British people have received some kind of court action or fine, including traffic offences?

    I do not know the numbers. Many people, even in UKIP, do not come clean about such events. It is difficult to assess. I believe it is safe to say we have an overdose of regulations which the best of us cannot help at some stage fall foul. The percentage must be huge and cannot be commensurate with a free land and a free people.

    So few British people, rightly or wrongly, are comfortable with the idea of the legal profession (Law ) fiddling about with our very personal interpretation of even our X placed on a bit of paper twice in the entire history of our land.

    We should speak less of Liberty ( freedom UNDER the law ) and more of Freedom. We should not need anyone’s permission-slip, even a Judge, to defend our country.
    ( Especially when that defence pathetically amounts to the crossing of two lines on a ballot paper. )

  25. Lee harriss
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    It amazes me thst a member of parliment has an ignorance of the function of parliament. The court has technically nothing to go with Britexit, but whether the prime minister has the right to invoke article 50 prior to members have the constiutional right to vote on this, due to the public losing some of their fundemental rights such as freedom of movement and freedon of trade within the EU.

    That said, the referendum was advisory and this is a fact. Others facts if that inflation is now 1%, the pound is at its lowest since 1985 and as we are a net importer, items like food, gas, petrol are already increasing. Not forgeting that Smiffys have already advised that they
    are already locating to Europe as are the financial institutions looking to do. This will a loss of jobs and tax contributions.

    The EU have absolutely no incentive to offer the UK to control immigration while giving you single market access and why would they. The leavers have completely lied to the public about their policies to give the NHS £350 per week, no vat on fuel or nor more EU contributions, when in fact if we want single market access, we will have to pay for it.

    This also does take in to account the benefits of the EU, equal pay, working hour agreements, telephone rosming charges, Human Rights act, cleaner environment legislation to name just a few.

    If John Redwood was my MP, I would be seriously worried whether he had mine best interests in mind, or merely his own.

    • MP Less
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      I wish JR were my MP. My current one is a very small child indeed though a dental check could show adulthood of the flesh and bone.

      Did any of us imagine in the Referendum Campaign’s main result would be a frenzied questioning and analysis of the meaning of Leave and Remain? Disgusting.
      The Remainers are revealed as anti-democratic. We knew it anyway.

    • Edward2
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Tories currently 18 points ahead in numerous polls which is the equivalent to a 100 seat majority

      Odd how so many nations trade with Europe without agreeing to freedom of movement nor being in the single market

    • UpwardlyAdrift
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      When I’m rich and well-to-do I may move into Redwood’s Constituency. Though one wonders why both sides in the Civil War thought it worthy enough to loot. In 1723, the ‘Black Act’ worries me as to whether the people of the area are not unusual in some way that defies the imagination.

      In any event, it would be in accordance with my usual luck that John Redwood would retire as MP just as I was setting up my henhouse in my backgarden and his replacement MP would turn out to champion every minority grouping in obscure parts of the world and not have the slightest understanding of anything but perhaps astro-physics and how to make dainty triangular-shaped cucumber and parsley sandwiches on rye.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      “The EU have absolutely no incentive to offer the UK to control immigration while giving you single market access and why would they.”

      They give Japan single market access with no freedom of movement. And USA. And China.

    • anon
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      We are not really asking the EU for anything except fair trade and a good trading relationship.

      This will of course happen as trade will happen as the “people choose” what to buy!

      The people of the EU are not politicians and are probably rationale and sensible and will not hold an illogical politically driven positions which seeks to undermine trade in their own interest. Any such politically driven trade discrimination would probably be illegal under EU law, whether we are in the EU or not.

      The people have voted to leave the EU. It may be legally advisory, but politically it is not. Parliament will act as it so wishes.

      You currently have the choice to leave the UK for the nearby EU. If you think your interest are best served in the EU.

      I suspect a lot of Brexit supporters have left the UK in the prior 46 years.

      There is nothing the EU can give us that it hasn’t taken from us in the first place! or that we can do ourselves?

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:20 am | Permalink

        What is sort of interesting is the people wringing their hands over the loss of free movement include media types, lawyers, politicians and so on who have no transferable skills at all, couldn’t get a job anywhere except U.K. and have no intention of ever doing so.

