Let Parliament vote for an Article 50 letter

The court case made for convoluted and anti democratic reading. The vote of the people was only mentioned at the end, and dismissed for no good reason as advisory. Did they not read the Hansards where the PM and other Ministers stressed the people were to decide? Did they not read the leaflets sent by the government to each household with Parliament’s approval and using public money voted by Parliament to pay for them? These leaflets all said we, the people, were making the decision.

Did the Judges not understand that Parliament can anytime if it wishes debate and vote on the Article 50 letter? It has been the choice of the Opposition not to do so.

I hope the government will now table a motion saying

“This House approves the sending of an Article 50 letter in accordance with the wishes of the people as expressed in the referendum, any judgement of the courts notwithstanding”

The government should then send the letter.

I would expect the motion to pass easily, as I cannot believe Labour will impose a 3 line whip to expressly go against the results of the referendum. If they did the government should still win the vote, given Labour rebels, some Northern Ireland MPs and most Conservatives voting for.

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  1. Posted November 4, 2016 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    We cannot begin negotiations until we invoke article 50 . I wonder how long they can delay this process . Who is trying to get in position for what?

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      It will have to be a Bill passed by both Houses and given Royal Assent to become an Act, as a motion passed just by MPs or even by both MPs and Lords would be open to another legal challenge as insufficient authorisation of the government to start a process which will lead to the removal of rights created by an Act, the European Communities Act 1972, at least on the interpretation accepted by the judges. A mere motion with a single vote by MPs, or MPs and peers, cannot defeat an Act which has been passed by multiple stages in both Houses and given Royal Assent.

      David Davis has already said the government presumes that is the case:

      “The judges have laid out what we can’t do and not exactly what we can do, but we are presuming it requires an Act of Parliament, therefore both Commons and Lords”

      And back in August Baroness Wheatcroft helpfully explained what she hoped her colleagues in the Lords would do with such a Bill:


      “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.”

      This is nothing to do with defending the sovereignty of Parliament, as claimed, and it is all to do with preventing our withdrawal from the EU.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Isn’t there something in the EU “contract” that if we are still “in” by a certain date – -then we are LOCKED in? – If i’m correct then they will just delay anything to do with leaving – and the end of England is on it’s way. Schengen wall removal demanded by the European ruler Merkel and our population increasing by millions of freeloaders per year. etc ed

      • Posted November 5, 2016 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        No, there isn’t, and publicly they want us to get on and leave as soon as possible. It is the Remoaners at home who want to keep us in.

      • Posted November 7, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Not yet but you can bet your bottom dollar that the next round of treaty changes to complete economic and monetary union as outlined in the Five Presidents’ Report will either remove Article 50 or limit it in time.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      I think it is clear we no longer need elections, if we do not like the result we get to vote again until we get what we want. I think the Lord Chief Justice should have recused himself from the proceedings based on his former role. Justice should be fare and be seen to be fare.

      Cameron said the notice would be served in Friday morning after the vote. Know you could not believe a word he said, this is why a lot of us wanted the notice served so the will of the people could not be ignored, distorted or turned over by insurgent greedy corrupt MPs. Is this part of the Teresa May plan of having to accept EU light. We read the Attorney General himself made an unusual appearance. Was he up to the job or under performed for some reason?

      Now is the opportunity to slash the number of lords. Not elected, we, the people, do not need them and think efficiency savings could be made for this high paid job for the boys by the boys Westminster club. Honours are no longer of any value since the honours for cash Blaire years. Even though I was not in favour for the system it appears on evidence of performance for the public, Hereditary peer system much better with better educated people acting on the people’s behalf.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      JR, I presume all the remain MPs, including Clarke, will be asking for a second referendum for Scotland. I note Brown, who was the most disliked PM in living memory, is crowing about riots in th north if leavers get their way. Why is he not saying instead that Scotland should not be held by its independence referendum and should be free? It was a narrow victory for remaining in the U.K. And he had no right to give away our taxes and make promis s and he dishonestly reneged on the promise over the Lisbon Treaty and hid behind a curtain to sign it! What right did have to sign away our rights without our permisssion on the understanding that we had a say in the matter?

  2. Posted November 4, 2016 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    The people are sovereign. My only worry about the referendum is that so many foreigners were allowed to vote. Other than that the people are sovereign over and above parliament, courts, the EU, and the queen. The people have decided. That’s it. Anyone in the public sector fighting against the will of the people should be kicked out.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Would that the people were rather more “sovereign”. One vote every five years for a least bad option. Endless politicians who say one thing while doing the complete opposite once elected. Cameron and Osborne as excellent examples of this (a low tax conservative at heart, cast iron, Eurosceptic – yea sure Dave).

      One referendum on the EU every 40 odd years and they only gave us that as Cameron thought he could slope the pitch, use government/Obam/Osborne and government lies to win it.

      No sensible MP recall system however badly they behave.

      People like Keith Vaz and Baroness Scotland all over the place and the voters can do nothing about it.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        If we were sovereign we certainly would not have Millennium domes, HS2, Hinkley C, green crap or other expensive nonsense.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      But the judges are saying the “people who know better” are sovereign.

      A financial commentator in the Guardian earlier this week christened the Redwood tendency “Brexit Bolsheviks”.Perhaps we should start living up to the name to show we mean business.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

        The Queen is sovereign.

  3. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Goodness you sound rattled!

    It is perfectly clear from the 2015 act that the referendum was never intended to serve as the final word. Indeed in our Parliamentary democracy it never could have. It was open to you to press to have it included in the 2015 Act that Parliament, or for that matter the government, should implement the outcome of the referendum by sending an Art 50 letter within, say, a month. But the Act has no such provision. It leaves it to Parliament to decide how to proceed. And that is no more, no less than what the High Court decided.

    You’re in danger of parodying the childish Brexit rage that anyone should ask questions about where the country is heading by suggesting a statute can be amended by reference to leaflets sent to households.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      Goodness me you sound smug !!

      I have a letter from the PM saying the government will implement the result of the referendum. That overrides anything a few Remoaner judges may decide as you will find.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Would you accept the result of a vote in Parliament?
      Or will you be saying I don’t like the wording of the motion and apply to the Courts again?

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      On the contrary, it was made clear to parliamentarians in both Houses that it would be taken as the final word, they had plenty of opportunities to object and stop the passage of the Bill, or even after that to stop the referendum being held, but they never did so. What the court has done is rescue lazy and inattentive parliamentarians from a consequence of their own incompetence, supposedly upholding the sovereignty of Parliament that parliamentarians themselves could not be bothered to defend – in fact many of them don’t believe in it, anyway – and this is being done at the expense of the people who were asked to make a decision and dutifully expressed their opinions in large numbers. In effect it is those 33 million people who voted, the many, who are being treated with contempt by the judges in defence of the 1400 present occupants of Parliament, the few, and even though only relatively small numbers of that 1400 have actually raised objections to the government doing what it promised the people it would do.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Sam Stoner – here, here!

      I voted to leave the EU, but I have no problem with yesterday’s High Court judgment. Having read it, I believe it is probably correct as a matter of constitutional law.

      The problem is that MPs (including those like our host, who wish to see Brexit happen) voted for an Act of Parliament (The European Union Referendum Act) which was inadequately drafted. A cynic might say it failed to do the blindingly obvious thing that was needed – include a section saying that the outcome of the referendum would be binding on Parliament – in order to provide the wriggle room that is now being exploited by those who do not wish us to leave.

      John R – don’t blame the judges for doing their job properly: blame MPs (including yourself) for voting for a dog’s dinner of a Referendum Act.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Sam Stoner

      As I see it MPs voted 6:1 in favour of a referendum that they would uphold whatever the result. None made clearer that Leave meant Leave than the Remain side (Project Fear) themselves.

      MPs should, therefore, vote as their constituents did in the referendum. A majority of around 400 MPs for passing the motion proposed by JR.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Sam ( not Uncle ) , you have underestimated the will of the people . They spoke clearly and with good legal warning . Democracy is stronger than the legal wrangling of 3 Judges .

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Are you saying that when the governemnt spent taxpayers’ money to send out a leaflet on 6 April 2016 it was lying to the British people when it wrote: “On Thursday, 23 June there will be a referendum. It’s your opportunity to decide if the UK remains in the European Union (EU)……The referendum on Thursday, 23 June is your chance to decide if we should remain in or leave the European Union.
      This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide.”?

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      I doubt if you would have been arguing that had Remain won.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Good luck with that attitude.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Not the case. We expected Cameron to serve the notice straight away as he stated on many occasions, including in parliament. No one expected, having had a referendum that the people’s will be ignored if the result is not what parliament liked. The Ken Clarke line holds no substance or water just the rankings of a loser.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Sam Stoner

      So you probably need to get someone to read you the governments position set out prior to the referendum. As like most of the remain snowflakes you havent got a clue. I’m really fed up up with left wing ludite , stuck in a rut conservatives trying to hang on to the past due to ignorance and a lack of innovation ability.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Childish Brexit rage? Oh boy, you remainers certainly have some nerve. There is only one faction who is being childish about Brexit, and that is the remain camp. Instead of accepting the democratic will of the British people, you try desperately to muddy the waters of what was a clear-cut choice of in, or out.

      In your arrogance, you thought the referendum was a done deal, and remain would win it, now you compound that arrogance by claiming it was non binding, the British people are too old, to stupid, too racist to understand what they were voting for, well I can tell you what I voted for: I voted for democracy (something the Soviet-style EU wouldn’t understand if it bit them on the bottom); I voted for real sovereignty for our elected parliament (not the confected concern that remainers now show since the Leave vote); I voted to reinstate our fishing industry; I voted for an end to mass-immigration, and I voted to try to save my country from the havoc and destruction that people like you, with pathetic sophistry that a child could see through, have visited upon it with no mandate from the people whatsoever.

      Treaty after treaty was signed to pass our sovereignty to Brussels without recourse to the British people after a treacherous Ted Heath lied us into the EEC. If it is now illegal to use executive powers to sign Article 50 then surely it was illegal to sign all those treaties using executive powers also.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      An English court, such as the High Court of Justice in England, has no right to issue directions to the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The courts ruling is an irrelevant self-indulgence.

      • Posted November 5, 2016 at 6:44 am | Permalink

        You are correct, bluedog.

        The ruling was issued to the government, not to Parliament.

        The court was protecting parliament form the over-mighty executive, fully in line with the history and tradition of this country, which – I thought – you Leavers believed in

  4. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    To add to your excellent piece above, your readers might want to review the pieces we’ve published overnight.

    One of these pieces quotes a debate where the then Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond states categorically that “It is the Government’s position that if the electorate give a clear decision in this referendum to leave, the Government will proceed to serve an article 50 notice; there will be no need for a further process in this House.” This message is repeated several times by him, and by the then Europe Minister David Lidington.

    We’ve also published the legal opinion of Lawyers for Britain, as well as a quick Bill we roughly drafted in the event that the Government’s legal advice insists that an Act rather than a simple motion is required.

    If your proposed motion is sufficient, then we strongly advocate an emergency debate on Monday, followed by an immedate invocation of the Article 50 clause of the Treaty on European Union. Your readers might note that we have advocated an immediate Article 50 letter since the Monday after the Referendum, to prevent anti-democratic elements doing exactly what they have now done.

    Comments from your readers are welcome on our website.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Indeed, did Cameron not promise he would serve the 50 notice straight away. Not that anyone sensible trusted a word he said by this stage.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, he said next day.


    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      It is a matter for concern that the government’s case was presented by an ex-Midlands criminal lawyer who had not been practising and who only became a QC on appointment. It was quite obvious that we were up against those who are deeply hostile to the right of the English people to decide their own destiny and were prepared to scrape the barrel in order find in support of their own xenophobic beliefs on behalf of those whose motivation was congruent.

