The Commons votes for an Article 50 letter

As I have explained before, Parliament could always debate and vote on leaving the EU any time it liked. Yesterday the Opposition got round to tabling a motion on Article 50 and we had another all day debate on the EU as we have several times since the referendum in government time.

The Commons voted by a majority of 373 to send a letter before the end of March, as I assumed it would. Only the SNP and LIb Dems voted in any numbers against.

I trust the Supreme Court will now understand two things. One is Parliament can and does debate and vote on what it wishes. Two, there is a very large majority for carrying out the wishes of the UK voters and sending the notification of our departure
The Supreme Court case is even more of an irrelevance after yesterday.

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  1. Sam Stoner
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    It is shameful that an elected MP writes in such misleading fashion. The case before the Supreme Court is not concerned with the actions or the inactions of Parliament. It is concerned with the government’s refusal to seek legislative approval for an action that will strip the European Communities Act, an act of the UK parliament, of purposes

    Reply We have that power from the Referendum Act !

    • Newmania
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Remind me John of the extent to which Parliament was excluded form Maastricht

      • Iain Moore
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        Maastrict was signed under the Royal Prerogative in 1992, and only passed in Parliament in 1993.

        It seem that the Royal Prerogative is OK to use for more EU, but not less!

        • acorn
          Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          Basically, the HoC scored an own goal voting on an opposition debate yesterday; gave the win to the Ministerial Royal Prerogative at the Supreme Court (SC) today. Perhaps that was the plan, who knows

          Be it that the HoC resolution has no standing in law, the government QC used it to reinforce its case. The SC will ignore it, they are only concerned about the Law as written down.

          Brexiteers don’t give a toss either way. They just want the fastest exit route.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted December 9, 2016 at 8:59 am | Permalink

            But as repeatedly pointed out here and elsewhere since its antecedent first appeared as a Tory party draft Bill in May 2013 the law as written down is silent on what should happen if we voted to leave the EU, or for that matter what should happen if we voted to remain in the EU. Therefore basically the court is left to make an interpretation of that silence. Maybe we are supposed to believe that nobody in either House noticed this defect when the Bill was being passed, not even the unelected legislator-for-life in the Lords who is now the chief litigator relying on that defect for his case. Meanwhile, the fact that the 46.5 million electors were asked to give their views in an official referendum, and 33.6 million took the trouble to do so, is treated as irrelevant.

        • Narrow Shoulders
          Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          As with all things “progressive”….. Do as I say not as I do.

        • Newmania
          Posted December 8, 2016 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          Hem hem ..Maastricht was mere paper until 1993 being subject to ratification and amendment as well as opt outs forced on the government by those rascally MPs . It was a feature of our process that a referendum was not required there being no constitutional place for such a thing in our representative democracy .
          Honestly , some of the nonsense you read here is almost endearing . Look at all this perorative siuff. If there was anything the whole lot of it then it would be legal for any government ,without asking either Parliament or people, to simply take us back into the EU on a whim dreamt up in the kitchen of No 10

          That is the position and it is quite transparently rubbish , end of

          • libertarian
            Posted December 9, 2016 at 8:18 am | Permalink


            You haven’t been following reality and actual activity in our Parliament over the last 50 years then?


            But the law on the constitution isn’t written down…. thats the point

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      You sounds a bit rattled Sam. Worried Corbyn’s plan to embarrass the government has failed spectacularly and we might actually leave the EU ?

    • APL
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Sam Stoner: ” It is concerned with the government’s refusal to seek legislative approval for an action that will strip the European Communities Act, an act of the UK parliament, of purposes ”

      The European Communities Act is redundant once article 50 notification has been delivered.

      It obtains the same status as those antiquated laws that through some oversight are still on the statute book but no longer enforced.

      Teresa May is on record as saying the whole body of European Laws passed since joining the EEC would be adopted into UK domestic law – in the interests of continuity – and then the EEC act can be repealed. That is obvious, since without Lisbon the EEC act is antiquated and redundant.

      Your assertion that Parliament won’t be consulted is, on the face of it incorrect, as Parliament will need to (a) adopt EU law to date into British Law, and (b) Repeal the EEC act.

      May, is not suggesting that the prerogative power be used to deal with the EEC act. That would be improper.

      The whole Supreme court case is a impertinence by the Court on in area it has no business, and a monstrous waste of time and tax payers money.

      Parliament makes the laws, the Courts uphold them.

    • JJE
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Not in law you don’t.

      • Yudansha
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        The Referendum Act and the referendum itself is of no legal consequence ?

        That’s going to be hard to sell to the public.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        That remains to be seen; it’s still possible that the Supreme Court will decide that when it passed the 2015 Act Parliament intended that the government would act on the referendum result, either way, without the need for further parliamentary authorisation of its response.

        Of course it’s something of a polite fiction of judges that Parliament even has well-considered legislative intentions which they can divine; anybody who has watched debates in the Commons can be forgiven for concluding that for most MPs their paramount intention is simply to keep in with their party leaders and progress their political careers.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      Reading Sams responses I am convinced he is another member of the EU counter propaganda unit.
      That’s as maybe but what’s the betting the Supreme Court attaches conditions to their judgement.
      The establishment is not going to waste any opportunities to interfere.
      Two cheers for Parliament.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      One wonders whether the law can help in these circumstances. The treaties with the EU have been made towards the goal of making it impossible for any country to leave. What we had in June was a form of revolution in which the people of the UK tore up the law.
      The Supreme Court appears to be engaging in opinion and debate rather than clear law, and perhaps the judges would be better off admitting they just don’t know.
      I don’t see why the Government should be prevented from triggering Article 50. They can after all go into discussions the end of which may be a better European Union that the country can have a second vote on. That might look unlikely now, but just wait till the present Eureaucracy has moved on.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply – You also have the power from the referendum result itself.

      The consent of the people was sought via a carefully counted ballot and they gave their answer.