    • David Price
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      John Redwood is my MP and I consider myself fortunate. From his blog you must be aware he is as asiduous in attention to national matters as local concerns and we are all the better for it.

      The thing is though that the majority of people who voted on this matter agree with him, and not with you, so I would judge he clearly has the interests of the majority in mind.

      We will be leaving so the best thing you can do is accept the situation and work alongside the rest of us to make it work.

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    “On current polls it would produce a strong Conservative pro Brexit majority.”

    Only in the Commons, the elected legislators-for-life in the Lords would not be touched by the general election. As Baroness Wheatcroft pointed out in August:

    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/opinions/a-rebellion-in-the-lords-brexit-article-50-referendum

    “A rebellion in the Lords”

    “With no constituents to fear and a conviction that remaining in the EU and helping it reform would be a much better option than plunging into the unknown, they would defy the whip, which cannot inflict the same pain as it does in the Commons. The Lords would be resoundingly “not content” and could remain a blockage to the legislation for up to one year.”

    I have asked before, where was Baroness Wheatcroft on the numerous occasions over the past thirteen years when parliamentarians had opportunities to assert a claim to control the service of an Article 50 notice, but never bothered to do so?

    I noticed one fairly important point missed by the government’s counsel when making their case, which was that in its Schedule 1 the European Union Act 2011 does actually mention one part of Article 50, Article 50(3) relating to the extension of negotiations beyond the guideline period of two years, but it does not mention Article 50(2) on the service of the notice which triggers the negotiations.

  27. NA
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Blair government made judges too powerful, They impose theoretical ideas of universal rights upon the decisions of the elected government.

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    How many times over four years did I point out that the four* referendum Bills and the final referendum Act were all silent on what would ensue from a vote to leave the EU? Now we know the answer: the Supreme Court will decide what lazy and inattentive parliamentarians could not be bothered to address and decide during their repeated debates stretching out over many hours in both Houses.

    * Tory party draft Bill; James Wharton Private Members’ Bill; Robert Neill Private Members’ Bill; finally the government’s European Union Referendum Bill 2015.

  29. Andy
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Correct me if I am wrong but Article 50 is a clause in a Treaty and not part of UK Domestic Law. Had Parliament wanted to fetter the Prerogative then when you all passed the EU Amendment Act 2008 you would have specifically done so as you all did with Article 49 2-5 of the same treaty. It is the Crown that makes treaties by right of its Prerogative and as I understand the Constitution it is the Crown that denounces them by right of its Prerogative.

  30. Bert Young
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    It is not up to the Courts to decide how we run the country ; they – like the rest of us ,can only have their opinions . For democracy to work the will of the people is paramount ; the system of representation is straightforward enough even though at times it is slow . Those in the legal profession have , over many years , discovered the way to line their pockets and they do so whenever the opportunity arises . The present action to challenge the outcome of the referendum is scandalous and it ought not to be allowed .

  31. Judgeoperative
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    A future British government, when we get one after leaving the EU, needs to sort out the judiciary. You can have too much of a good thing.

  32. Antisthenes
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    The last thing the UK wants is to follow the path of the USA where it’s supreme court is taking more and more political power unto itself. A situation where the unelected are telling the elected what policies they can or cannot follow. A very dangerous path stuffing the judiciary with those who are sympathetic to only one section of society can lead to other sections who if they are in government being unable to govern. In the USA they are poised to doing just that by giving the supreme court a left wing bias assuming Clinton is elected president.

    If the judge presiding over this article 50 case finds for the remainers not only will it defy logic, throw the constitution into confusion it will also set the UK on the same slippery judiciary slope as that being experienced in the USA. The case brought the judge should decide has no legal base as it is something that parliament should decide for itself. Parliament decide the laws courts are there to sometimes arbitrate differences of interpretation of laws. Triggering of article 50 is already enshrined in law by precedence and custom not by statute so until it is which is the prerogative of parliament to do or not the court has no part to play.

  33. majorfrustration
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Lets just go for an election and get the majority to govern

    • graham1946
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      The public are heartily sick with referenda and elections and politics in general. They’ve got better things to do with their lives. They voted for a government for 5 years and don’t want to keep voting just for the advantage a party sees it may get. It could backfire. Big majorities are not a blessing, except to make life easy for the party concerned, we get elective dictatorship that way. Far better for the government to have to fight for everything it wants to do than just railroad any crackpot idea a PM may have. We’ve seen plenty of that in the past.