      Perhaps if the government’s case had been presented by such as Martin Howe QC, the court would have been obliged to find differently. If the use of the Royal Perogative is only legal if underwritten by an Act of Parliament, then that, in effect, means that the Royal Perogative no longer has Constitutional legitimacy, in principle, even if as in this case, there is not actual change in the law involved.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      The sooner Article 50 is triggered the better. It is going to happen why procrastonate any further. Then the real negotiations can start. Lets get on with Leaving the EU before other countries beat us to it.

  5. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Indeed that is surely the best way to go.

    Alas the EUphile governments under Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron and Clegg have stuffed the judiciary, the lords, the legal profession and much of the state sector with dire, lefty EUphiles. The legal profession benefits a great deal from all the legal uncertainty and complexity that the appalling EU courts and legislation forces on to us. This comes at huge cost to the productive sector and efficiency. It was a clear attempt to thwart the will of the voters (who had been denied any say by the establishment for 41 years). It must not be allowed to suceed.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      Ken Clark has made his, “I know better than the public do mate”, position very clear.

      It seems given the tiny majority (the direct result of Cameron’s Libdim agenda) and the many people like Ken Clark that an early election may well still be needed. But how can the Tores rid itself of all the Libdems infesting it? Even the proven failures like Osborne are still hanging around.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        I am asking my Conservative MP , a Remainer ,what her views are now.

        Specifically does she support TM in triggering Article 50 asp.

        I will remind her that were the Referendum to have been held on a constituency basis, as the results were reported, she would have been out on her ear.
        In fact out of the 600 odd seats Leave would have won by 400 :200 .

        If a general election is called I will strive to have her de-selected.
        In fact it would be good to start the process now .

        • Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          If we had a proper right to recall not only she. It many more would be out on their ear.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        @LL; “But how can the Tores rid itself of all the Libdems infesting it?”

        Of course those who are not real Tories could always go off and form their own party, oh hang on, some tried doing that, they called it UKIP…

        Real Tories are people like, in the post WW2 era, Churchill, Eden, Macmillan and Douglas-Home – even Heath had at least some trappings of real Conservatism about him even if he did (like his Tory leadership successors) ride rough shod through consensus/inclusive politics at times.

        • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

          UKIP are real conservatives.

        • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

          Heath had his absurd wage controls, power cuts and the three day week. He was another tax borrow and piss down the drain merchant who took us into the “common market” without even asking the voters consent and was rightly booted out.

          Major & Cameron were also tax borrow and piss down the drain, green crap promoting, pro EU dopes. Though Cameron pretended not to be to win the job. They presided over piss poor and declining public services and open door immigration without any quality controls & combined with huge tax increases.

          Major never even had the grace to apologise for his predictable ERM fiasco and clearly has learned nothing from his appalling period in office. He buried the party for three plus terms with his incompetence.

          True there has been alot of dire lefty Tory PMs recently all were a disaster economically and at the ballet box too. Just not quite as bad as Labour can be.

          • Posted November 5, 2016 at 7:22 am | Permalink

            @getaheasd; @LL; You are entitled to your views just as you are entitled to try and re write historical facts (go read the Conservative manifestos since 1945). What you both claim as being real Conservatism is actually “Thatcherism”.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        At least Blaire had the foresight to change all selection procedures to influential positions so that lefty liberals would reach the top. Cameron had the chance to change this over the past 6 years and failed to do so casting on his heir’s wishes to infest the establishment with his own lefty liberal kind. There is no need of the Lib Dumbs they overwhelm the public sector.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        It took an American last night on QT to point out that every single institution in this country is on the same side – against the people.

  6. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Didn’t the people only decide on how to “advise” the government, knowing that this was an advisory referendum? Pity that this whole process now may take even longer!

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      We all received a brochure at taxpayers expense telling us the result would be implemented. Nothing advisory. Plain English.
      We have a very large 5th column amongst us and now they have put their heads above the parapet we can deal with them.

      • Posted November 5, 2016 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        Quite. Those who wish us to remain vassals of the EU are self-identifying themselves all the time. The important thing to do is remember who they are and act accordingly when considering who to support, vote for, have dealings with or buy from.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Suspect this was deliberate by Cameron and Osborne. Both the AV vote that no-one except Cleggie wanted and the Scottish Independence referendum were binding so why wasn’t the EU vote instead of just advisory? Obviously they were hedging their bets just in case the Great British public gave the answer they didn’t want.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Weasle words. Like ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit.

      In the run up to the referendum Leave were terrifying us with what would happen if we dared vote Leave. They didn’t tell us it was only ‘advisory’ then.

      The EU (and its supporters) have serious issues with democracy, which is why we want to leave it.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        “In the run up to the referendum Leave were terrifying us with what would happen if we dared vote Leave. They didn’t tell us it was only ‘advisory’ then.”

        Should read

        “In the run up to the referendum Remain were terrifying us with what would happen if we dared vote Leave. They didn’t tell us it was only ‘advisory’ then.”

        Now is not the time for sniding, PvL. Our country is dangerously divided and had the reverse situation been forced on Remainers there would be rioting by now.

        As it is I’m seriously considering stopping my BBC licence fee. If millions of us do it what can they do about it ?

        Let’s all pick and choose which parts of democracy we’ll ignore and which we’ll take notice of.

        • Posted November 6, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          Again you need to consider why you have not done so?

          Why the tax is constructed the way it is ? It seems to fund an establishment Pro EU agenda?

          Simply use catchup online services etc. When SKY etc ask you to resubscribe let them know why you cannot. Commercial pressures or new tech solutions will then follow if enough do this.

          I suspect most will not which is why we are where we are with the BBC.

          A 4 billion tax cut in the making.

          e.g. online streaming only stations. Simulcasts are a grey area and should probably be avoided to stay legal.

          Reply This site thinks tv users in the UK should pay their licence fee.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      It was no such thing.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      The government spent £9 million on an official leaflet delivered to every household explicitly saying:

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

      So, no, people did not vote on the basis that their decision was only advisory.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        So the Cameron government just failed to make the referendum legally binding?

        • Posted November 5, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          According to the court judgment the Cameron government had no legal authority to make that promise to the people.

      • Posted November 6, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        The government spent £9 million on an official leaflet delivered to every household explicitly saying:

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

        Correct. But the High Court ruled that this wording is unconstitutional as is your interpretation of this statement. It should have said “The government is committed to implement what you decide.”

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Peter VAN LEEUWEN .

      No . Previous referenda may have been advisory but this one was binding as Hm Govt explicitly made clear in the pamphlet sent to every household which you can find here on Hm Govt’s website :-


      Here are some extracts from it :-

      Quote 1 “On Thursday, 23rd June there will be a referendum. It’s your opportunity to decide if the UK remains in the European Union (EU).”

      Quote 2 “This is your chance to decide your own future and the future of the United Kingdom. It is important that you vote” .

      Quote 3 “The referendum on Thursday, 23rd June is your chance to decide if we should remain in or leave the European Union.”

      Quote 4 “This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide.”

      One could argue that the explicit commitment for the referendum result to be honoured came from Hm Govt rather than the whole of parliament but in your opinion , is it reasonable for Parliament or judges to now claim that the referendum was advisory in nature ?

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      It was not advisory nor portrayed as advisory when it was taken to parliament to let the people decide. Good try, again no substance in your blog.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        @Hope: Interesting to see you making yourself the judge over content. The real judges disagree with your assessment and what I read is also different:
        Ministers agreed, exactly six years ago, that referendums “cannot be legally binding” – which meant MPs and peers should decide “whether or not to take action” on the verdict given by voters.

        • Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

          This was subsequently changed by the above where MPs voted 6:1 to allow the public to decide. Poor try again.

          You better tell Sturgeon the Scottish refendum was advisory and it is not binding. I would love to stop hearing her whinging and make her face reality without taxes from the rest of the UK.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        From the £9M Referendum leaflet distributed to every household in the UK: couldn’t be clearer, could it?

        • Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

          The whole point is that the Government did not, and does not now, have the power to implement what you decided. Only Parliament can do that.

          What was written in the Referendum leaflet was wrong. It shouldn’t have been, and probably the government believed it was true, but (according to the High Court) it was not true.

          • Posted November 5, 2016 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

            The leaflet was not “wrong”, it presented us with a commitment by the government to implement our decision and it still needs to do that.

            The commitment did not state that they relied on royal prerogative or any other mechanism so the commitment, mandate and requirement to deliver still stands.

            There was always going to have to be parliamentary approval for the Great Repeal Bill so nothing has changed really.

            Actually, something has changed in that more anti-demos, pro-EU people are coming out of the woodwork and identifying themselves.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      The PM said this was our decision. What the people decided, the government would implement. He would trigger Article 50 the next day.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        What did the people decide exactly – do tell?

        • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:38 pm | Permalink


          “what did the people decide exactly.”

          To LEAVE, simples really, do not understand why anyone is trying to question it.

          Once we have left then we can negotiate what we would like.

          Would you like to trade with us with no tariffs, or would you prefer us to put a tax on them and make your goods more expensive.

          • Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

            Or better still, don’t negotiate: just offer them tariff free trade as we announce our departure. They will then have to agree amongst themselves to put on tariffs and other punishments and won’t be able to because Hungary might veto it. So tariff-free trade etc. will continue as at present.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        @rose: So much then for the trustworthiness of PMs!
        Why should your government fear its parliament? You see yourselves as a representative parliamentary democracy?

        • Posted November 4, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          A very good point: the present Parliament, elected with a First Past the Post system, does not ensure anything like a representative parliamentary democracy.

          So do I have to believe that the present PM, conscious of the fact above, does not want the Parliament to vote as, being unrepresentative, it would (possibly) not be helpful in bringing back sovereignty to the UK people and giving a green light to calling Art.50?

          In all cases, it is clear (to me at least) that, thanks to their disdain towards experts, constitutional ones in particular, and despite “big thinkers” like Hannan or JR , the whole Leave project (Gove, titanic Johnson, Farage) is in the hands of what seems to be rather mediocre people.

          • Posted November 5, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

            Gove said the British people had had enough of experts who always turned out to be wrong. The broadcaster, as is their custom, interrupted him mid-sentence so that it was misrepresented ever afterwards as “The British people have had enough of experts…”

        • Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

          Parliament is discussing Brexit almost every day in one way or another. They will have a huge opportunity to discuss Brexit when the Great Repeal Bill is presented.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

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

      A promise made, in print, to every household in the UK.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:30 pm | Permalink


  7. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    I see that the Paris climate change agreement comes into force today. Trump, for all his many faults, has sensibly said he will withdraw from it. T May should do the same and repeal the hugely damaging climate change act too. The sooner the better for our productivity that Hammond wants to improve.

    Needless to say the BBC had their climate alarmist team talking their usual unscientific drivel on the issue. Roger Harrabin (an English graduate) to the fore. Do these people really think the laws of physics will change if the government passes laws? Then again do they have the slightest clue about physics or energy engineering?

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      I wonder how you as seemingly a former engineering/physics/maths graduate can be so sure and be able to comment on all sorts of political questions. Are you such an expert?

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        More of an expert than most of our current batch of politicians, I suspect.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      The BBC has not one single scientist on their staff, reporting or editorial. As Dr John Whitehouse said to me (he left the BBC, having been their only science reporter who is a scientist), “They are not interested in science”.

      Sadly, the answers are, ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        Whoops, correction! “David Whitehouse” not John W. !

  8. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    I see this case goes next to the Supreme Court and then……to the ECJ. Perhaps the ECJ could just rule that it is ‘illegal’ for the UK to leave the EU at all.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Richard 1

      “Perhaps the ECJ……..”