    • acorn
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Just because you had a vote after a debate on a motion, does not make it Law. The Supreme Court is only concerned with the Common Law and Statutes with the Queens rubber stamp on them.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Do you suppose poor little parliamentarians didn’t realise that if we left the EU then that would strip the European Communities Act 1972 of purposes? Even though some parliamentarians were openly proposing its total repeal as their preferred route out of the EU?

      So when they were passing the European Union Referendum Bill 2015 with endless hours of debate why didn’t they insist on writing into it that even if we voted to leave the EU the government would still require further authorisation, through another Act, before it could serve the Article 50 notice?

      Take the lead counsel in this case, Lord Pannick.

      As a legislator, one of the unelected legislators-for-life in the House of Lords, he supposedly examined in detail the Bill which came up from the Commons.

      So as not only a legislator but also a constitutional expert did he fail to notice that the Bill was silent on what would ensue from a referendum vote to leave the EU, a serious defect which had been noticed and pointed out by lay observers?

      Did it not occur to him then that to avoid potential serious constitutional problems it would be much better for Parliament to state clearly on the face of the Act what it intended to happen after the referendum?

      Why does he wait until after the Act has been passed, and the referendum has been held, and we have voted to leave the EU, to point out as a litigator what he could have previously striven to prevent as a legislator?

      And why should the courts see it as part of their role to rescue lazy and inattentive parliamentarians from the consequences of their own incompetence?

      • Qubus
        Posted December 9, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

        I voted to leave the EU. However, although I do not follow these things in great detail, I remember reading and hearing that the referendum was only advisory.
        I rather think that the lack of clarity was not incompetence, but rather deliberate.

    • JM
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      There is a wilful refusal in this article to understand what the Supreme Court case is about; a case which the Attorney opened making it clear that it was “properly brought” and “properly” before the court.

      We have a three legged constitution. Each leg is independent of the other. There is Parliament, which is the supreme law making body. There is the Government/the Executive which governs the country according to law. There are the courts, which ensure that the Government/the Executive (and everyone else) act within the confines of the law.

      The question before the Supreme Court is whether or not our supreme Parliament by enactment of legislation has fettered the ability of the Government to use the Royal Prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. That is a question of law. The Political consequences of the referendum and last night’s vote in Parliament are clear. However, the courts are not concerned with politics or the will of the people. The courts are only concerned with the proper interpretation and application of the law as enacted in legislation by Parliament. It is a fundamental principle of our constitutional settlement that that which Parliament has given can only be taken away by Parliament. No Government can act to take away that which Parliament has given. King Charles I lost his head when he tried to do so. If Parliament by legislation has conferred rights on the citizens of the United Kingdom, then only Parliament can remove those rights. If the service of notice under Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon by the Government would have the consequence of removing rights conferred by Parliament, which is one of the questions of law before the Supreme Court, then only Parliament can authorise that action and that will have to be by an Act of Parliament.

      There is no interference in the political process by the court. Anyone who says that there is is quite wrong.

      Reply Parliament has voted to send the letter and will need to repeal the 1972 Act!

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 9, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        If the courts operate on such an elevated impartial dispassionate plane why don’t the claimants come clean to the judges, and the public, about the true purpose of their litigation? The hypocrisy is sickening.

    • margaret
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      You are quite right when you say it is the supreme courts prerogative to interpret the law, however that is the problem : the law is in the process of being changed as it was 45 years ago . Get used to it; Ethics/ parliament leads the way. the laws are written according to ethical and constitutional concerns . If the laws were not changed we would still have judges hanging people ( and wrongly)

    • nigel seymour
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      I heard a rumour that SC may rule that the ref was -in part- unlawful…

    • Marcus Rose
      Posted December 9, 2016 at 12:09 am | Permalink

      Sam this is exactly what I voted to strip “The European communities act” that was imposed on the public without consultation and I trust Theresa May to deliver and remove the stack of rubbish with it added on by the EU. I want OUT now. We paid a very high price on 2 occasions last century to retain freedom that the remainer’s want to throw away for nothing.

    • Peter Davies
      Posted December 9, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      Every Treaty has been done this way as I recall. My understanding is an art 50 letter is a process kick off and legislation happens later.

      This looks and feels like a cynical ploy to help derail the process

  2. Mick
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Please Mr Redwood could yourself and everybody else stop referring to the rag bag outlaws run by Tim what’s is name as the lib/dems and drop the democratic part, as for Clark and SNP well enough said

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      But they’re not Liberal either. Good to see the vote how many Tories voted against or abstained. I am still not convinced Lefty May had the ability gumption or motivation to get us properly out. Especially giver her duff decisions so far.

      Good to see a climate realist put in place by trump.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:08 am | Permalink

        The BBC call him a denier of climate change, but no one denies that climate changes. Just that there is no reason to assume man made, runaway climate armageddon – as the alarmist claim. Why can’t our daft government not do something similarly sensible?Electricy could be 1/2 to 1/3 of the current cost, that would do wonders for jobs, living standards and productivity.

        Ministers endlessly say they want higher productivity but just put spanners in the works at every turn.

        • Richard1
          Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink

          The response of the BBC to this appointment has been ferocious. It seems the new EPA head makes 2 points: (1) in a constitutional democracy like the US laws are made by Congress and shouldn’t be made on the hoof by officials in an agency like the EPA as Obama has sought to do and (2) people should not be penalised for dissent from official opinion on any issue, including climate change. For this he is labelled a ‘denier’ and the old canard of ‘97% of scientists’ is thrown at him by he BBC and hysterical social media outlets. It will be interesting to see how much global warming there is the next few years. If not much then by 2020 Trumps scepticism may be vindicated.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted December 8, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

            Nothing since about 1998 so 18 years despite the higher Co2 concentrations. Nothing very significant over the last 100 years either, climate sensitivity to Co2 has been hugely over blown by the fake green industry, government and many academics “experts”.