      This lesson should be learned from the Cameron seat where a rock solid majority of 25,000 disappeared to a challengeable majority of 5,000. The new MP will have to work to keep his seat, no bad thing.

    • bigneil
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      In a few years the majority will all have come from abroad, been given the right to vote – then will vote their own into power.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately the majority of Tory politicians are Remain. Brexit was a cross party campaign.

  34. Pete Stroud
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    You are absolutely correct JR, parliament clearly gave the people the right to decide, and government complied with the people’s wishes. I thought the case would have been thrown out after counsel’s initial statements. Still, we know that the law is sometimes strange old beast. Of course, it can be extremely profitable for a lot of people.

  35. Malcolm Lidierth
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    If Parliament leaves a void through legislation, that void will generally necessarily be filled by the courts. Did it leave such a void with the Referendum Act 2015? Perhaps the preamble might have been clearer, but the advice from the Parliamentary Library when the Bill was being read was clear enough: the result of the referendum “influences the Government in its policy decisions”: note the Government, not Parliament.
    It appears, based on this advice, that Parliament has given the executive the authority needed to make the required policy decisions. There is little Royal about this authority, the peasants in the HoC agreed to it, but Cameron and subsequently Mrs May’s governments have talked of using the Royal prerogative.
    It’s unfortunate that the validity of the advice is to be tested in the courts: the constitutional institution that should be kept furthest from political decision making. In that respect, Parliament has done a poor job by framing an Act that has created this situation. In part, the problem arises from lack of clarity of the role of referendums in the UK and the invention of new constitutional conventions/rules/laws on an ad hoc basis often for party political purposes (devolution referendums, voting reform).
    As the triggering of A50 gets closer and the prospect of competing on the world stage gets closer, Remoaning quakebuttocks are becoming more vocal in their efforts to scupper the entire process. Some “truths” are being peddled that may not be true. Here are a few observations/questions relevant to what is happening in relation to the referendums “advisory” nature:
    [1] The word “advisory” does not appear anywhere in the European Union Referendum Act 2015.
    [2] Parliamentary Library opinion given before Parliament voted on the Bill was that the referendum would advise the executive, not Parliament. Many MPs now calling for a new debate appear not to have read the briefing papers provided by the Library.
    [3] Some of the most vocal Remoaning MPs now calling for a second Parliamentary vote did not vote when they had the chance earlier: Ed Milliband for example was absent for all votes (1st, 2nd and 3rd readings) on the 2015 Referendum Bill.
    [4] A Parliament can not bind a future Parliament so all referendums are advisory. Nick Clegg punctured this truth when, for party political purposes, he insisted on the United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum of 2011. That was the UK’s first national ‘binding’ referendum. Parliament during the coalition had bound a future Parliament by approving the legislation to be enacted in the event of a ‘Yes” vote before the referendum. This ‘pre-legislative’ referendum therefore enacted the sleight-of-hand needed to impose Clegg’s will and subvert the sovereignty of a future Parliament. His present hypocrisy beggars belief.
    [5] A50 is the only mechanism available to the UK that allows it to leave the EU while complying with its international obligations and commitments. What then could Parliament have envisaged, other than triggering A50, in the event of a Leave result in a Remain/Leave referendum?

    Many MPs who bothered to vote on the 2015 Bill appear to have passed the 2015 Act without properly considering it and without seriously considering the possibility of a Leave result. The best case for further Parliamentary scrutiny is that Parliament was so slack in scrutinising the earlier Bill that they should be given a 2nd chance and ‘try harder next time’. But a debate, even with a vote, should not trump Parliament’s earlier decision to pass the 2015 Act following the due constitutional process involving both houses, committee stage, 3 readings etc.

    Many post-referendum surveys indicate that Leave voters were most concerned about issues of UK sovereignty – note UK sovereignty, not Parliamentary sovereignty although Remoaners now seek to confound the two and treat them as equivalent. The Remain campaign concentrated on economic issues via Project Fear. Voters rejected that analysis. We now know that Fear’s predictions for the immediate future were clearly wrong.