      Nothing would surprise men at all, if it does go that far it actually proves that we can never be in charge of our own Country, politicians have given up that power.

      Once the legal system gets involved it always becomes very expensive, causes much frustration and delay and total confusion.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      That would be the best outcome then the peasants could revolt and bring down the whole corrupt edifice.
      I see trouble ahead as someone sang.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      I too would like JR to answer this point.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Perhaps the EU will do its bidding into domestic politics and get rid of May, as it has with Thatcher and more recently with Greece, and Italy. Also influencing Spain and recently with threats to Belgium. The EU dictatorship has large tentacles and is determined to become a super state. It does not like nation states, democracy, national parliaments it only wants the pretence that democracy exists. As Junker said when it gets tuff lie.

        • Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          The EU is only a subset of the supranational dictatorship.Hilary Clinton,for one,is fully onboard with their agenda.

          • Posted November 5, 2016 at 11:40 am | Permalink

            Yes, the implications of the US elections are huge for the UK, and Brexit. A Clinton win would, I believe, empower “the establishment” even more in their pursuit of the abolition of nations, and the establishment of a New World Order. The EU is part of that design, and the political elite and other globalists are all signed up to that. The rise of “populists” is huge significant, but they have a formidable task, as the American on QT indicated.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Quite likely but I they might not word it quite so transparently.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      Well, according to Lord Kilmuir at the time, it was illegal to join so illegal to leave would sort of balance it out.

  9. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    You say “I hope the government will now …. Surely not, for there is all the time in the world for more dithering, for letting matters slide, for allowing uncertainty whilst knaves sow confusion, for missing opportunities and discarding advantages, for risking the deliverance we have provided ourselves by the referendum outcome. And all that only costs us c. £850 million a month whereas what you propose is (naughtily) uncosted!

  10. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Get someone who is able to post on Order Order to link to above.
    Purely in the interest of sharing facts.
    also email papers via their handy have you got any news for us links.
    Comments sections of papers no good, too long.

  11. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    Well, well, what an absolute shower ! I have been saying this for years about refdrendums, unless they are legally binding, they are not worth the paper the promises are written on. The good news is, thanks to this ruling the SNP can never ceced from the UK without our approval. So, I wonder how they are hoing to vote ? 🙂

    This is what happens, yet again, when you fail to plan. I blame Cameron.

    So what now ?

    If the government do as our kind host suggests, and then loses, what then ?

    Do we just do nothing ?

    Do we dissove parliament ? Aparently thanks to The Parliament Act I do not think the PM can not even do that !

    What a bloody shambles. I am truly embarressed for my country – England. The other can go and join the EU.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Cheer up. We’ll get there in the end.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Thanks James, but I am cheery. This is another nail in the coffin of Representative Democracy. The more people who see this so called democracy we live as a sham, the more the cry will go out for a Swiss style Direct Democracy where the MP’s are compelled by law to enact the peoples decisions.

        • Posted November 4, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          Brexit will happen I am sure of it. Millions and I mean millions will march on London if needed.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      I can’t think of a decade in my lifetime, when the UK has been so badly managed, as it has been since the 2010 general election. The really depressing bit is there is no mechanism for the little people, to get their country back from the Westminster elite, never mind the EU.

      There is no way to even build a new democratic management system from street level up, that wouldn’t be strangled at birth by the vested interests of Westminster and the metropolitan elite they serve.

  12. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Trump to me seems rather dire. But the more I see of the endless daft lefties and luvvies found by the BBC to support Clinton and attack Trump rather pathetically, the more I feel I would have to hold my nose and vote for him.

    So is it worth a punt on him at 12/5 too? I cannot quite decide, but I do think rather more people will vote for him than will admit to supporting him when asked by pollsters.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Agree. I think Trump is probably polling a few points lower than his actual vote will be. I think he might win. I also think whichever one of them wins they’ll be impeached before the end of their first term.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      I got 7/2 last week 🙂 – wish I had taken 5/1 when I had the chance.
      I see a repeat of Brexit myself. He has the whole establishment and media against him just as Leave did. I think he is an awful man but if I had the vote I would give it to him as I believe he is the lesser of two evils.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Trump is going to win. Seriously. And this may not be quite such bad news as many people think.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        We have to think of this rather like A Sugar being PM. He’d basically be making the statements but others round him would decouple the nuclear button etc.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        Trump will win, and we should want him to win. He is half-British (his mother was Scottish). He has said that Britain will be at the front of the queue for a trade agreement; Mrs Clinton has reiterated Obama’s statement that Britain will be at the back of the queue. Obama has been the least pro-British US President in living memory, and Mrs Clinton’s views are identical to his. There will be no “special relationship” under a Mrs Clinton presidency.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Preferable to Clinton.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Also there is a lot of violence directed against Trump people so naturally they won’t divulge their intention. There was even a verbally violent explosion here against the American on QT last night who said he was going to vote for Trump.

  13. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    JR writes: “The vote of the people was only mentioned at the end, and dismissed for no good reason as advisory.”

    By way of comparison, let us read how the Queen’s Senior Correspondence Officer expresses Her Majesty’s position, as follows (emphases added):
    “[A]s a constitutional Sovereign, Her Majesty acts on the advice of her Ministers“.

    In other words, Her Majesty bows to the democratic will as expressed by her Ministers.

    How much more are the representatives of the people obliged to bow to the democratic will as expressed by the people themselves.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      Dear Kevin–Literally the only reason MP’s exist is that for centuries there was no other way to present wider opinions to the monarch. There is no magic to the opinions of MP’s, very far from it. In this day and age we can and should have many more referenda and of course they should be legally binding. A curse on Cameron for not, as he said he would, triggering immediately after the referendum. This business about March is ridiculous–God only knows what might happen by then. I don’t get the “advisory” nonsense at all–what was the point of all the hoohah about whether there should be a referendum and Parliament overwhelmingly agreeing to one if it meant so little. Our Constitution needs to be revised to cater for binding referenda.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Indeed. It seems to me outrageous that three unelected lawyers can overturn the will of the people so easily. Our membership of the EU is based on international treaties and, as such, can be altered or cancelled by the govt. If Parliament doesn’t like it, they can always seek a vote of no confidence in the govt. and, should they win, trigger an election.

      Nick Clegg on the prime Today spot this morning was crowing about how the remainers in the Commons and, worse still, the unelected Lords will be able to table endless amendments seeking to turn leaving into some sort of ‘soft Brexit’ presumably where we remain in the so-called single market by paying our full £10bn sub and allowing free access to all and sundry. That is not what we voted for.

  14. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Well that would make a nice short EDM to table Dr Redwood. Hopefully you will do this so we can see how many signatures it gathers, the chance for each MP to show his/her colours.

    • Posted November 5, 2016 at 12:20 am | Permalink

      I now note that there is EDM 648 allowing MPs to agree with the judgement, following earlier EDMs 573, 269, 243 (and tangentially 258).

      Will Dr Redwood (please) or any other Brexit supporter table an EDM to trigger A50 without the need for further legislation? Let us see how many MPs sign EDM 648 cf an alternative.

    • Posted November 6, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Would an EDM achieve anything? My understanding is either the government must win on appeal or an Act has to go through Parliament and the Lords.

  15. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Britain has sitting MPs and a former prime minister openly calling for Parliament to ignore the will of 17.4 million people.

    By the same token, why can’t the current Prime Minister just ignore the opinion of three?

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Exactly. Three unelected judges at that!

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      The figures before the referendum were –
      185 Con. 218 Lab, 54 SNP, 8LD, 14 misc. MP’s are Remainers
      138 Con, 10 Lab, 8DUP, 2 misc MP’s are for Brexit.
      479 for Remoan and 158 for Brexit.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        We’re starting to hear that some of the SNP MPs voted leave.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      Yes, I remember Mr R saying long before the referendum that he wouldn’t use Article 50. He would just repeal the 1972 Act and pass the EU legislation into British law.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Because for Art.50 to be legally recognised, it has to be in accordance with the leaving countries constitution. Once upon a time that was by repealing the ECA 1975. Today under the Lisbon Treaty it is Art.50.

      And as Rose pointed out, our kind host was not one for Art.50, but my, how has changed his position. 😉

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        I stand corrected: the opinion of four.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        Britain doesn’t actually have a constitution.

        • Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          We do not have a written Constitution. Our Constitution is the body of law, the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights.

          Oh, and what the Courts decide 😉

  16. Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    How many “Conservatives” do you think would not vote for such a motion, the party is still infested with remainiacs.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      They should vote according to their constituents’ choice in the referendum or resign.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      I doubt that any of them would vote it down as if it was lost it would then require a GE.

      Those Remainiacs who are sitting in constituencies where the public voted heavily to leave could well find themselves out of a job by springtime and that would never do.

  17. Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    According to the Daily Express: “ONE of the three judges who today ruled Article 50 must be triggered by Parliament founded a European law group working towards integration with Brussels.”

    Full article here: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/728460/Article-50-three-judges-blocked-Brexit

    If my understanding of legal proceedings is correct, it is normal for a judge with a personal interest in any case to rule himself out. I can’t help but wonder why it didn’t happen in this case. Certainly this alone would seem to give the government good grounds to appeal.

    The saddest part of this judgement is that it is one more nail in the coffin of trust between ordinary people and the establishment; a trust that honouring the Brexit vote would do much to heal.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      The point is whether Lord Thomas could be accused of a conflict of interest and potential lack of independence because of his involvement in EU legal matters. I think not and it is surely something which he would have considered carefully beforehand.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        If the Express is correct, he is the founder of a group which is actively seeking EU legal integration. I would say that’s a little bit more than mere ‘involvement in EU legal matters’.

        If I were seriously advocating for something, I would not consider myself a neutral party on that issue. By its very nature, advocacy requires a positive bias in favour of a certain outcome.

        Of course, the Express may be wrong or over-stating the case with regards to the judge. Such things do happen.

        • Posted November 5, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink

          On reflection, I think you are correct and that the LCJ should have disqualified himself.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Trust will be regained once we do get out. And we are going to get out – make no mistake about it. It may take a bit longer so what – we’ve waited 40 odd years for this a few more months is no problem.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Hi James,
        I wish I had your optimism and confidence about all this.
        But we don’t know what ‘out’ looks like ? (joke)

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        I share your hope, James 🙂

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      This is a point which occurred to me too. Pre-Blair, a judge would have declared this interest. I remember a judge even being barred from a case under Blair.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

        Indeed. So far as I know, that point has never wavered, regardless of who was PM. If it has been altered now, I wonder why?

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        He ought to have recused himself.

  18. Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for another sensible solution John. Let’s see if Mrs May and co have the sense to do it.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      If she doesn’t then we will know what the real agenda is.

  19. Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The judges started from the premise that Parliament is sovereign and went on to the constitutional principle that government cannot make or unmake laws. Only Parliament can do that. They further observed that an Article 50 letter would effectively involve unmaking EU-centred laws, and drew the conclusion that Parliament must be involved.

    The problem here, as Mr Redwood says, is that they paid scant attention to the referendum. They seemed to view it as a strange alien beast, a sort of grey squirrel in the constitutional woodland, a regrettable intruder probably better off shot.

    The judges are right: referendums are unconstitutional. This was their lordships’ opportunity to put them on a constitutional basis, and they missed it. The vote on June 23 may have been only advisory, but who can doubt that the people’s advice, solemnly and formally sought, should be and must be equivalent to an instruction.

    To the question of who calls the tune, the people’s representatives or the people themselves, there can be only one answer.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Indeed. The one answer is the people’s representatives. That Parliament is sovereign is the cornerstone of British democracy. I thought that was the heart of the case for leaving the EU?

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        What if they don’t represent the people?

      • Posted November 6, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        “the people are sovereign” always . In the past this it has been most likely pragmatic to do this through their elected representatives taking a decision made in good faith.