        • Ed Mahony
          Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:42 am | Permalink

          ‘The BBC call him a denier of climate change, but no one denies that climate changes. Just that there is no reason to assume man made, runaway climate armageddon – as the alarmist claim’

          – It’s not what ‘alarmists’ claim it’s what science demonstrates.
          I’m sure there is a solution without us having to drastically change our economic way of life, but we do have to face up to that challenge (and work out and implement the solution – which will take some imagination and effort) or else in a few decades times we’ll all be glowing fluorescent green and our descendants will be calling us selfish so and so’s for not trying to do something about it now.

          • forthurst
            Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

            The proposition that climate is modulated by carbon dioxide is false in principle. The BBC are climate liars, in keeping with their function as purveyors of Fake News to the masses who are too idle and stupid to seek out the truth from the Alt Media.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted December 9, 2016 at 8:55 am | Permalink

            “It’s not what ‘alarmists’ claim it’s what science demonstrates.”

            Drivel go and study some atmospheric physics off someone sensible like Prof. Richard Lindzen.

            Climate sensitivity has been hugely exaggerated. The green industry predictions have been proved wrong the feedback are negative not positive net. It is a religion not a science. They cannot predict the climate for next year let alone for 100 year time.

            No warming anyway for 18 years (and they did not predict that either). Anyway extra the C02 greens the planet and increases crop yields too. Another helpful negative feedback and bonus. The man made co2 put out by the UK is insignificant anyway in the overall scheme of things. Furthermore many of the green’s solutions do not work even using their own c02 yard stick.

          • APL
            Posted December 9, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

            forthurst: “The BBC are climate liars, in keeping with their function as purveyors of Fake News to the masses”

            And it bears noting, that the situation suits the government perfectly well, else having had since 2010 to do something about the BBC, have sat on their hands.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know how you can be such a fan of Trump.
        In public, he comes across as vulgar, crass and not much of a supporter of family families, the arts and culture in general. Instead he appears to spout megalomaniac nonsense about making America ‘great’ again. When the main reason America’s GDP is falling is down to the rise of China and the way technology is putting ordinary, working class people out of work.

        • Anonymous
          Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

          Trump/Farage is what you get when you deny the people a little bit of small ‘c’ conservatism. In the UK it started with May’s ‘nasty party’ speech.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted December 9, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

            May seems to be very nasty indeed with here go home illegals adverts and trying to pick on their children.

            More to the point she is wrong headed on gender pay, workers on boards, HS2, Hinkley, Lagoons, the greencrap, the Laffer curve, the tax system ……. no better than lefty Cameron and tax until the pips squeak IHT ratter Osborne.

        • APL
          Posted December 9, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          Ed Mahony: “When the main reason America’s GDP is falling is down to the rise of China ”

          Trump is the first candidate for President that has acknowledged that it’s one thing for China to build its economy up, quite another to do it at the expense of the US economy. Consequently he’s quite popular with anyone who works outside the FIRE economy.

          Ed Mahony: ” and the way technology is putting ordinary, working class people out of work. ”

          Ah, the old Luddite philosophy. Yet here we are with an economy many times larger than the world economy of the 19th century servicing many more head of population and it’s technology that underpins it all, but somehow, you come up with the contrary opinion that advancing technology is bad.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      The SNP claim they are representing the Scottish electorate the majority of whom voted Remain. However they don’t seem to be representing the Scottish electorate the majority of whom also voted to remain in the UK. Odd. Just a hint of double standards there ?

      May should withdraw the whip from Clarke – just for a laugh.

      • Treacle
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        I live in Scotland. The reason so many people in Scotland voted Remain was not because they wanted to remain in the EU but because it was widely believed that leaving the EU would “trigger” (to use Nicola Sturgeon’s word) another Scottish referendum.

        • Veritas
          Posted December 8, 2016 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

          I don’t believe this…another SNP plant!

        • Mark
          Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

          Yet polling shows even less support for independence in Scotland than at the time of the independence referendum.

          • alan jutson
            Posted December 9, 2016 at 11:28 am | Permalink


            “Less support than at the time of the referendum”

            Perhaps, but surprise surprise it comes at a time when the oil price is low and Scotland would be bankrupt within weeks.

            Perhaps they have just woken up and smelt the coffee, bacon or simple lack of what would be MONEY.

    • MickN
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      That will be the libdems that yesterday were fined the maximum £20,000 for false accounting of their expenses at the General Election and have just won another seat in Parliament after someone offered the Green party £250,000 not to stand in a seat where the sitting MP had resigned over an environmental issue which I thought was their reason for being.

    • Bob
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 8:35 am | Permalink


      “stop referring to the rag bag outlaws run by Tim what’s is name as the lib/dems”

      It’s very impressive the way the left use labels to manipulate peoples perceptions.

      Those on the right should try harder to expose these misnomers.

      • Excalibur
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, Bob. George Orwell wrote a whole essay on the subject. To subvert the populace, first subvert the language.

      • hefner
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        In that case, it might be useful that the right itself describes (exposes?) the various trends within the Conservatives. Only the UK Independence Party seems to have a content consistent with the label on the tin.

        • Bob
          Posted December 9, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink


          “Only the UK Independence Party seems to have a content consistent with the label on the tin.”

          Very true!

    • Augustyn
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Only 5 of the 9 LibDem Mp’s voted against the motion. That presumably makes them the most divided party in the House of Commons.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink


      Reminiscent of that exercise of looking up all the countries with Democratic as part of their name, and then checking the democracy index.

  3. DaveM
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Reading the updates from the Supreme Court yesterday, I’d like to ask again – how can the Scottish Parliament have a say on anything to do with this when Scotland already has 59 MPs in the UK Parliament representing 5 million people?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      And it is a reserved matter, a point which so far seems to have eluded the court.

      • Iain Moore
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Indeed, it seems to have been a trawling exercise by the court to include the Scottish Parliament, for as you say it has been made clear that this is a reserved matter for Parliament. They are flirting with usurping the law of the land by including submissions the Scottish Parliament.