    The moral case for accepting the referendum result and triggering A50 is then two-fold:
    [1] The decision to remain/leave is political/constitutional in nature and like general elections or Clegg’s voting reform is an question appropriately addressed in a democracy via a plebiscite.
    [2] The economic consequences of the decision are unknown. There are uncertainties in leaving the EU but equally, there are uncertainties in remaining. The crystal balls of our representatives in Parliament are no more polished than our own so there is no case to leave our Parliamentary representatives to make this decision rather than letting us peasants make the decision ourselves.

  36. michael
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    The ultimate irony is that under current arrangements the losing party may appeal from our Supreme Court to the European Court of Justice. So an EU institution could dictate what the UK Parliament must do in these circumstances.

    Another example of why we need to take back control.

  37. Edward.
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Judges, are appointed by the state to preside over the law as set down by the legislature, where the legislature defers to and enacts upon the will of the people. When, the people are asked to vote on a vital matter and one which brings into question the very essence and existence of the nation, it is right and fitting to put it to the whole electorate.

    The people in their wisdom, provided the answer – OUT of the EU.

    What is that, the judges and those other sorts who cannot understand about a simple monosyllabic order or, would it be pertinent to inquire -when did, the senior court take to presiding what is best for their masters?

  38. Kenneth
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Parliament asked the People to decide by referendum.

    The binary result LEAVE feeds directly to the binary triggering of article 50.

    imho that’s it.

    • Nerwmania
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      I think that is broadly if with huge trepidation accepted as a mistake we have made . That does not mean we have to leave under the the worst circumstances possible which was certainly not what anyone voted for

  39. Edward2
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    My view is the Courts will turn down the attempt to force a vote.
    But if they do agree then Parliament will vote.
    My view is the Commons will vote in favour.
    But if they do not then an election will be called.
    My view is the Conservative party will gain an increased majority
    And then the vote in the Commons will be re run and carried.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Lords!

  40. Chris
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    I note the Remainers never made clear any conditions in the event of a Remain vote that Parliament should then have a vote specifically in order to overturn that decision, which is in essence what they are claiming should happen now against the Leave result.

    It is a disgraceful tactic, which the EU has used to engineer another vote until they get the answer they want. Nothing could have been clearer than in the Referendum Bill that the government would act to implement the decision of the people as voiced in the referendum. Cameron backed this up further by saying that Article 50 would be implemented straight away – no dithering, no delay. Already that promise has been broken.

  41. Posted October 23, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Any general election held now would inevitably end up being a re-run of the referendum campaign. A thoroughly confused outcome would emerge because many Pro-Remain Conservatives would vote Lib Dem.

    Labour would not come out of the election as badly as it deserves because the hurdle that UKIP needs to jump is too high, especially now that the party has degenerated into such a shambles. Only goes to prove what an asset Nigel Farage was to them.

    In short, the outcome is far too unpredictable for Mrs May to take a chance and the disruption and uncertainty would do immense damage to the economy. She has a mandate for Brexit, she just needs to get on with it.

    None of the present uncertainty over leaving the EU would exist had Cameron stayed on an extra day and submitted Article 50 as he said he would.

    Even though those Pro-Remain Conservatives that would vote LibDem probably think that Farron is a complete waste of space, he could well end up as Deputy PM.

    • Chris
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      I agree it would be very unwise to call an election. Basically what Theresa May would be acknowledging is that she is not a strong enough politician, nor are there enough politicians of integrity, to uphold a promise made to the British people through the Referendum Bill and the Referendum itself. It would actually be an admittance of gross failure, I think.

      The remedy for her situation is in her hands. The government has to focus all its resources and will power to achieve the Brexit that we voted for, and that means with a team that is wholly committed, not made up of Remainers such as Hammond, Carney et al. She should not be diverted by other issues that she seems to think deserve equal merit e.g. grammar schools. These things should be completely subordinate to the critical issue which is getting on with Brexit swiftly and decisively.

      She had the chance to do this right at the beginning when she first took over the reins of power, but she chose not to and has dithered since – a fatal mistake, I believe. Maybe she preferred to have enemies in her camp where she could keep an eye on them. However, that has not worked, and because of her perceived dithering they have been able to stir and cause a lot of dissent which is growing daily. A dangerous situation.