        If our ” representatives” seek a direct mandate to clarify this then the logic of instructing parliament to do what intends is rather pointless!

        Unless of course they think a delay may thwart the result of the public. If the judges think the above is the reason for the case being brought. The they should make law by ruling the referenda legally binding and instruct the letter be sent?

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      “The judges started from the premise that Parliament is sovereign”

      If so then they ignored the will of Parliament, as expressed when Parliament passed the Lisbon treaty , to place the Lisbon treaty beyond the ability of Parliament to interfere with it, that includes Article 50, and have been quite happy to nod through EU diktats under the Lisbon treaty. They had no problems with Parliament being unable to scrutiny legislation or exert its democratic will then.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      It is a legally arguable point even so, just sending the A50 letter doesn’t change any laws at all, I mean a possible outcome of the negotiations could be that we keep them all. Anyway the government conceded the point the Commons would have to approve the final deal which actually WILL relate to the laws which may or may not change. I wonder what the Supreme Court will say, I assume the newspaper headlines attacking the three judges today will be counter-productive, these establishment types stick together.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      The judgment explicitly dismisses the views of the electors as irrelevant to the point of law being decided, at paragraph 22:


      Quoting Dicey, from pre-referendum days:

      “The judges know nothing about any will of the people except in so far as that will is expressed by an Act of Parliament … “

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      The judges in the High Court of Justice in England have no jurisdiction over the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Yes, they can only interpret the law Parliament makes. They cannot instruct Parliament what to do. They seem to have been influenced by too much remainia – the religion which holds an alien court is supreme and can interfere more and more as the years go by.

        They should have thrown this case out as vexatious. And the Eurolegal expert should not have sat.

        • Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

          Sorry, Eurolegal activist, not expert.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        No, but they have jurisdiction over the government. Parliament may be above the law but HMG isn’t.

        I am sorry to see the vitriol poured out on these three judges. They specifically disclaim any political intent, and deserve to be believed.

        That said, I think their judgement is wrong because they argued from a false premise. In all manner of ways Parliament is not sovereign; it acknowledges as much by surrendering its powers every five years or so their true source, the people, at general elections, and humbly accepting the verdict of the poll.

        Similarly, by solemnly calling a referendum Parliament returned its sovereignty to source to answer a particular question which it felt incompetent to decide.

        In fact the sovereignty of Parliament is a real and live question among constitutional experts, by no means so decided as their lordships appear to think.

        The referendum, whatever its legal standing, is a political fact of which the law must take notice. That the court chose not to vitiates its judgement. HMG is right to appeal and I think it deserves to succeed.

        • Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

          By way of repetition, the High Court is an English court, not a court of the United Kingdom. By the same token, the High Court has no jurisdiction over the Government of the United Kingdom. If there were to be an English parliament, your point would be valid. But there is no English parliament.

          On the other hand the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is clearly empowered to rule:


          One suspects that the bench of the Supreme Court may not look kindly on the intrusion of the High Court into matters that are not within its remit.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Dear eeyore–Couldn’t agree more. It is easy to read that Brexiteers voted for the sovereignty of Parliament. Baloney: it was the sovereignty of the Country that prevailed and the people at large trump Parliament; and besides Parliament overwhelmingly voted to give the decision to the people. If these three Judges had had an ounce of common sense they would as you say have taken the opportunity to start bringing referenda in to our system of government. Makes the Walloons seem sensible.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      I’m sorry I can’t agree with your assertion that Government is not sovereign, Parliament is. The realpolitik is that Government (whether by party or coalition) is sovereign providing it commands a majority on any given legislation, motion, procedures etc. The majority only needs to be 1. No majority no rule. Strictly speaking, we do not have Parliamentary democracy, instead we have benign Government dictatorship, held to account, by and influenced by individual MP’s of the ruling party, opposition MP’s, the unelected House of Lords, historical constitutional precedent, the media, internet, and of course the electorate themselves.
      Ultimately it is the Parliamentary constituencies electorate who decide who will rule and who will oppose. The decision of the Judges and all, who are so lightly setting aside the clearly expressed will of a majority of referendum voters is a poison dagger to the very heart of UK democracy.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        The Queen, not Parliament, not the judges, is Sovereign. Hence her ministers have the executive power to exercise the Royal Prerogative. An Order in Council should do the trick. Lord Denning would have understood this and thrown the vexatious case out of court before it cost us anything.

  20. Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I admire your confidence John but this whole episode reeks of an Establishment stitch-up. Watching a range of media and commentator reactions last night I was struck by how often people said it’s not about if we invoke Article 50, it’s how. So what are the options? First Class or Second Class post? Email? On scented notepaper or Government letterhead?!

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      I’d be prepared to pay for a courier myself if the Diplomatic Bag is too full.

  21. Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    You speculate, JR, whether the judges looked at Hansard and read the leaflets but I wonder if it was their responsibility to root around to find such items. Regrettably it seems the fault lies with the presentation of the Government’s case and that insufficient preparation had been done in providing evidence and in directing the judges to the powers which parliament already has in the matter.

    The Government should have been a bit more “savvy” and indeed should now raise its game and show proper determination in forcing the issue. Your suggested procedure appears to fill the bill perfectly.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink


      “The Government should have been a bit more savvy…”

      Agree absolutely, should have made sure the Government stood on firm ground at the outset, but the then Prime minister did not want us to leave, so made no other plans other than to remain.

      Second fault was not to send the article 50 letter immediately, but to delay and cause further uncertainty and speculation.

      Finally the Governments legal advisors and representatives in Court have clearly failed to outline the case in a convincing manner, so are either incompetent with their advice or lacking in skill, which is all rather worrying.

      Why does this ruling not surprise me.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      Unless, of course, failure was part of the plan.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Where does common-sense come into your argument?

  22. Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Stop blaming the courts for upholding both the constitution and the very democracy Vote Leave etc called for, any problems are within the Tory party! There could have been the motion and vote you now suggest at any time since June 24th, even parliament recalled.

    As for the three line whips, the problem is not Labour instructing their MPs to vote Brexit down (as foolish as that might be), so what if they did, the government has a working majority, or should have, thus any problems are on the government side, how many europhile Tory MPs would defy their own whips…

    The reason why Mrs May is playing her cards so close is because she basically can not trust her own troops, europhiles to the left a and eurosceptics to the right, she is actually in a worse position that John Major was.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      I agree, Jerry. And we have a situation where “Remain” MP’s are representing “Leave” constituencies and vice-versa! So are MP’s to ignore their own constituents for what they see as the greater good? Should the vote not be debated? If “the people have spoken” is sacrosanct, what if a future referendum on, say, capital punishment, was voted for by “the people”, should it be re-introduced in the name of democracy? A mess has been created by DC that could take generations to sort out.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Hardly up holding our democracy when they seek to ignore the election which saw a Government returned with a mandate to hold a referendum, where Parliament voted for a referendum on a ratio of 6 to 1 , where that referendum was held supported by State sanctioned literature saying that they would implement the will of the people, which in any other walk of life would be considered a contract.

      Of course the judiciary have form here, where they sided with the EUphile cause when they denied us a referendum on the Lisbon treaty . So the judiciary have conspired to deny us a referendum on the EU, now seek to invalidate a referendum held on the EU.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Wrong ! She is in a far better position than, John Major.

      This parliament was elected on a manifesto promise to hold a referendum. The referendum was to decide our membership of the EU. Either we stay, or we go ! That simple. ALL MP’s knew this at the time of the GE. The government and the PM can hold ALL the MP’s to the promise that the will of the people, advisory or not, shall be enacted. She stood at the dispatch box and said as much, or was she lying ?

      She can then enforce, quite legitimately, a Three Line Whip. A Three Line Whip can have some pretty nasty outcomes for any MP. Go and check it out !

      The only weak link in all of this is, has the PM got the guts to face these people down ? My guess she hasn’t.

      But whatever happens, it is a win-win for me. 17.4 Million people cannot be wrong and many of those will happily wait their turn to bloody the nose of those who stand in their way.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      I seem unable to recall when the priveledged liberal class took Major or Blair to Court as they were in the process of handing soverign powers to Brussels.

      This is collusion by the gluttonous liberal elite, unable to cope with the thought the people dared defy these all knowing Apostles on earth.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

        Excellent comment Richard.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      If she is in that position, and only if, then it is because she hasn’t got the guts to do the right thing. There is still a chance she might do the right thing.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        @rose; I agree, but that ‘right thing to do’ is to allow Parliament to have their say on the timing (the “When”) if not also the terms (the “How”) of Brexit as the only mandate given by voters at the referendum is that if leaving -even more so after making a campaign point out of returning sovereignty and democracy to the UK Parliament – and at least one (now ex?) Conservative MP appears to agree this morning…

        Brexitears only have themselves to blame for this party and constitutional dogs breakfast and now they crying into their coffee cups, if that’s not mixing metaphors!

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Jerry – You are labouring under the misapprehension that May’s problems will be in the Commons. They won’t. They will be in the Lords where the Remoaners have a built-in majority and no jobs, voters, or democratic accountability to be concerned about.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

        @Roy Grainger; The Lords is a Strew man argument, they can not block, only delay and/or amend.

  23. Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    John – You say such a vote would pass in the Commons easily (agree) but would it need to pass in the Lords too ? That is more of a problem.

    I saw an interesting comment that if the referendum vote is arranged by constituency as if it were first-past-the-post then Leave wins in a landslide – something for Labour MPs to consider.

  24. Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Why is it a foreigner and a two bit plumber can over rule the people of this country, oh I know it’s because there all bloody southerners, well here’s news for you Londoners we up north won’t let you overturn the democratic vote of 17.4million, you think you are clever in bringing this case, well the remoaners MPs up here will be history at the next GE and no amount of bull like I agree with the vote of June 23rd will save them

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Well said.

  25. Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Reading an article, and I hope it is accurate it said that the Judges had to go back to presidents set in 1610 ( absolute Monarchy) and 1689 both before the act of Union, so I guess this only applies to England and Wales?

    • Posted November 5, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      They didn’t have to: they could have thrown this case out. Judges have no business telling Parliament what to do. Now look at the mess they have created.

  26. Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Time for a general election me thinks.

    Conservative Party Manifesto along the lines of.

    1. The Govt is empowered to proceed to leave the EU, invoke Article 50 and negotiate terms as needed. The people have spoken and vested interests and many MPs are seeking to frustrate the process against the will of their constituents and the English people who are the majority in the UK.

    2. Afterwards the House of Lords will be reduced in size to 300 by dismissing all of them and reappointing a Senate of proven sucessful people from all walks of life other than politics.

    All Conservative MPs to face reselection by their constituents, not Central Office to ensure they represent their constituents views on 1. and not their own views. MPs can have principles but not if their constituents don’t support them.
    We need a purge of placemen and of those in it for themselves who have or propose to sell out covertly to paying vested interests.

    As a bonus, Ken Clarke and others like Anna Soubry and strident remainiacs will go.
    “How about that it then?, “Whats not to like?” etc

    Our democracy is at stake because many of our MPs believe they have a right to rule and ignore the views of their employers the electorate. England has the majority of the elctorate but almost no voice. Too much is heard from Scotland who has 8% of the population but 50 MPs, these should be reduced in number to this percentage of the House of Commons. . UKIP got 4 million votes and no proper MPS etc etc.

  27. Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink


    You make it sound so easy.

    If it is as easy as you suggest, why have the Government messed about causing delay and confusion for months, which has done nothing but possible harm to our Country.

    “Could not organise a P..s up in a and Brewery” springs to mind.