    • Know-dice
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      Yes Dave absolutely…

      We the English are represented by a single body i.e. our MPs in the UK Parliament.

      The Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish are represented twice, this in not acceptable.

      Certainly the Devolved Assemblies should have no direct say whatsoever on UK wide matters.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      The situation with the SNP is untenable and the contradiction of 55/45 loss in 2014 and their holding 56/59 Scottish Westminster seats in 2015 creates a spoiling mentality, which they are exploiting endlessly and foolishly in Brexit.

      A further Scottish Referendum seems inevitable.

  4. Newmania
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I agree , the Supreme Court is a side show. Half the country has no part in any of the negotiations and choices ahead whatsoever . Thats just about every graduate , the majority of the working population , everyone in business , a majority of those under 50.
    I could go on but clearly with such a close result the Not- People are bound to be important and will be required to pay for this act of National madness as will our children.
    It is now the view of Europe and anyone taking an interest that we are headed for the hardest of hard Brexits and the calamity of the cliff edge gets closer every day.
    As we are engulfed in chaos political instability , those who were 16 and 17 will come to their first election , their prospects stolen by the retired .
    The country is now divided along remain/ Brexit lines will be locked in a an endless cycle of recrimination and hatred in which the guilty men will whine out the excuses and blame everyone else as ever

    All we can look forward to is revenge

    • Yossarion
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Great to see all those proper working class jobs being saved in Port Talbot!

    • Tom William
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      What incredibly arrogant/ignorant piffle. Just assertions, no statistical evidence. Hardly worthy of a graduate – of where?

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Newmania – Again. No attempt to understand why people voted for Brexit.

      In 1992 I bought my first London house – a three bed semi in a decent area – and did so on a fairly average wage. Fast forward to post Maastricht/Blair and *pre* Brexit London and my NHS doctor son will still be renting in bedsit land until his forties.

      This decline in the young’s fortunes happened the more entwined we got with the EU.

      Of course, the young will be angry if they believe your distorted narrative that all was going swimmingly until the referendum.

      Please stop lying. Please stop trying to foment anger and hatred with your vulgar simplifications – we care about the youth (our own children) too !

    • SM
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      My goodness, you are really channelling your inner bleak midwinter, aren’t you, Mr N?

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      ‘The country is now divided along remain/ Brexit lines will be locked in a an endless cycle of recrimination and hatred in which the guilty men will whine out the excuses and blame everyone else as ever’

      Important as Brexit is, there is far more to life than Brexit (family, good sex, good friends, sense of humour, sense of modesty, having a good Christmas, great arts, preparing for death, and so on).
      Anyone who takes Brexit as if it is the be-all-and-end-all-of-everything and to the point of hating others needs to GET. A. LIFE.

    • rose
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      The country has always been divided except apparently in wartime. It is divided at every election, but on those occasions the losers usually accept the result – though the left are much worse at it than the right.

      The reason you think it is different this time is that the losers have far more power as a group, especially over communications.

    • rose
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      The country is always divided at elections. Try to accept the result.

    • Mitchel
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Why so bitter?Why seek revenge?Why not do something positive,given you’ve made your mind up about the future, and emigrate to the promised land over the channel?

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Cheese eating surrender monkey. My next door neighbours are both graduates with young children. She is a Grammar School teacher and he is a Shift Manager in a power station. they are 39 and 40 years respectively and they both voted LEAVE.
      Your analysis doesn’t stand up to scrutiny and those who couldn’t be bothered to vote should be ignored.
      It was the biggest turnout in history and won by a respectable number despite the odds.
      For goodness sakes get a life.

    • MickN
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Its called democracy Newmania.
      From time to time the country is stupid enough to return a Labour government to power. Thank God those of us that don’t like it don’t feel the need to keep going on about divided country/ not fair/we want a rerun etc etc etc ad nauseum. The close result you refer to was actually 1.4 million people – not close at all in my book.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Don’t worry by March 2019 the EU of today will have collapsed.

    • Excalibur
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Newmania. The Richmond bye-election was closer. Is that constituency headed for calamity too ? Can the voters there only expect revenge ?

      National madness ? Britain ruled a third of the known world. Its innovation and enterprise, its form of democratic government, and its expertise in trade, shipping and railway engineering was exported to much of the world too. This United Kingdom is headed again for greatness. The youth of today can look forward to another golden age……

      Reply Surely the Lib Dems should want to re run the Richmond by election given how close it was and how misleading the Remain campaign was there.

      • Newmania
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        ..and of course a re -run of the election is precisely what the good people will get at the next GE

    • Hope
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      The country is not divided. With all elections/referendums one side wins the other loses. Leave won. That is the end of it. However intransigent remainers might be or threats they made or continue to make.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      “The view of Europe” ? There is no such thing. Stay calm, it’s only negotiation.

    • zorro
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      You really do write like a bigot. John is a graduate as am I and I think that a few other graduates voted leave too. You appear to be an intellectual snob who cannot cope with rhe fact that people do not agree with you. I also can think of many business peole who voted leave too, particularly those subject to needless regulations.

      You really do like your cliff edge imagery, is it your inner lemming coming out?…. Prospects stolen by the retired…. retribution….. guilty men….. hatred…. revenge….. All this negativity is not good for your soul. Embrace some positivity or find a safe space somewhere ?…. Actually you could make a Downfall video out of it and put it on YouTube including Sam Stoner et al. You know it makes sense.


    • alan jutson
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:32 pm | Permalink


      Please explain sensibly

      “…..their prospects stolen by the retired”

  5. alan jutson
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    What a fiasco David Cameron left behind.
    A refusal to believe that the original Eu offer was worthless.
    Scare stories left right and centre.
    No alternative plan to remain.
    No immediate triggering of article 50.
    Resignation because he did not want to implement the will of the population.