    • NoMoreEU
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Not sure why you believe a quick GE would have a “confused outcome”.

      Witney had 60% of the vote, very much because Mr Cameron was the MP.

      The BBC and others trumpeted how the Conservative vote had plummeted to only 45%!

      Any current or past Leader, of any Party, would be absolutely delighted to have 45% of the vote.

      Witney is the only up to date, accurate poll we have.

      That suggests the Conservatives would romp home, at a GE.

  42. fedupsoutherner
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    If we lose this case then just what means do we have left to have a democratic vote in a democratic country? We may as well live in a dictatorship if our votes count for nothing.

    I thought Suzanne Evans spoke very well on the Andrew Marr show this morning. She could be a force to be reckoned with. UKIP could do well with her at the helm.

  43. Newmania
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    We entered the EU ( yes I know …) with the support of 75% of the country and with the consistent support of Parliament . We are leaving on the basis of a tiny majority and against the wishes of our elected representatives. There was never any strong demand to revisit the question outside the ranks of UKIP a Party which everyone had every opportunity to elect and did not .
    The supposed mandate of the referendum is entirely fraudulent .People were convinced about a dividend for services ( the National Health), the imminent membership of Turkey and so , floods of Islamic migrants and that a new and better trade deal would be easy to negotiate with the EU .
    None of this is true and now our position is comparable to New York decided to make trading services with the rest of the USA impossible for Wall Street .
    48 % of us will; be frog marched away from financial security global significance and life as part of Europe and out of the single market so out good and services will enter the EU on the same basis as those of Belize and Antigua , at best and it could be worse than that .
    48% of us are to be ignored trampled on and jeered at form the pages of the Brexit propagandist press the Sun , the Mail and the UKIP supporting side of the Telegraph . Recent Polls show that opinions have already shifted against Brexit , just imagine what it will be like when the consequences start to hurt and the cliff edge looms .
    John Redwood seems to believe that against back drop of mob rule it is democratic and constitutional for a cabal of ultra-Nationalists to slam the door on prosperity forever interpreting a single answer as they think fit and in a manner clearly not communicated to prominent campaigners on the Brexit side .
    Quite what the legalities of ignoring Parliament following an advisory opinion poll are I could not say but if we are to have a democracy and not a plebiscitary dictatorship then quite clearly the version of Brexit must be agreed and supported in Parliament before it has been settled and not afterwards .

    Reply Have the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand etc slammed the door on prosperity by refusing to join the EU’s single market and have a common law making and borders policy with the EU? Do try and show some modicum of commonsense and balance.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:24 am | Permalink

      Also please don’t keep saying you know why I voted Leave.

    • David Price
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      We didn’t enter the EU, the vote was on remaining in the EEC and before the Schengen Agreement, Single European Act, Maastricht Treaty, Amsterdam Treaty and Lisbon Treaty.

      When we were finally asked if we wanted to be in the EU the majority vote was “NO” and government given the mandate and instruction to take us out of the EU.

      And every major party offered a referendum in it’s manifestos, only one has delivered on that promise though.

      Seriously, do you really think our interests and futures are best served by the likes of Juncker, Merkel, Hollande and the like? If so then you are as deluded as you sound.

    • Pud
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      The alleged Leave lies must be particularly galling seeing as the Remain side were totally straight and never made up anything about public spending cuts, tax rises, migrant camps in the UK, World War 3 and that the EU had no plans for a European Army. Oh, hang on – yes they did.

  44. Chris
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    If we were to have an election on the basis that Theresa May would deliver the clean Brexit that we voted for, would Anna Soubry have to stand down as a Conservative, as she seems to have openly defied the PM, and because she does not represent the majority of her constituents’ views on the EU?

  45. Nick
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    “You say: I doubt Labour would want to vote down the letter or the Repeal Bill which Parliament will be debating and voting on. Were they to do so and succeed the PM would have to call an election.”

    Why? Maybe you know of a reason.