  28. Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    The final vote should not be left to the MP’s…..They are not voting on the wishes of their constituents, who put them where they are…..My constituency, In north Lincolnshire was a large Brexit vote and yet our MP is a total Liebour Remainer….Therefore he will NOT represent his constituents fairly in this voting system…..The only way is a General Election……

  29. Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The judgment this afternoon was based on a technicality of law that in this instance, (condition 1), the Royal Prerogative could not run counter to a previous Act of Parliament (in this case the 1972 EC Act). It also notes that the unwritten constitutional understanding is that the Prerogative is only used in international matters of law (condition 2).

    So what’a the problem? Seeing as it’s a technicality centred on the EC Act, by repealing such Act (which is part of what the Great Repeal Act intends to do), Parliament will have severed the link between EU law making and our own. The Lisbon Treaty at that point becomes a matter of international law which does not affect domestic law (condition 2) and thereby the Government can enact Article 50 under Royal Prerogative. Since the EC Act would be repealed at this point, condition 1 under the High Court ruling also no longer applies.

    Get the Great Repeal Act through the Houses.
    EC Act no longer applies.
    Royal Prerogative can be used as it doesn’t overturn a previous decision from Parliament or interfere with domestic law.
    Invoke Article 50.

  30. Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Well I can’t see parliament voting for hard Brexit. That will be used as an excuse to vote it down and out. All this prolonged debating will put the country at further risk of a downturn as businesses and the people will be unsure what is going to happen. What a mess it has all turned out to be. I wonder if David Cameron is proud of himself for throwing the country to the wolves? Clegg, for one, has already said if Article 50 does not suit him he will vote against it.

  31. Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    How dare these political hacks go against the people? MP’s have for far too long thought they rule us. They pass their Acts and statutes and expect free men to obey their stupid rules that are designed to enrich the rich even further and impoverish us tax slaves. How clear is it now? Democracy is a total sham and always has been. We only get a vote if or masters think we’ll vote the right way and when we don’t it’s over ruled. If this vote overturns Brexit every man and woman should wake up and never vote again. Remove the legitimacy from Westminster and lets see the reality of Britain.

  32. Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    The ruling seems to beg the question, did Ted Heath (and his predecessors) seek the consent of Parliament BEFORE starting negotiations to joining the Common Market. If the answer is no then either everything that follows like the 1972 act are essentially null and void or it sets a precedent that the government does not actually need that consent.

    The Heath government used its prerogative power in negotiating an international treaty with the Common market that would effect the existing domestic rights and laws of UK citizens.

    • Posted November 5, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Heath lied to Parliament and the Cabinet. Did he also lie to the Queen?

  33. Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    JR, a motion passed by MPs would not be enough, in fact a motion passed by both Houses of Parliament would not be enough, it would need a full Bill passed by both Houses. If the government does what you suggest it would be straight back to the courts with the same complainants asking the judges to rule than a motion was not enough, and there can be little doubt that they would uphold that complaint, after yet more months of delay, and the government would then have to introduce a Bill to do the job properly.

    David Davis has already said that the presumption is that it will need an Act:


    “The judges have laid out what we can’t do and not exactly what we can do, but we are presuming it requires an Act of Parliament, therefore both Commons and Lords”

  34. Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    The court case says that an Act of Parliament is required which would likely take months to accomplish.

    It was a strong court and the judgement will be difficult to overturn. The claimants lawyers did a good job and out gunned the AG.

    Logic says the Govt should introduce a simple bill asap and not pin it’s hopes on better news from the Supreme Court.

  35. Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    If ultimately there is an attempt to delay or refuse to pass a bill on Article 50 by the House of Lords the Government could threaten to flood the Lords with new peers, as could have happened (with the approval of George V) in 1911 when die hard Tories were threatening to prevent the passing of the Parliament Act, but saw sense.

    Then, sooner rather than later, the Lords must be drastically reformed and become representative of everyone rather than loaded with superannuated politicians, favourites and peers who have purchased their titles. Quality rather than quantity.

  36. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I’m reading the text of yesterday’s ruling. It seems only fitting following project fear that the case for the Remainers was presented by a lawyer called “Pannick”.

  37. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Perhaps it’s time also for legislation dealing with the powers of judges. This is the second time this week that judges have got involved in parliamentary matters, earlier they were making rulings about pollution, telling the government to do more.
    This is Parliament’s job, not the courts and any MP can raise an issue at any time.

  38. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    (JR’s Article 50 Letter.) “Article 50 of the Treaty states clearly that “any member state may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.” In the case of the UK this means passing an Act of Parliament. The UK government has always confirmed when asked about the loss of sovereignty involved in EU membership that the UK Parliament remains sovereign because it can repeal the 1972 European Communities Act. The government is introducing a Bill to effect this change, and to transfer all EU law into UK law to provide immediate continuity.”

    The UK parliament remains sovereign, you say. Isn’t that what the Judges confirmed yesterday? How come all of a sudden you think the Sovereign’s royal prerogative, is more Sovereign than a Sovereign parliament? The referendum Act did not bind the government to do anything, the Judges acknowledged that. Going on about the referendum being the “will of the people” etc etc, does not make it law. Parliament deliberately did not make it law.

  39. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    The emotion and logic in today’s blog is very understandable ; the 3 Judges who made the decision had profiles suggesting bias in the first place . In any event it is NOT up to the High Court to tell Parliament and the people what to do ; we live in a democracy that is subject to the will of the majority , it is this process that the work of parliament s all about .

    Theresa now has to put the High Court in its place by re-designing the range of its authority , or if necessary , eliminating it altogether . If she ignores this route and the Supreme Court does not uphold her right to manage , she must go to the country for their decision . Time is not on her side and March looms close ; frankly I would ignore the Article 50 constraint , simply announce that we are “out” , stop our financial contribution and enjoy our freedom and right of independence . The EU will not like this but it will force them to face up to the inevitable .

    We must not be put in the position of having to debate and come to some agreement on what the terms of our negotiating position is ; it would simply result in stiffening opposition and prolonging the matter . It is clear that the EU would suffer most particularly those countries who export to us . Mutterings in Germany are already flashing up warning signals . I want to see a firm stand now from our leadership and a dogged support from we the voters .

  40. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    This is all the result of dithering, arising from lack of forward planning for the possibility of a ‘Leave’ vote.
    Article 50 should have been invoked immediately, with the government prepared to face a vote of no confidence.
    If Article 50 had thus been invoked, the action tested in the court as now, and ruled illegal, then the EU could/would have rejected it as not in accord with UK constitution.

    “this court does not question the importance of the referendum as a political event the significance of which will have to be assessed and taken into account elsewhere.”
    Presumably in Parliament, which sought the advice of the public, got it, and now must follow it. It is ironic that the concept of the Commons holding the Executive to account has come to look as though it is possible for MPs to hinder the Executive in its desire to implement the wishes of the majority of the MP’s constituents.

  41. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    When parliament passed the Referendum Act did this not indicate what actions would follow the vote. I know this is ‘only’ from a wikipedia entry but this does seem to suggest the ball’s in the government’s court.

    The act did not specify any specific consequences that would follow the result of the referendum. In the event of a “Leave” vote, the GOVERNMENT (my emphasis) would decide whether, when, and under what circumstances, the UK would invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union to begin a two-year process of negotiations for Britain to leave the EU.[10] European Union law would remain enforceable in the United Kingdom until or unless the European Communities Act 1972 were repealed.[7]

    When it says the “government” is this just loose terminology by wikipedia or is does the term “government” have the same equivalence as “parliament” in this context.

  42. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    In my view the policy proposed by Mr Redwood would not enable us to leave the EU, since Article 50 requires us to make the decision to leave the EU in accordance with our constitution. The phrase ” any judgement of the courts notwithstanding” gives authority to ignore the law, and that contravenes the Bill of Rights (“the pretended Power of Suspending of Laws or the Execution of Laws by Regall Authority without Consent of Parlyament is illegall”). The Article 50 letter would therefore be invalid and could be overturned.

    I think there needs to be an Act of Parliament to issue a valid Article 50 notification. A resolution by the Commons alone is not sufficient since that is not “the Consent of Parlyament” (unless the Parliament Act is invoked, and that would result in considerable delay).

  43. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I presume that should the motion fail in the commons then that would be a vote of no confidence and trigger a general election.
    What if it is voted down in the Lord’s?
    Please advise.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

      Invoke the Parliament Act.

    • Posted November 5, 2016 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      As the numbers in the Lords climb inexorably up to and past the 1000 mark, one hopes that popular outrage at this racket will force reform.

  44. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    The liberal elite did not challenge former Govts giving away sovereign powers to Brussels.

    This action is collusion on a grad scale, the arrogant Liberal elite determined to come together to subvert democracy. How dare the people defy the affronted, sanctimonious liberal masters, don’t they know thier place!

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Sorry John this second post was an error, I thought the first had not gone through,melesse delete one

  45. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Sadly, no real surprise yesterday. Since 24 June it has been clear that those who wanted to keep us in the EU were determined to thwart the will of the people and overturn the result of the referendum whilst at the same time pretend that they have no intention of preventing us leaving the EU. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

  46. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    This matter needs calm heads from the Leave side.
    When were parliamentarians told it was an ‘advisory referendum’ before the vote and by whom?
    The public was clearly told “This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide”.

    On another point, why on earth did the BBC not edit that lady from Great Ormond Street last night before she made a fool of herself. How any NHS worker, especially from an organisation that relies on public charity as well as government funding can say; One thing, the people who want to leave, I want them one day unfortunately, to have a child who needs that treatment and it won’t be there, is beyond me. It’s a good thing she’s not a gymnast!

  47. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Perhaps we should publish a list of MPs by constituency together with the referendum votes cast for and against?

    Seems to me that the vast majority of MPs if they voted down Article 50 would be going against the wishes of their own electorate who, laughably, they are supposed to represent…

  48. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Although IMHO your parliament has been sovereign in spite of the UK’s EU membership, Brexiteers always wanted their parliament to be seen and felt to be really sovereign. So why is there a problem now? Brexiteers not trusting their parliament? I believe it is because of deficiencies in your national system of democracy: An upper house which is not even elected (!) and a lower house which is not at all representative. Look at the outrageous discrepancy between popular vote percentages and MP seats awarded by the outdated “winner takes all” principle. FPTP may have seemed a good system some centuries ago, but the British must have already felt it wasn’t fit for purpose, as all the devolved parliaments have been established on a more proportional basis. While Brexiteers have tried to put blame on the EU for so many things, they also seem to have had a bit of a blind spot for what needs to be changed in their own system of democracy.

  49. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I said (along with many others) Article 50 should have been served straight after the referendum. Failure to do so would allow much underhanded skullduggery to see the ref, result overturned. It pains me to say ……. I told you so.

  50. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Coming at this from a different angle John, I read that alterations effecting us have been signed to treaties with the EU by previous governments using prerogative before. Does this judgement not set a precedent and call into question the validity of those action? Could a legal case not be brought to cast down some of these EU treaties that we apparently signed up to in the past? I would happily become part of a crowdfunding exercise to raise the funds . I am sure I am not alone.

  51. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Calm down everyone.

    1) The Government conceded that the referendum vote was advisory only. It was not argued that there was a legitimate expectation that the vote would mandate the Government to act in accordance with the result. (I have to confess that I thought that that was exactly what we were voting for, however.)

    2) We should celebrate the fact that we live in a country where no one, not even the government is above the law. It is a very special thing. There are not many countries in the world where this is so. It is why we have a sovereign and supreme Parliament – to control the executive. In times past it was the Crown. Today it is the government. We have to remember the ministers of state are the Queen’s ministers; that is why we have the Queen’s Speech, “My Government will … etc.”

    3) We campaigned to take back control from Europe for ourselves; to be able to do it our way. That is what is happening.

    4) Don’t appeal this ruling.

    5) Introduce a one clause Bill into Parliament expressly empowering the Government to give effect to the referendum result and to do all things necessary to achieve that end.