    Since then.
    A refusal by the government to take the decision to Parliament for ratification.
    Opposition calls for negotiation terms to be released ahead of any negotiations.
    An expensive court case which the government lost.
    An even more expensive Court case in the Supreme Court, decision pending.
    The Opposition (not Government) eventually bringing the subject before Parliament
    The Government adding an amendment to the Opposition motion.
    A huge majority voting in favour of leaving, as long as the government puts its wish list before Parliament a few hours before negotiations start.

    No wonder people are absolutely fed up with the Political system.

    Will the farce continue ?
    Guaranteed, as with each day politicians will ask for more and more detail when the answer is so blindingly obvious.

    Sorry John but our politicians should be ashamed of themselves.

    I list our negotiation wish list for those who do not yet understand.

    We will be seeking to leave the so called single market, because it is not a single market.
    We will be seeking to leave the customs union.
    We will want to completely control our own immigration system.
    We will be seeking to trade with the EU with no tariffs or payment.

    Failure to get the above will result in some sort of tariff arrangement for both sides.

    We will continue to co-operate with the Eu on very many other topics/programmes/projects as long as it is mutually beneficial to both sides.
    We will be seeking to complete trade deals in our own right with other countries throughout the rest of the world to try to increase our own business levels and improve our balance of payments.

    There, not so difficult really was it.!

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Guess my above comment was probably too long to publish.

      Will try harder next time.

  6. Peter Butcher
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    No mention of the vote on Radio 4 this morning. Let’s see if we have a similar silence from the broadcaster when the Supreme Beings deliver their verdict in January.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      Are they really Supreme? Isn’t Parliament supposed to be above them? Oh no. I forgot, the ECJ is above everything and everyone – even God I suspect.

  7. JJE
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Well done, it’s only taken from June to December.

    Your motion has no force in law. The referendum was advisory and has no further force in law. It could have been drafted to give legal effect to the outcome and it was not. Lord Sumption was very clear in his comments yesterday in the Supreme Court: “It’s completely fundamental, it’s about the rule of law”. Whether the court rules unanimously, or, if split, whether he is in the majority, we will find out in due course.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      It shouldn’t even be at court.

    • Know-dice
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      I’m quite happy that the Supreme Court should make their judgement on a point of law, rather than any Parliamentary “convention”.

      What I’m not happy with is that they (the Supreme Court judges) seem to be casting their remit far and wide with regard to those that can speak to them on this matter in the court room.

      So to this end I’m not convinced that the final judgement will be made on a “point of law”.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      ‘It could have been drafted to give legal effect to the outcome and it was not’

      – The way the referendum was implemented (not talking about the referendum in principle) is the worst example of governance in modern history (and over something so important).

      – its shoddy legal framework
      – no clarity what it was about (1. Ballot paper just says the EU no mention of the crucial Single Market 2. There are many examples of leading Brexiteers saying / implying it was about leaving the EU NOT the Single Market)
      – timing – we have a huge national debt to pay off first
      – no general plan
      – no preparation for our companies to increase their exports (Germany currently exports a whopping x 2.5 times more to the USA than us, 3 times more to China, and 4 times more to Japan – something like that off top of my head).

      Reply I set out a clear plan and said we would have access to single market, not be members of it

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 9, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        “its shoddy legal framework”

        That’s what Parliament voted through, after endless hours of yakking on about whether children and (more) foreigners should be allowed to vote in it and whether Scotland should be given a veto and what the government would be allowed to publish during it etc etc etc.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted December 9, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        ‘I set out a clear plan and said we would have access to single market, not be members of it’

        – With respect, Mr Redwood, not talking about you but about others, on both sides, who clearly had no plan (nor am I criticising the referendum in principle but the approach, timing and implementation).

        • APL
          Posted December 10, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

          Ed Mahony: “who clearly had no plan (nor am I criticising the referendum in principle but the approach, timing and implementation”

          Dr North has been researching his Flexible exit plan (Flexit) for a number of years, it has been through a number of drafts. It was offered to the top guy in the official Leave campaign.

          So it’s not quite correct to say, there was no plan, there was at least one comprehensive and very well researched plan, but, Dominic Cummings and Matthew Eliott refused to adopt it for reasons of their own.

          John Redwood rarely makes reference to it.

          So despite the efforts of the Tory top brass to hide the fact that there is a comprehensive plan, there is a plan but for some reason the Tories didn’t want to use it.

          Presumably because the Vote Leave campaign didn’t plan to win the referendum.

    • rose
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      When Lord Sumption was representing Gordon Brown against Stuart Wheeler on the point of law about whether we were entitled to a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon as it was a constitutional change, he pronounced: “This is politics dressed up as law.” He has far more cause to say that in this case.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 9, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        At least Wheeler was honest about what he wanted to achieve through his court action. He didn’t pretend that it was nothing at all to do with trying to block the Lisbon Treaty, oh no there was no question of that, he was only concerned to make sure that all the constitutional proprieties were being rigorously observed to prevent any return to Stuart tyranny. The tosh which is being spouted by some of the claimants is incredible. Does anybody really believe that if the court decides that the government already has sufficient authority to serve the Article 50 notice then that will usher in a new period of unlimited arbitrary government? Of course not.

        • rose
          Posted December 9, 2016 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

          When I see a certain person telling us they are only concerned with process, I nearly vomit. How could anyone spend that much money just on being pedantic? And how can the President of the Supreme Court expect to keep our respect for the law when he concludes with this tosh?

  8. Mark B
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    But as I said in my last post, which was not posted, what if the Remainer’s decide to appeal to the ECJ ?

    If there is one thing in all this, big money interests are not going to give up.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      That is why a new Bill should include words to exclude that possibility, such as:

      “Nothing in this Act may be questioned in any court in the United Kingdom, and nor may any question relating to this Act be referred to the European Court of Justice or any other court anywhere else in the world”.

      • Mark B
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:17 pm | Permalink


        If parliament is sovereign then they must prove it.