    Section 2 of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 provides for two ways in which a general election can be held before the end of the five-year period. Either,

    a. If the House of Commons resolves
    “That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government”,
    an early general election is held, unless the House of Commons subsequently resolves,
    “That this House has confidence in Her Majesty’s Government”.
    This second resolution must be made within fourteen days of the first. Or

    b. If the House of Commons, with the support of two-thirds of its total membership (including vacant seats), resolves,
    “That there shall be an early parliamentary general election”.

    Neither of these are likely to apply.

    Reply I would recommend voting on an Article 50 letter as a confidence issue.

    • Nick
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Well, if your recommendation is possible, then the Fixed-term Parliament Act is toothless. Any Government, at any time could ‘engineer’ losing a vote in the house and tying a confidence issue to it. All the Act would have achieved is to change the mechanism for calling an election.
      If you are correct that Labour does not want an election and will not vote to trigger one, then, for the time being, the Government only has to add a ‘confidence’ clause to every bill to ensure it will pass.
      That sounds implausible.

  46. Toofunny
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    This legal action is probably frivolous. Unless Article 50 can somehow be presented as a direct money matter. But it is ironic. Brexiteers trumpet the sovereignty of the UK parliament. In fact, a lot of authority in the UK derives from Privy Council Orders, as presumably would invoking Article 50. The BBC for instance, who are only now being established on a statutory basis by an Act of Parliament. Many (but not all) Brexiteers are rabid monarchists, so do not mind this very considerable dilution of parliamentary sovereignty. Just so long as it is not those Europeans! Really, too funny.

    Reply We believe in the sovereignty of Parliament. If Parliament wanted a vote on Article 50 it would have one.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Parliamentarians had multiple opportunities to insist on taking control over the service of an Article 50 notice, but could never be bothered to do so. That’s over a period of thirteen years from when the legal substance of what is now Article 50 first appeared in the EU Constitution, right up to when both Houses were asked to pass the SI setting the referendum date having already been told in terms that if the people voted to leave the EU the government would implement their decision and trigger Article 50 forthwith without any further process in Parliament, and even beyond to when they saw the official government leaflet saying:

      “This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide.”

      There is a big difference between supporting Parliament as an institution, which in fact most parliamentarians have repeatedly failed to do over the past forty-odd years, and defending the present occupants of Parliament. Now the courts are in effect being asked to rescue those lazy and inattentive parliamentarians from the consequences of their own incompetence, at the expense of the people.

      • Andy
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        Totally agree with you. This whole ‘debate’ about Article 50 is utterly dishonest and really quite disgraceful. When Parliament passed the European Union Amendment Act 2008 they had every opportunity to restrict the Prerogative in regard to exercising this Article, as Parliament did with Article 49 Clauses 2-5. They did not do so. The maxim of the Law is ‘Qui tacit consentit’, so one has to assume that Parliament was content for the Crown to act in respect of Article 50 as it sees fit.

  47. Roy Grainger
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Hard to guess what the courts might decide, I note that one of the usages said he was confused by the government’s case which does not fill you with confidence. Simple solution, call a parliamentary vote on it and see how many of Corbyn’s MPs are willing to vote to terminate their own employment at the general election which would result if it were lost.

  48. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, it’s quite interesting to read beyond the headline here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/22/brexit-threat-to-british-banks

    “Brexit politicians are putting us on a fast track to financial jeopardy”

    The author, Anthony Browne of the BBA, writes that banks based in the UK are “keeping the continent afloat financially”, and “There is a consensus that the EU’s integrated financial market is one of its great success stories”, but “It is now at risk”.

    Why is that? Politicians, you see:

    “They seem keen to enter what will in effect be anti-trade negotiations. Normally in trade talks you start with barriers and each side negotiates to reduce them in order to increase trade. Here, we start with virtually no barriers and the negotiations will be about which barriers to put up. This economic irrationality is highlighted by the fact that while the EU27 governments are trying to reduce trade barriers with the US and Canada, they want to put up trade barriers with their biggest trading partner, the UK.”

    Hold on, I haven’t heard a single British politician saying he wants to erect trade barriers where at present there are none; that “economic irrationality” is coming exclusively from politicians in the other EU member states; so why does the headline try to lay the blame at the door of “Brexit politicians”?

    And the reason for their “economic irrationality” is nothing to do with trade, it is not that they feel the need to retaliate for some perceived economic wrong we have done them, it is simply that we wish to regain complete control over our immigration policy.