    6) If that Bill does not pass, then immediately go to the country on a manifesto seeking promising to do just that. This will mean that the House of Lords cannot block the Bill referred to above.

    All that has occurred is that the High Court was asked to rule on whether the Government had power to exercise Crown Prerogative to give notice under Article 50. The Government agreed that the High Court had jurisdiction to consider the point. It was not argued that the High Court had not power to do so. The High Court has ruled. It is essential to the rule of law that politicians, and government ministers in particular, accept the result of the courts. If you undermine the judicial system, you undermine our constitutional settlement. It is famously unwritten, but it has served us very well for centuries.

    Personally, I do not think that the Government would fail to get the Bill through Parliament. Labour has made it clear that it accepts the result of the referendum. I suspect that Labour has no appetite for a general election at present as well. The Bill would pass the House of Commons. Do we really think that the unelected House of Lords would refuse to recognise the result of the referendum? If it did, it is likely to provoke a different constitutional crisis. Parliament has to respect the referendum. In the same way that it is dangerous to undermine the judgement of the court; if it is perceived that democratic votes can be ignored because we do not like the result, why, as John Redwood asked in response to Blair’s intervention last week, should any of us accept a General Election result we did not like?

    • Posted November 5, 2016 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

      A useful perspective and I am inclined to agree with point 4, why appeal when it will simply delay things and supports the disruptive intent who brought the High Court action. Instead, just accept the situation and pursue a bill solely to give notice under Article 50. Then focus on the Great Repeal Bill and subsequent instruments

  52. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I have not actually read the judgement nor am I familiar with the intricacies of parliamentary procedure so I can only offer my perception of what is going on.

    My perception is that the action was taken by interests who want to overturn the referendum result. They are aided and abetted by many MPs and by many members of the House of Lords who share the same view. The Supreme Court will, I trust, take a wider view of the situation than that taken by the lower court and come to a different judgement. Otherwise I will conclude, as in the original referendum when we were assured it was just about trade and not sovereignty, and as with the Lisbon treaty when we were assured there would be a referendum and it was denied, that the political establishment is absolutely not to be trusted.

  53. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Feeling the strain? There are two separate issues.

    There is clearly a big push by vested interests to overturn the referendum result by any means possible. Spearheaded by that mother of all anti-democratic institutions, the BBC.

    But yesterday’s High Court judgement really is not part of this. There is no dispute about the Crown’s right to conduct international negotiations. But Davis appears to want to include overturning domestic legislation within this right. Unsurprisingly, the High Court rejected this. Rather than saying that Article 50 negotiations would follow their course, the Attorney General agreed that they made changes to domestic legal rights inevitable. It is checkmate on that one. Davis wanted too strong a hand in negotiations and has come unstuck.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

      As I understand it, enactment of EU law only has validity in the UK by virtue of being enacted in UK law: where such laws have been enacted in the UK, they will need to be repealed if at all through Parliament, and no-one is suggesting otherwise. Where there is EU law that has not been transposed to UK law, the fact that it may fail to be transposed since we are leaving will not alter domestic rights at all.

  54. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    So referenda are purely advisory. If this is the case and I don’t doubt Mr. K. Clarke with has background as a lawyer then why did no one tell us this before 23rd June. I do recall the good Europhile saying he didn’t like referenda because the electorate took the advice of the last man speaking before they cast their vote.

    The above is at odds with this from Mr. Cameron. – ‘your vote in this referendum is probably the most important political vote you will make in your lifetime’. No mention of being advisory here. And why would the then PM spend £9 million of taxpayers money on a lengthy booklet setting ou the positives for Remain, plus all the rest just to seek advice. Surely Mori or UGov. could have done this for a fraction of the cost.

    It’s pretty hard to believe a Con. government could have got us into this mess by not having a Plan B should the electorate return a Leave majority. Perhaps the mess is Plan B!

  55. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Can the motion be made a matter of confidence so that failure to pass triggers a general election? How quickly could a short manifesto be put together which commits a subsequent Conservative government to triggering Article 50 immediately (or at the discretion of the government)? How short could the campaign period be made? Could this be done and dusted before Christmas so that we go into the New Year with the uncertainty out of the way and ready to get on with things?

  56. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Every time the Remainiacs whinge about wanting the right to determine the government’s negotiating position, the stock answer from ministers should be that the government’s need for secrecy is no different to what the EU itself does for agreements such as TTIP.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t it because of such secrecy that many want to leave? Your argument is about as sensible as taking the issue of British parliamentary sovereignty top the European Court of Justice.

  57. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    John Redwood MP, this is good reading.

    To say I am deeply distressed by the Court ruling about Brexit, Article 50, would be an understatement. We the people we’re giving the opportunity to vote, we did, and won by a majority. The people’s will must prevail otherwise, Parliament will never be trusted again.

    The People are now hoping that politicians like you help to ensure that Article 50 is triggered and a smooth removal from the EU occurs.

  58. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Dr JR, as this writer understands it the ruling was made by a court calling itself the High Court of Justice in England. But not, note, in the United Kingdom. It follows that an English court is simply ultra vires in giving directions to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which is the entity this impertinent irrelevance seeks to direct. To emphasise the point, how would Mrs May react if a Scottish court had issued the ruling? The answer is with utter contempt. An English court deserves the same response.

    As this writer continually explains, the only hope for the UK, whether in or out of the EU is a properly devised federal constitution that allows for an English parliament. Thanks to Blair the UK is a quasi or part federation. It is time to go the whole hog so more time is not wasted listening to a bench that fails to understand the limits to its own jurisdiction.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      The English High Court’ ruling suits Scotland so there won’t be any complaints there.
      Our writer, if you mean JR, does not sadly propose an English Parliament. If only!

      • Posted November 5, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Our writer, if you mean JR, does not sadly propose an English Parliament. If only!’

        Quite right. The current situation is effectively an exercise in being slightly pregnant – always unconvincing. There are two options, firstly return to a unitary state by repealing the devolution Acts, and watch Scotland descend into civil war. Or, set up a proper federation so that everyone knows where they stand. The current constitutional arrangements do not make for strong and predictable government, as we can see from the bizarre ruling by a subordinate English court on a UK matter. Risible.

  59. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Drafting your motion in those terms, with the clear implication that you do not believe in the rule of law, is likely to make it difficult to pass either House.

    Since you focus on Article 50 and ignore the very cogent argument in the judgement about how rights are conferred under the ECA and how they may be removed, your letter and your article seem to me to suffer a fundamental defect.

  60. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Our plan of action:
    We will let you decide whether to stay in
    or leave the EU
    We will legislate in the first session of the next Parliament
    for an in-out referendum to be held on Britain’s
    membership of the EU before the end of 2017� We will
    negotiate a new settlement for Britain in the EU
    � And then
    we will ask the British people whether they want to stay
    in on this basis, or leave
    � We will honour the result of the
    referendum, whatever the outcome
    �This is from the 2015 conservative manifesto, so honour it and invoke article 50 now because the people have instructed you to, so do it

  61. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Yesterday afternoon I saw interviews with a smirking David Lammy and Nicola Sturgeon plus others which made me want to vomit. How can they have the audacity to call themselves democratic, when we know what they are upto.
    3 Europhile lefty judges have thrown this country into a bloody political mess. However, the ultimate responsibility for this shambles MUST lie with David Cameron’s broken promise to trigger A50 and Theresa May for her unbelievable dithering.
    Theresa May and all MP’s regardless of party politics must now get a grip and enact the will of we the Sovereign people because if the will of the people is denied then this country is heading for a very dark and dangerous place.

  62. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    The court decision is disturbing also is the reason the case was brought. The judges are undermining the democratic process and the petitioners are cynically attempting to undermining Brexit. There is no exercise in establishing a principle here it is in fact unprincipled acts being played out.

    Naturally I am angry because I am a fervent Brexiteer and despise anyone who does anything to sabotage Brexit. However a calmer appraisal tells me that if leave had lost the vote if we had reverted to the same tactics as remainers to overturn that vote their outrage would be equal to ours probably more so than ours is now. The SNP and Nicola Sturgeon who is of the same ilk(delusional, authoritarian and suffer muddled hypocritical thinking) as remainers is a prime example of this type of reaction.

    Once again you have come up with an eminently practical solution(on the face of it) that would avoid the pitfalls that remainers were hoping from the court judgement to cause Theresa May and Brexiteers to become trapped in. I can imagine the outrage and annoyance of the remainers if your solution is presented to parliament. I hope it works but I can imagine they will use the same argument of lack of scrutiny and file many amendments so it may not. Being obstructive as Gandhi showed can be a very powerful weapon. One no one yet has found a way to counter without considerable compromise. Compromise is not a position Brexiteers can easily take either as that will undermine many of the objectives of Brexit.

  63. Posted November 4, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    The problem with your argument is that, if you look closely at the judgment, it seems to be saying that nothing short of a full-blown statute can permit Art.50 to be invoked. Hence the argument about existing statutory rights emanating from the European Communities Act, the lack of any power in the Crown to rule by decree, etc.

    I entirely agree this doesn’t make sense. It would be perfectly possible to say that the Crown can invoke Art.50 and leave the effect of this on existing statutory rights to another day. All we can do is hope that the Supreme Court (which has some very good people on it) will take this point.

  64. Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    John Redwood.

    I’m pretty sure that prior to a match between Arsenal and Man Utd, Jose Mourinho would would be vehemently opposed to any suggestion that Arsene Wenger be allowed into the ManU dressing room before the match or during the H-T interval.

    Similarly, it’s ridiculous that parliament debates the UKs negotiating position in front of the eyes of the world (including the EU).

    Is it possible, therefore, that any such debate be conducted behind closed doors, i.e. without TV or press in attendance.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      But the PM should tell us what Brexit looks like. She seems to be able to tell car Japanese companies what it involves but not Parliament.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        You know what it looks like Ian, Cameron, Osborne, Clegg and all the big players allowed endlessly on the BBC told us we would have to leave the Single Market.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        This is a typical remainiac obsession.
        WE know what it looks like, taking back control of our borders, ending the Free movement of people, restoring our soveriegnty over laws and our money. The only negotiating stance required is on the best possible hopefully tarriff free ACCESS to the single market. Anything less is NOT leaving the EU.

  65. Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Looking through the Electoral Commission results for the Referendum , shows that of the 381 voting regions 264 voted leave.

    That means if almost 69% of MPs voted as their constituents did in the Referendum then the Article 50 issue should be easily won by the Leavers.

    An interesting anomaly is Wokingham which voted to Remain…of course the vote is/was national, but referring it back to Parliament does tend to make it constituency based

    Reply Wokingham Borough voted to Remain – that includes parts of Maidenhead and Bracknell constituencies. My constituency also includes parts of West Berkshire and voted roughly 50/50 according to my estimates.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      And Jacob Rees Mogg says his vote was infected by Bath.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Bracknell and Windsor constituencies both voted Leave,
      although Philip Lee, representing Bracknell is a Remainer. Adam Afriyie, Windsor, supports Leave.

  66. Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    The fundamental constitutional principle in the UK is parliamentary sovereignty. Political sovereignty rests in the Queen in Parliament. This is the principle that you Brexiteers were championing – what is wrong with the Court recognizing this principle and saying that only Parliament can effect a Brexit by passing a Great Repeal Bill which then receives Royal Assent?

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Because our Prime Minister David Cameron mislead us, he told us in this issue the decision was ours ‘the people’ I actually wonder if we can sue him personally for the cost of all this.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      We are not discussing the Great repeal Bill (which will be debated in Parliament ) but the triggering of Article 50 which only sets in motion the UK leaving the EU.

      • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        By passing the Great Repeal Act, the EC Act 1972 on which this High Court judgment centres, ceases to be an issue. Parliamentary sovereignty restored, constitutional crisis averted, Royal Prerogative used to invoke Article 50 – all without asking Parliament on the terms of exit. If they can use technicalities to win an argument, so can we.

  67. Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    The picture of wigged and gowned human beings.I know not what punishment befits the crime of making them dress up like that. I suppose it depends on the amount of violence, compulsion. Maybe threats to others who they hold dear. Perchance they have been blackmailed for some publicy unknown embarrassing yet non-criminal transgression in their private lives.We should step above such outrage. When they go low, we must go high.

  68. Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    That a another fine mess you ve got me into olly.

  69. Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Oh c,mon, the hurt feelings of Remainder MPs have been humoured quite enough.Enough now. Their charges that “the country is deeply divided” +++”millions of people who voted Remain feel utterly betrayed as do those who voted to leave”+++”we need to scrutinise Brexit negotiations in Parliament” are NOT supported by their electorates.Nor are they supported by anyone else’s electorates.

    It’s fine listening and watching BBC Question Time and watching other political activist discussion/debate shows. But normal people are normal. Not like them. Yes it is on a par with Brexit means Brexit.
    Only political activists on every level who lost the referendum do not understand the meaning of Brexit. Normal people understand the meaning of Brexit, without prompting, as much as they WISH to understand it. You can angle, fry and then eat fish without writing a PhD thesis on the innards of watery creatures. The Vote was cast. There was a result. It really is time for Mrs May to say to Remainders in Parliament: Oh do grow up, the decision has been made by the British people, now behave yourselves.The parrot is dead! And answer in the same manner when they continue being naughty. Their electorates laugh at them but the joke is overly-known

  70. Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    The people are sovereign. Once every five years we cede that sovereignty to our elected Members of Parliament. The Conservatives pledged in their manifesto before the 2015 election that a referendum would be held on membership of the European Union and the government would implement the wishes of the people. In effect, they ceded their sovereignty back to us. The government has a mandate from the people to implement that manifesto pledge to honour their decision.

    I write as a reluctant Remainer who would, in any subsequent referendum, vote Leave.

  71. Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    The MP Stephen Kinnock of Aberavon responded yesterday on the telly to a broadcaster saying his work may result in an early General Election ” Bring it on! ”
    Mr Kinnock had quite voting majority in the last General Election but his constituents and those of their family and friends surrounding his Electoral patch are Eurosceptic and much more so now, we’ve done polls.
    Aberavon is ripe for a change of MP . The 10,000 majority was based on a vote for what was thought a proper Member of the British Parliament not a worshipper of a foreign one completely alien to Wales.

  72. Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    If the Houses of Commons and Lords want something to argue over I am sure Mrs May can find something.
    Once this letter motion is done and dusted they may get on with a detail.
    Many are arguing that Britain should remain in the EU single market, but the costs of compliance with the European Customs Union are now punitive and must be avoided. She must report that and set it aside.
    Let them debate immigration from the rest of the world, the shortage of qualified nurses or prison officers. Remind them this country’s favourite meal is still Chicken Tikka Masala.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      ‘must be avoided’ is simply your opinion. There is no mandate for your opinion.

  73. Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    It seems to me in regard to Article 50 that it is an absolutely unique non-bureaucratic EU procedure. Does not figure. There must be ways of leaving the EU other than its being signed at all.
    What are they?

    • Posted November 5, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Just write a letter to Mr Tusk giving notice of intention to leave and then repeal 1972 Act and pass EU legislation into British law. Parliament can then debate which bits to keep at its leisure. So the technicality of Tony’s Learned Cronies is redundant.

  74. Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    “We the people” has no legal basis in the UK – sovereignty resides in parliament, not in “We the people”.
    The government had the opportunity to legislate that sovereignty resides in the people when a referendum is held, but chose not to do so, so this mess is entirely of its own making.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      They thought they were going to win, so no preparations were made in any way. They were totally floored when the result came out. Arrogance on the grandest scale, the posh boys could not conceive that their ‘right to govern’ could be challenged by the great unwashed and now they are paying the price (in political terms, cash wise they are quids in).

  75. Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    I have now read the judgement. As you say it is dismissive of the referendum result. It seems to me that the Supreme Court should take a less blinkered view of the referendum, paying attention to what the advocates on both sides said at the time and how that now informs the government’s use of the Royal Prerogative. It is not some arbitrary use. Its proposed use in this instance reflects the will of the people expressed in a referendum for one express purpose – whether to remain in or leave the EU. If Parliament continues to obstruct then the next step is a general election on this issue.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      The judgement is not “dismissive of the referendum result”. The result of the referendum was not what this case was about, the result was not challenged in the case and the result is therefore irrelevant to this ruling.

      The ruling is about whether the government followed the processes it laid out in law for implementing the result of the referendum, and the government has been found guilty of not following the processes they themselves legislated for.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      And if the government prevail and the Supreme Court says they can invoke Art.50, I expect the Remainiacs to take this to the ECJ.

      More delaying tactics.

      Just go for a vote with a Three Line Whip and the treat of a GE.

  76. Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Would John Redwood support any sort of Brexit? For example, if May decided to compromise would Redwood support any and all compromise that she wanted to make? Would he drop any demands over ‘Free Movement’ should May decide to be more flexible?

    If the answer is ‘no’ why should others support any sort of unspecified Brexit that our unelected PM decides upon?

    It seems to me that the Brexiteers such as Redwood want to do whatever they want to do and do not want to let the rest of us in on their plans. Bret means whatever they want it to mean and they claim some sort of mandate for whatever they want.

    Reply I have been very clear about Brexit – it means taking back control over our laws and money, and that is what I expect the PM to do.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:49 pm | Permalink


      Reply I have been very clear about Brexit – it means taking back control over our laws and money, and that is what I expect the PM to do.

      I think that is what most of want also John. We voted to come out of the EU and that was made plainly clear during the lead up to the referendum. I don’t see how people can now say they didn’t realise we would leave it all. I don’t want Brussels to have any say in our country and I don’t want to continue paying the EU for the privilege either.

  77. Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    The way this is going it is becoming more and more necessary to declare Article 50 as soon as possible before the Remainers do even more damage.

    Can’t a consortium of Brexiteer MPs led by our host table the motion on Monday ?

    The Lords should be no problem as Mrs May can let it be known that she is prepared to appoint however many supportive Peers as is necessary to get the entire Brexit process through the house.

    As for Clegg’s intervention this morning, he is being completely disingenuous is suggesting that we did not vote for “Hard Brexit”.

    We very clearly voted for an end to FOM, interference from the European Court and Budget contributions plus the freedom to make our own trade deals with the rest of the world.

    The campaign was entirely based on these four principles and they will inevitably be Mrs May’s Red Lines.

    In the terms that are being bandied about, that’s Hard Brexit and on the basis of what Merkel and Juncker told Cameron, in no uncertain terms before the referendum campaign, it has always meant we will be outside the so-called single market and the Customs Union.

    Nobody is being honest enough to point out that it is up to the 27 to either accept or reject a proposition on that basis and continue with Tariff-free trade.

  78. Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    The 171 rebel Labour MPs , those with big rock solid majorities, have a vested interest in triggering a General Election. They believe as many outside their dishonourable number, that Corbyn will face a humiliating defeat. This will bring them back to the fore of the Labour Party. They hope and wish upon a treetrunk about it.
    So they will push against the Will of the British people and hope to Hearne for “defeat”

    Mrs May should not be afraid to call an election now. The Labour Party and the 171 will be wiped out. UKIP is not strong enough to challenge. It will be a liberation for many of us in rock solid Labour areas where a vote for anything but thick Labour is a wasted vote.

  79. Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I agree entirely. If the Government sent the letter anyway without the consent of Parliament what sanctions could be applied and to whom ?

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      The EU would claim it was issued without legal authority and refuse to agree that the two year negotiating period had commenced, refusing to negotiate; then what?

  80. Posted November 4, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Life in the argumentum-terrarium of EU or not EU. Fascinating. Of course, except for the party goers,utterly tiresome.

    Just think what Parliament would have done and those Court wig-ed Bald-ricks if the great British people had scrawled more than one “X” on a bit of paper. Revolution! Country gorn to the dawgs!

    Time for some MPs to seek career advice. If they cannot manage one tiny “X” in their otherwise feigned democracy then heaven help them . They are flapping about as though their beer money were on fire and the chavs would ever-ever-ever get the chance of a real “X” ever-ever-ever again.

  81. Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    The whole situation is a shambles.

    What the judgment says is this:

    1) The Royal Prerogative cannot be used to change domestic law and operates on the international plane only. To the extent that an international plane exercise of the RP changes domestic law an Act of Parliament is required, because only Parliament can change domestic law.

    2) The government cannot use the RP to give Art 50 Notice because it as agreed that the giving of Notice inevitably leads to exiting the EU; AND

    3) By exiting the EU rights of individuals enjoyed as a result of domestic legislation would be removed and therefore domestic law would be changed.

    What are these domestic law rights? Well, and here’s the kicker – they ARE ALL EU RIGHTS.

    They are:

    i) right to refer legal disputes to the ECJ;
    ii) right to freedom of movement/capital/freedom of establishment;
    iii) right to stand for election as an MEP;
    iv) right to vote in European elections;
    v) right to seek regulatory action from the EU Commission (environment/competition, etc.)

    And so our Courts, at great cost in time, money and further Brexit uncertainty have ruled that:

    Even though we, the people, have voted to Leave the EU and give up ALL of the above EU rights – our government cannot give Notice to leave the EU (thus giving the EU Notice of our democratic decision) because we will lose the rights by doing so – the ones that we 4 months ago voted to give up.

    Who was it who said the law is an ass?

    • Posted November 5, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Yes, and the reality is that those EU rights have not been “created” by Parliament as claimed and as accepted by the judges, but by the government in agreement with other governments, acting under Royal Prerogative, while Parliament’s role has only been to make the necessary adjustments to our domestic law.

  82. Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Why doesn’t the media show the downturn in the FTSE100.FTSE250 and Aim today and attribute it to the Court verdict on Brexit? The Remainers having brought Uncertainty? Where’s s the BBC Business commentator with his really big pencil pointing at a one line diagram visual aid? First pointing to the top and then pointing to the bottom and then giving a profound worried frown? Miss him, so we do.

  83. Posted November 4, 2016 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    “The court case made for convoluted and anti democratic reading .. ”

    Really? What is convoluted in the ruling? What is anti-democratic?

    The ruling confrimed that the “most fundamental rule of the UK consitution is that Parliament is sovereign’. Only Parliament can grant, and take away rights of British citizens. Is that really convoluted?

    Brexit voters should be embracing this decision. Power has been brought back to the people.

    This entire mess is a result of T.May claiming she has the power of triggering Article 50 when she didn’t have the legal authority to say so. Those who were responsbile for drafting the legislation for the referendum are also at fault: what were the MP’s doing to have a referendum bill that did not consider the consequences? Are they all inept?

    The criticism of the judges in the popular press which pitches “judges against the people” this morning has been disgraceful and shameful for the UK.

    Rather than adding grist to the mill, will you support me in condeming this.

    • Posted November 5, 2016 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is “judges against the people”, and even less is it “Crown against Parliament” as some try to represent, it is more “parliamentarians against the people” with the judges taking the side of the parliamentarians.

  84. Posted November 4, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    how on earth do we end up with one judge being a founder member of european integration another a friend of tony blair..surely this is a conflict of intrest?