  9. Ed Mahony
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    This merely makes the Lib Dems look fanatically pro EU, as bad as looking fanatically anti EU.
    The two biggest concerns of most people – Leavers and Remainers – regarding the EU is immigration (the risks of uncontrolled immigration) and the Single Market (and the risk of leaving the Single Market). Mrs May and the leading Brexiteers in government are trying to address both.
    Concerns about sovereignty of Parliament (getting back sovereignty) and the peace and security of Europe (maintaining peace and security) are also important to most people but secondary to immigration and the Single Market.
    Liberal Democrats need to listen to the concerns of the people.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      It’s one or the other and we can’t have both. (single market/reduced immigration)

      It’s the EU which has determined the inflexibility, not Brexiters. We were quite happy to have EU migration but with a few minor stipulations.

      There is little point in having a great economy if we are obliged to take in all of the EU’s unemployed and the negatives are manifest in the crisis of the ‘working poor’ as highlighted by the BBC.

      (Don’t anyone dare say that a glut of willing workers doesn’t drive down wages/force up rents)

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

        I agree. The levels of immigration are unacceptable.

        But more and more it looks possible there is going to be reform in the EU over this. It is isn’t just pressure from Brexit. Angela Merkel is beginning to experience real pressure from her own people now over immigration. And the same in France and elsewhere.

        In other words, in a year or two, we could see restriction of immigration across the EU (as well as other reforms such as each country spending their own money sent to Brussels instead of the EU spending it for them in their own country).

        • Anonymous
          Posted December 10, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

          Thank you Ed

          It took such as our referendum to get the message through. It’s still not getting through if you ask me.

    • SM
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      You are being unfair – the LibDems have consistently supported membership of the EU (to the best of my knowledge); I admit that in my many years of political activity, that is possibly the only policy they have ever adhered to come hell or high water…..

    • ian wragg
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Ed. The security of Europe is nothing to do with the EU. Except for us France and Greece, the rest are free loaders. NATO is the corner stone of security and has been since the end of WWII.

      • rose
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        In fact the EU undermines our security by doing away with borders, by going up too close to Russia, and by weakening NATO through the plans for an EU army. It also allows invasion of its Southern borders by weakening the resolve of those nations to act as nations, which they would have done before the EU.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted December 8, 2016 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        Ian, i didn’t explain well.
        I didn’t mean armed forces. I meant, by creating an economically prosperous / stable continent, you eliminate the insecurities posed by poverty / economic stability.
        Democracy needs wealth / economic stability to support it. Without these, you drift into social chaos, civil war, soft and hard dictatorships. We can’t afford to have these on our doorsteps for all kinds of geopolitical reasons.
        We’ve seen these problems in Eastern Europe under Communism, during Spain in the 1930’s, and so on. And we’ve how building up EU countries works really well. Ireland is a great example. During the 1960’s and 70’s, it was relatively poor. Now relatively rich. The EU played a crucial role. And it was this new wealth that played a key role in eliminating the violence of the troubles.
        And with a more prosperous Ireland, we now have another trading partner to export to. Not just that, we don’t have the level of immigration that we once had before.
        There is no reason why this can’t be replicated across Europe. It will take time. And we need to keep reforming the EU. But if we do, all of this will benefit the UK in so many ways further down the line (as well as now).

    • rose
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Everyone I know who voted to Leave just wanted their country to be a normal independent country again.

  10. a-tracy
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    So if the case wasn’t necessary why did Theresa May waste our money taking the case to the Supreme Court, 11 senior judges and all of the legal teams who has to pay for it? If Gina and the hairdresser win who pays their costs? If anyone pays it should be David Cameron and George Osborne.

  11. Bert Young
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I watched 2-3 hours of the debate in the House yesterday ; the outcome was not surprising . I support the contribution from Rees Mogg ( very impressive and Statesmanlike ) who indicated that the efforts of the “remainers” were simply attempts to re-run the referendum . The vitriol from the SDLP member showed just how much he is against any co-operation with Westminster .

  12. Bob
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    If the SNP had won the Scottish independence referendum, they would already be out of the EU.

  13. fedupsoutherner
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I am even more concerned now that the Supreme court will find in favour of the devolved governments of Ireland Wales and Scotland and they will thwart all actions by the government regarding Brexit. We could have debate after debate which could go on for years. In this case we will never get out of the EU unless May bows down to the minority views. Sturgeon would never allow the UK to come out of the single market and it would be a way for her to say she has won. The SNP are all about stopping anything Westminster wants to do and will stop at nothing to be a pain in the backside. Scotland are either in or out of the UK and they people have said they are in. Who is listening??

  14. NickW
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    It is becoming increasingly obvious that the UK’s economy is doing well, not despite Brexit, but BECAUSE of Brexit.

    The EU is an oppressive and dictatorial regime and freedom from it is like shaking off the chains of imprisonment.

    The only measure that can improve the economies of Europe is for others to follow in our footsteps, and discover for themselves what freedom from oppression means, in terms of rejuvenated economic and industrial dynamism.

    • Oggy
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      @NickW – I agree with you wholeheartedly but unfortunately we haven’t left yet.

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted December 9, 2016 at 12:07 am | Permalink

      ‘The EU is an oppressive and dictatorial regime and freedom from it is like shaking off the chains of imprisonment’

      – This is garbage sold by some papers here to sell newspapers.
      There are some really good and really bad things about the EU.
      For starters, it protects us from a hostile world beyond our European shores from countries such as China, USA and Japan who would eat us up if they could. Germany, France and others want to be nice to us because it’s in their geopolitical interests to.
      As it is, the EU was set, essentially, by a right-wing Conservative (Chancellor Kohl) and is filled with Conservative politicians from across Europe.
      Lastly, when it comes to exports to emerging countries around the world, we make a lot of excuses. I mean Germany exports 2.5 times more than us to the US, 3 times more than us to China, and 4 times more than us to Japan.
      We like to blame the EU, when the reality is we just need to get more competitive in what we export in general.
      Lastly, the EU provides us with cheap destinations in Europe to go on holiday and retire to. Provides us with cheaper food. Helps to create geopolitical security across the continent. And allows different countries within the EU to have close, much needed collaboration over big commercial, scientific and cultural projects that we can’t do so well alone, as well work together closely over serious threats affecting us all, such as Russia, mass migration from the Middle East and Africa and terrorism.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted December 9, 2016 at 12:08 am | Permalink

        ‘China, USA and Japan who would eat us up if they could’ – i meant economically / in trade, not militarily of course.