    That is why they are now threatening reprisals – economic sanctions, in effect, and in breach not only of the EU treaties but also wider “international law” – for our impudence and temerity in thinking that we, not they, nor anybody else, should decide who shall be allowed to come and live and and work and settle permanently in our country.

    Can any self-respecting sovereign nation willingly submit to that kind of bullying?

    • David Lister
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Denis,

      “They seem keen to enter what will in effect be anti-trade negotiations.”

      In the event of trading purely under WTO agreements with an extensive EU bilateral trade agreements or a FTA then it is surely the case that the UK will fall outside the EU Services Directive, Customs Union, Financial Services and Markets Act, .. and whatever other EU framework exists.

      So the outcome of the negotiations, regardless of how well-intentioned they may be from a UK perspective will lead to a high probability of greater trade barriers than exist today.

      ” I haven’t heard a single British politician saying he wants to erect trade barriers ”

      Of course not, this would be political suicide. But the consequence of increased trade barriers are unavoidable unless a miracle happens and a fully comprehensive FTA is agreed in 2 years.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 25, 2016 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        Where there is the political will there is almost invariably a legal way, and usually a practical way as well. If it is recognised that it will take time to complete some of the practical or administrative steps necessary for the full implementation of a treaty then the commonplace method to deal with that is by writing in transitional provisions.

        The problem is that leading politicians on the other side do not have appear to have the political will to ensure that the present trade flows between the UK and their countries will continue without any interruption or new impediment, on the contrary it seems their political will is to deliberately cause unnecessary disruption and inflict economic harm on us.

      • anon
        Posted October 25, 2016 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

        There is the likely possibility of lower tariffs on non eu trade.
        This will offset the cost push from the lower pound, if we exit quickly.
        Being kept in a fruitless faux negotiation is self harming, some may well intend that hoping for a re-vote.

  49. Hugh Rose
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    I agree entirely your sentiment as to the supremacy of Parliament but my intelligent lawyer friends excuse themselves by saying it is essential that the Government acts legally. I can accept this point.

    I am afraid the fact that there is scope for the courts to take any view on the legality of the Government’s planned course of action is largely down to the poor drafting of much UK legislation no doubt made even more unclear by the insertion of EU prevarication into it.

    There are many ill-intentioned people in parliament and the establishment who think they can circumvent or even reverse the clearly expressed will of the majority in the referendum by guile and delaying tactics. One hopes that British integrity will defeat their knavish tricks without the need to adopt sterner measures!

  50. SonOfYork
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    How can we have faith in a Parliament where the majority of MPs did not and still do not truly accept and support the views of the majority of those they were elected to represent. I think something like 400 constituencies voted to leave the EU, about 61% of the UK seats, and yet only about 160 MPs are thought to have supported Leave, about 24%.
    It would be niaive to believe that in a general election every constituency would be given a realistic choice between a viable Remain or Leave candidate.
    The current lack of representation does democracy a great disservice and the failure to deliver in this instance would change the relationship between parliament and the people forever.

  51. anon
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    The problem is the establishment who do not wish to implement the referendum result.

    Plans should be made which acknowledge these facts as they have been demonstrated by current inaction.

    This means that Parliament must assert its supremacy over the courts and the House of Lords in an overt way.
    This mean legislative action and directions to the courts and similar actions to reform and abolish the House of Lords.

    Mrs May should be looking for a new chancellor and a BOE chief up to the job. They are plainly not and are adding to uncertainty.

    • Nerwmania
      Posted October 23, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Given that the majority for Brexit was very small indeed and the polls are shifting away from the whole idea when you say the “establishment” you are probably also refferring to the majority of the country today .

      You are the establishment

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted October 24, 2016 at 5:28 am | Permalink

        The polls aren’t shifting away from the whole idea. Sorry about that.

  52. The High Road
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Off topic:
    We must make sure SNP Scotland gets it fair share of Calais refugees as Mrs Sturgeon keeps whining for.
    The good news is, many of them are already old enough to vote. The bad news is, they voted against the SNP in the Scottish Independence Referendum. To a man and to a woman they prefer England. It’s generally more flat and easier to pitch a plastic binbag tent.