  85. Posted November 4, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    i watched the court case through twitter feed.and i must admit the presentation of the case from the attorney general seemed far too simplistic and lacked any real substance//even commentators like faisal islam and co seemed surprised,,i hope the attorney general is replaced pronto for the supreme court proedure because the last performance was dismal

  86. Posted November 4, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    if parliament get avote it ill mean everything we voted to leave for ..will be amended by snp labour/liberals such things as a end to free movement and leaving the single mkt..we will be out of the eu in name only

  87. Posted November 4, 2016 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    When people, including Mrs May, fail to differentiate between Strategy and Planning then it is no wonder we cannot write a letter and Parliament gets hung up on the nitty gritty.

    Quite simply the Strategy after the Referendum is to leave the EU – Brexit.

    The simple Plan to do this is the sending of a letter of our intent under Article 50. This should have been done immediately on Mrs May’s anointment, as her predecessor said he would.

    All this is required before any consideration of Hard, Soft, whatever, Brexit.

    The next Strategy is to get the best deal for the UK etc etc. From this this will evolve our Plans and negotiation tactics to achieve it. How much of this is revealed and debated in Parliament is a matter for good judgement.

    Unfortunately when it comes to many MP’s this is where the process of ‘good judgement’ breaks down.

    There must be a secret No. 10 agenda at play here!

    The delay to March 2017 made and makes no sense otherwise!

  88. Posted November 4, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Brexit mean’t invoking Article 50 in Mrs. May’s first day in office as PM. The Treaty of Lisbon was very pragmatic for an EU document allowing and assessing two years for a country to negotiate the detail of its exit from the EU. It did not say 2 years nine months, or three years or whatever. Two was regarded quite correctly as sufficient, ample and even generous especially as final agreement in tough negotiations tends to be an eleventh hour 59th minute conclusion.
    Mrs. May has precipitated this situation with more drama to come and a general election is her only logical escape route from this mess if the Supreme Court does not reverse the judgment. The final irony would be if the ECJ got involved.

    • Posted November 5, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      By the time Theresa May became Prime Minister it was already too late, applications for judicial review had already been lodged so tying her hands.

  89. Posted November 4, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I long ago realised that you could put half-a-dozen lawyers in a room and they would come up with six, often contradictory judgements – always assuming you paid them of course. As to how the UK Supreme Court will decide? You may as well toss a coin. Charles Dickens had lawyers summed up pretty well.

    Please note that Britain declared war in 1914 and 1939 using Royal Prerogative. There was no parliamentary vote when the UK became involved in two world wars, but there must be one to even start negotiations with the EU. How strange.

    I realise Dickens’s “Jarndyce v Jarndyce” is the model Remainers want to emulate. But this will all be in vain. I predict now that stringing out the Leave negotiations will benefit the UK more than the EU.

  90. Posted November 4, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely agree!

  91. Posted November 4, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Cameron was humming a tune as he went into no 10 for the last time. This is often a sign that someone is up to something as they do it to distract. The plan may have been set by then. Delay A 50 and disrupt the election of a Leaver as PM. Then use the legal profession to challenge and delay until we are worn down to accept a Norwegian style deal. It has Sir Humphrey’s style all over it. The House of Lords is full of them.

    During the referendum a Norwegian lady came over and appeared on the DailyPolitics programme warning us that, just as in Norway, the politicians would produce a result which was not what the people had voted for. In other words, keep paying and accept free movement of labour. The Norwegian model is being followed and although all politicians say they accept the result of the vote, a majority will not allow what they have named Hard Brexit. They think the people will baulk at the hard part and be happy with a Norwegian style of Brexit without any real independence.

    It is no coincidence that ‘quisling’ is a Norwegian name for traitors.

    • Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      “or at least to argue for a Brexit so soft that you will barely discern what has changed after our exit from the EU,” a remainer celebrating this victory in the Guardian.

    • Posted November 5, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      I think the plan may have been set in May 2013 when the Tory leaders came up with what I described as a “gimmick”, a draft Bill for an EU referendum:


      I note this remark from Javelin on that thread, OK so he should have said “draft Bill” rather than “Act” but the point was made right back then that the Bill did not say what would ensue from a vote to leave the EU:

      “I have read through the EU Referendum Act and I don’t see any clauses that will order the referendum results into law. It just orders a referendum.”

      To which zorro replied:

      “Indeed……In fact, is there any clause which commits the government to do anything following the result of a vote…..?”

      and Vanessa replied:

      “Very interesting ! As slippery as fish !”

      and Tad Davison replied:

      “Only when they get the result they want, then they make it binding. Oh what a fantastic and democratic place the EU is!”

      while my comment ended:

      “… the Tory party draft Bill has some very serious defects which would have to be addressed, preferably before it stopped being just a Tory party gimmick and instead became a real Bill before Parliament, but otherwise during its passage.”

      But of course that was never done; three successive Bills for an EU referendum were introduced and all three still failed to say what would ensue from a vote to leave the EU, and despite hours and hours of yakking and numerous proposed amendments on this and that parliamentarians in both Houses failed to bring up that crucial point and seek any amendment to clarify the position.

  92. Posted November 4, 2016 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    As Brexit starts to get ‘fillibusted’ then I fear that the Poll Tax demonstrations of bygone years will be seen as playground scuffles. I for one will be there.

    Why oh why can’t we have a true Leaver at the helm to push this through.

    I fear the worst for Brexit.

    JR please don’t edit my opinion out

  93. Posted November 4, 2016 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    In any event, an Article 50 letter isn’t going to say much. It will say that the UK has voted to leave the EU fulfilling the requirements of Article 50 (1), and that the letter is formal notice of the intention to leave in accordance with 50(2). It may then mention our expectations of the EU arising from 50(2): that the Council will appoint its chief negotiator and issue guidelines to negotiate and conclude the exit agreement (which we hope will be achieved professionally and in good faith), and the consequences of 50(3) that the UK will leave the EU exactly two years after the date of the letter at which point it will not have any obligations to the EU under the various treaties – unless otherwise agreed. It may suggest contact points for the negotiations about the negotiations (where and when sessions will be held, who will be accepted in the room, etc.)

    There is certainly no need whatever for the letter to reveal or discuss anything further. Its role is to set the exit clock ticking, and the obligations on the EU to get their act together and negotiate and conclude the agreement to begin.

  94. Posted November 4, 2016 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    I seem to remember during the run up to the referendum that other methods of leaving the EU were possible. I cannot remember what was said though. John, can you or any other blogger remember?

  95. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Chairman Redwood,

    The governments propaganda EU vote pamphlet states quite clearly on the last page.

    ‘This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide’.

    It seems inconcievable that the government could produce a document that was grotesquelty expensive, biased and deceitful bu perhaps I give them too much credit.

    The decision has been made there is no need for parliaments approval – why can’t the remain side move on.

    • Posted November 5, 2016 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      Stump up the promised 350 million for the NHS, a super trade deal with Australia and the US, guaranteed market access to the EU and no need to pay into the budget or accept free movement of workers, and I’ll move on.


      • Posted November 6, 2016 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        That’s pretty much what will happen.

        Access to the EU market will be as a non-eu vassal state.

      • Posted November 7, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        ‘Guaranteed market access’… Why would we be denied it? Who else is of the major economies?

        When we no longer pay £20bn gross to teh EU, we can decide what we do with it 🙂

        Trade deals will be signed once we leave the EU of course 🙂


  96. Posted November 4, 2016 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi John,

    Let us not judge the judges, let us assume the best and lets us remember that referendums are not a part of our usual governmental constitution.
    Even if this were a conspiracy – which there is no evidence for – it doesnt matter as the vote cannot be rewritten from history.

  97. Posted November 4, 2016 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Ummmmm? Actually the parliament gets to decide the nature of Brexit champ.

    The vote didn’t go to the nature or model of the Brexit.

    That’s your fault.

    You can’t beg for democracy and then cry when you get it.

  98. Posted November 5, 2016 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    The more this attempt by Remain to delay or try to stop Brexit goes on the more right wing a lot Britex supporters will become. We are seeing what at one time would have been trusted institutions being used by an left wing political elite to undermine the wishes of the majority. This is not a very good turn of events. We have had the judges supporting the idea that you must actively support an idea you do not believe in-the NI birthday cake issue, and now the judges ruling on Article 50.the judges could have ruled that yes there was a technical point but in view of the referendum parlament would have to approve the triggering of Article 50. That is a rubber stamp job . In any case the judisary cannot dictate to Parliment what it should do or not do, so I thought

    • Posted November 5, 2016 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

      Just as disturbing as the takeover of our institutions by the Left, is their insistence, as we heard today, on every single bit of the media toeing the line. So, not content with having the BBC, Sky, Channel 4, and ITV blasting out their propaganda 24 hours a day seven days a week, plus the Guardian, Times, Mirror, Star, Sunday Times, Independent, Huff. Post etc log rolling for them, they even begrudge us the occasional expression of support in the Mail, Express and Telegraph. They order the Justice Secretary to say what they want her to say, and when she meekly does, they complain it isn’t enough. Haven’t tthey learned, after their decades of thought control, that if someone is made to say something they didn’t say of their own accord, it isn’t worth anything. Now they are trying it on with the PM but I hope they find her bloody difficult side will be provoked.

  99. Posted November 5, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    The vote was on whether or not we leave the EU. We will leave the EU, based on a 52-48 split in opinion. There should be no discussion on that, at least not within parliament.

    There was – in a way utterly strangely so – no mention (in any leaflet or elsewhere) on what terms we will leave the EU. Nobody could vote on whether we should leave the single market for example. That this is confusing is true (underlining also that it was an awful mistake by the then government to frame the referendum in that manner for the parliament to pass the associated bill), but nonetheless it is so. It means that there cannot be a clear timetable for brexit. ‘leavers’ will have to accept that, just as remainers will have to accept that the course taken is to leave.

    A lot of extremely important decisions still have to be made. The high court’s ruling says that these decisions must be made in accordance with the normal democratic process in the UK. If anyone has a problem with that, then they have a problem with a parliamentary democracy. If you are an MP and have a problem with a parliamentary democracy, then perhaps you should seriously consider resigning. At least, that would be the logical thing to do. To be clear I do not call for any resignation, but simply attempt to set out what is rational here.

  100. Posted November 6, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink


    Isn’t there a case for saying that the judges involved with this decision were involved with the EU, were supporters of the EU, and as such had a vested interest in the decision.

    I always imagined that judges who had some interest in a case should state that fact and have someone else make the decision.

  101. Posted November 7, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    “Did they not read the Hansards where the PM and other Ministers stressed the people were to decide?”
    No, they read the Act. It would have been easy for Parliament to include provision in the EU Referendum Act for the PM/ Secretary of State to notify the European Council under art 50, but it chose not to. As an MP, did you argue for the inclusion of such a provision?

  102. Posted November 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I have said many times I think Mrs May is making a meal of Brexit. She should, as John Redwood says, seek a vote in parliament to approve invoking Article 50. It does not need a formal Act. She should have pre-empted the court case by doing so. But no, she equivocates, she paralyses her Government self by entangling it in endless debate, analysis, argument and court cases.

    Will the Supreme Court over-ride the supreme court’s most eminent judges? Highly unlikely for obvious reasons unrelated to Brexit. Why is the Attorney-General not using the obvious arguments that a) the will of parliament has already been expressed in both the referendum act and in that ratifying the Lisbon Treaty including Article 50, and b) the exercise of the Royal Pregorative in international treaties has been confirmed in the courts numerous times.

    The idiocy of the Supreme Court’s ruling is that it means Parliament may authorise the Government to give away legislative sovereignty but not reclaim it to Parliament. A bigger issue is that the voters were never asked if they approved either Parliament or the Government giving away British sovereignty to the EU. With the collusion of Parliament, the government of the day denied it was doing so.

    The result of Britain’s passing sovereignty to the EU without popular approval is that now neither the Government nor Parliament, nor the courts are trusted and evidently cannot be trusted by the people of Britain.

  • 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.

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