      • NickW
        Posted December 9, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        I do not read newspapers because I like to make up my own mind about the world rather than parrotting the opinion of journalists I neither know nor trust.

        The assertion that Germany and France “Want to be nice to us” is not born out by the facts; The threats about punishing the UK for Brexit which are uttered by EU politicians tell a different story.

        The EU is not run by Conservative politicians, it is run by socialists.

        We do not need membership of the EU to go to Europe on holiday.

        The EU does not make food cheaper, it makes it more expensive.

        We do not need the EU for collaboration on science projects; firstly there is no reason why EU countries should not continue the present level of collaboration once we leave the EU, and secondly, science is global, and if the EU wishes to isolate itself from us, there are plenty of other potential partners who would be only too willing to work with the first rate scientists in the UK.

        The EU does not make the world a safer place, it makes it more dangerous; it was EU support which overthrew the democratically elected President of Ukraine and caused the problems with the Crimea.
        Merkel’s policies, unilaterally imposed on the EU, are the CAUSE of the refugee crisis; it is disingenuous in the extreme to suggest that membership of the EU is essential to “deal with the migrant problem”.

        There is no “Russian aggression”, there is only a defensive response by Russia to NATO aggression.

        We will have to agree to disagree.

      • Yossarion
        Posted December 9, 2016 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        The French foreign minister in a speech about ten years ago said that North Africa was naturally part of Europe, maybe you would like to explain where the Empires boundaries are or will end ED?

  15. oldtimer
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    The evidence suggests that the legal profession is dead set against leaving the EU. It will, therefore, use every available device to frustrate this. The original High Court case was the first example – initiated at the first opportunity after the referendum result. We await the Supreme Court decision on the appeal. Maybe it will be a model of clarity on the issue. Maybe it will give the government everything it wants from the appeal. But maybe it will not. Maybe it will provide further traps, hurdles and minefields for the government to negotiate as the Court takes this opportunity to define the less well defined areas of consitutional law and practice. My guess it that this issue will run and run. I hope I am wrong.

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    I suppose it’s progress that everybody is now talking about the fundamental importance of the sovereignty of Parliament when not so long ago many MPs were perfectly willing to do as the whips told them and vote against the sovereignty of their own Parliament.

  17. Antisthenes
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I wonder if democracy is on it’s last legs since progressive ideology and dogma became the new religious faith. Declaring a new world where there cannot be any losers and everybody’s feelings are sacrosanct. Posing something of a dilemma and throwing up many paradoxes. Clinton backers and remainers having lost the vote see that as an assault on their progressive religion. Liberal values as they see them which is the first paradox as there is nothing liberal about their agenda or their actions. Every protest and every manoeuvre to undermine the result is an assault on the democratic process. For them their progressive heaven is a one party state where everyone follows their idea of being a liberal. The current supreme court case is nothing more than spoilt brats throwing a tantrum in an effort to get what they want in the face of grown ups deciding differently.

  18. Tad Davison
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    ‘The Supreme Court case is even more of an irrelevance after yesterday.’

    Let’s hope that also applies to the Lib Dems, the SNP, Clarke, Grieve, and Soubry after today.

    Tad Davison


  19. Amber Astron Christo
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Shame we didn’t have more decisive action immediately after the referendum! This is turning into farce! People are not going to accept the E.U. and big business dictating our lives for years hence. The House still does not grasp that The People will not accept anything less than OUT and as fast as possible.

    However, are any of the E.U. Treaties valid: it appears Members of the House of Commons do not understand what was signed up for; the legal advice given at the time would appear to have been limited and I guess the P.M.s who signed only had a superficial grasp of the legal aspects of the Treaties?

  20. alte fritz
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    In the Gina Miller case, both sides agreed that the issue was justiciable. The Supreme Court, then, has to hear it. Both sides agreed that a notice under Article 50 is irrevocable and has to be unconditional, so all the bleating about voting on a deal is misleading. The Remoaners want to vitiate the referendum result come what may. Their only hope is to stop service of notice.

    The Supreme Court decision does matter, but mostly because Mr Cameron worked on the basis that he could not lose.

  21. Chris
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    What did Soubry and Claire Perry do yesterday? After all their loudmouthing, did they toe the line? I do not know what Perry’s majority was in the last election but Anna Soubry’s is very small and her constituents had a majority for Leave, so they may not take kindly to all her grandstanding and apparent intent to defy the will of the people. If she in fact voted with the govt yesterday perhaps she has decided to focus on survival?

    Reply The only Conservative MP to vote against was Ken Clarke who retires at the end of the Parliament.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Soubry pleaded with people not to be rude about her, even though she has a long track record of personal abuse against those who disagree with her.

      • rose
        Posted December 9, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        She said something so coarse and irrelevant about her opponents that I can’t reproduce it here. Not for the first time I wondered if she was tight.

      • Anonymous
        Posted December 10, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        And being rather coarse with it. (‘Fingers up bottoms and liking it’ if I recall.)

  22. Mark Watson
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I think we need to rename Farrons lot the Illiberal Autocrats.
    As to the other remoaners on here,we had a vote, Leave won (partly thanks to the wisdom of older voters),so now kindly put a sock in the whining.

    • Chris
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Yes, they are certainly not liberal nor democrats. They should really be referred to as far left or illiberal or the intolerants. Rather a lot of descriptive terms come to mind.

  23. Happier
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Hooray. Like that vote. Good plan and timing. Britain’s got brains.

  24. Malcolm Lidierth
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    If we “Take back control” where do we rest it? I assumed when voting that it would rest within the UK’s established constitutional framework with powers/roles shared across HMG and Parliament and the courts ensuring that lawful constitutional processes are followed. That’s what the SC is doing and what the HoL did before it.