  53. Duncan
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    Andrea Leadsom was even better than she ever was in performing/answering to questions. This time at a Select Committee, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.19 October 2016. The offer of her post seemed like a tough punishment. But she is doing very well so far.
    It seems inconceivable that despite pulling out of the last Tory Party Leadership contest, she will not pressed at some future date to change her mind. So efficient.
    http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/news-parliament-2015/work-of-defra-evidence-16-17/

    • rose
      Posted October 24, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      I also liked her speech at the conference very much. It got a bad press, naturally. Media still fighting the leadership contest as they are the referendum. The speech was available on the Spectator web-site for a day and then even disappeared from that. No trace of it now.

  54. Edward.
    Posted October 23, 2016 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    Given that the majority for Brexit was very small indeed and the polls are shifting away from the whole idea when you say the “establishment” you are probably also refferring to the majority of the country today .

    Some very idle speculation served on a platter of wishful thinking there, I deem.

    People are, some at any rate are far too careless if they somehow believe that, the English change their minds based on nebulous ephemera; on whimsy and supposition dressed up as economic prediction.

    Threats and promises, you cannot base your life on these, whatever the bankers and politicians tell us to “the City will be forever diminished!” and……… so what? British business thrives on circumstance, the necessity of adversity. Another idle threat though, is it not and if they think the grass will be greener in Frankfurt or Paris then, what small fluid ounce of intellectual capacity they have been credited with is ably demonstrated to have evaporated long ago.

    As we go into late Autumn, the torrent of disinformation becomes a blizzard but now is not the winter of our discontent – our minds are made up and we will stand by it: because we are right. Britain will become once again, a superlative sovereign nation and shining beacon of hope in a world hurrying, hurtling itself towards, a financial calamity which will define this age.
    Be aware, be free, be away from Brussels before the catastrophe submerges it forever.

  55. Iain Moore
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    It is my view that it was a big mistake by Mrs May to say that the devolved assemblies should have a say and influence in the Brexit negotiations. In doing so Mrs May agrees with Mrs Sturgeon that the country voted by regions, not as the UK. But if Mrs May is going to entertain arguments from Scotland , Wales and NI, on Brexit, who is she going to listen to on English views on Brexit?

  56. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    You have to face the fact that all sorts of political parties, businesses, national and international organisations want to reverse the result of the EU Referendum, either via another referendum or by forcing us to join the EEA.

    They include the LibDems, SNP, Sinn Fein, Plaid Cwmry, most of the Labour Party and some Conservatives, the House of Lords, incumbent big businesses that lobby the EU to protect them, the Bank of England, CBI, Chambers of Commerce, BBC, IMF, OECD, the American Democratic Party and that portion of the judiciary that makes a good living out of bringing cases to the European Courts.

    There needs to be a cleansing of the Augean stables and many of the necessary actions are within the power of the Prime Minister:
    – Ignore the Celtic nationalist parties
    – Encourage UKIP to unseat Labour MPs in the Midlands and the North
    – Issue new guidelines for the selection of Conservative candidates
    – Ask Her Majesty to create 500 Eurosceptic peers
    – Sack the Governor of the Bank of England
    – Impose her will on the Chancellor of the Exchequer
    – Review UK funding of the IMF and other international organisations
    – Ask for our maximum sovereign demands in EU negotiations

    Above all, rubbish Project Fear, which is now being played out in real time by the Governor of the Bank of England and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We don’t need monetary and fiscal incontinence to solve a non-existent problem. We just need to leave the EU.

  57. Vanessa
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    The court case looks to me to be a mechanism to bring the government down because they do not agree with OUR vote to leave the EU. But surely an easier way would be for MPs to give a vote of “no confidence” which would bring the government down – legitimately. Why go to court to bring a government down? They obviously want another referendum and a different outcome. This is the definition of STUPIDITY – doing something again and again and hoping for a different result !!!

  58. Androcles
    Posted October 24, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Tell me if I am being stupid but if we leave the EU our relationship with them will not be set in stone will it? Labour could put in their 2020 manifesto that they would agree to paying billions into the EU budget, accept EU court decisions and freedom of movement in exchange for membership of the single market. It makes me think that their posturing is an attempt to stop us leaving the EU rather than an acceptance of the referendum result.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page