    The motivation of some of those taking matters before the courts is plainly to block Brexit. but the hysterical response of some Brexit-supporting MPs is worrying. Parliament is sovereign and makes the law. The conventions that supplement the law are not an invention of the new SC, but established over centuries via the HoL.

    It’s not judicial activism for a judge to insist those laws and conventions be followed. It’s a vital part of taking back control and of ensuring that control is not again lost to those who shout loudest, whether in Brussels or in Westminster.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      ML – Unfortunately judicial activism is well precedented using EU law to override common British sensibilities. Indeed, if blame for Brexit can be laid in a single place it is at the feet of British judges. Politicians repeatedly told us they were hamstrung on issues important to the public because of EU laws and the way they had been interpreted.

      The damaged reputation precedes Brexit.

      The Leave voting public know what they were promised in the referendum. If this had been a matter of contract being heard in a civil court the judges would have found, unhesitatingly, in favour of the consumer.

      Therefore, at least fifty percent of the population is going to suspect a stitch-up when the SC supports the HC. I’m afraid no amount of reasoning is going to change this. Perhaps only words from The Queen will heal this rift.

      I’d like to remind you that it was Remain that forced this dangerous Judges vs People situation.

      • Malcolm Lidierth
        Posted December 11, 2016 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Understood, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

        For “words from The Queen”: it’s 10th December, 80th anniversary of Edward VI signing his letter of abdication. A suitable moment for Speech at Tilbury II?

  25. Embarristering
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    If the Supreme Court accepts as valid but 10% of “reasons Article 50 and Brexit are illegal ” then the remedies are so bureaucratic that it would mean effectively we would never be able to leave the EU. We would NEVER even if 100% of us vote Leave, be able to cater and address the legal problems relating to domestic law.
    Prisoners in our own land.
    In realpolitik, we will leave. Yet we will leave with a legal system that is self-compromised and self-idiotised.

  26. ian
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Will they change the law altogether now they have chance.

  27. Treacle
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    A Supreme Court is not a traditional part of the British constitution anyway. It was an unnecessary and unwarranted piece of Blairite constitutional tinkering.

  28. Much of a muchness
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    After this is all over and Mr Juncker rides off into the sunset on his ass, we do need a proper British Constitution.One which does not take, need, require or is beholden to laws and conventions dating back to Æthelred the Unready. I wish I were satirising. But in the Supreme Court references are being made to Henry VIII without someone from Monty Python jumping up at the back and proclaiming something half as silly.

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I do like hearing all these lawyers admitting/asserting that the European Communities Act 1972 changed our national constitution, introduced a new legal order, provided a new source of law … of course that doesn’t really fit in with europhiles’ misrepresentation of the EU as just a cozy “club”, which is why they prefer to keep quiet about until they need to deploy it as a weapon against our national sovereignty, which is what is going on now.

    At least in this case we haven’t had a lawyer trying to convince the court that EU law has entrenched itself and it is now impossible for the UK to leave the EU even if Parliament passed an Act saying that we were leaving, which is what the government’s counsel tried on in the 2002 Metric Martyrs case:

    “In the ‘Metric Martyrs’ case (Thoburn v. Sunderland City Council [2002] EWHC 195 (Admin)), attempts were made, but rejected, to run the proposition that the legislative and judicial institutions of the EU may set limits to the power of Parliament to make laws which regulate the legal relationship between the EU and the UK. It was argued that, in effect, the law of the EU includes the entrenchment of its own supremacy as an autonomous legal order, and the prohibition of its abrogation by the Member States. This argument was rebutted by the High Court, who noted that Parliament cannot bind its successors by stipulating against repeal, wholly or partly, of the European Communities Act 1972.”

    Incidentally the lawyer who tried to run that proposition is now an Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Communities:

    • APL
      Posted December 10, 2016 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Denis Cooper: “Incidentally the lawyer who tried to run that proposition is now an Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Communities”

      Nah! that’s just a coincidence.

  30. Lucky Bag
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Hysterically funny: Remainer MPs appearing on TV with uplifted honoured chins. Reason: five months since the Leave vote, they have with great ceremony after the most boring post-date event “debate” in living memory, formally accepted an X in one of two boxes on a piece of paper. One is certain they expect OBE, MBE or a normally military accolade for those charging the enemy in support of their comrades without a care for their own personal well-being. They should be given a booby prize by being offered a sweetie from a deep paper bag enclosing primed mouse-traps and squeaky toys. Childish. Befitting their mindset however.

  31. hefner
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I guess it was obvious that the Commons would vote for an Art.50 letter, and will also vote later on for any subsequent text enacting the result of the referendum, once the Government has finally made its positions clear.
    Those who are day after day after day on this or other blogs crying woolf for “Remoaners” are just hardly thinking readers of a certain press, which is presently making a mint from the fears it keeps instilling in those poor old souls.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Or maybe they are readers of Prospect, “The leading magazine of ideas”, mainly of a left-wing variety:

      “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.

      That was in August, here’s an article from the present issue:

      “Prevailing opinion seems to be moving in the direction of Nigel Farage—for whom it is obvious that a single 52 to 48 vote suffices to establish that the People of Great Britain demand Brexit. But this is not obvious at all. To the contrary, the 23rd June vote is best understood as the beginning, not the end, of an intensive period of popular debate and decision … ”

      In other words, let’s re-run the referendum campaign.

  32. NA
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Boris has just said Saudi Arabia is the puppetmaster behind middle eastern wars. And everyone is “playing their proxy wars”.

    Well done Boris, keep telling it like it is.

    • rose
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      The PM should bear in mind what happened when PM Lord John Russell “slapped down”, as the media love to put it now, the Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston. There was hell to pay and he resigned, saying alright do it all yourself. He then went on from strength to strength to enjoy a very long and successful career right at the top of the tree.

      I often think these graceless and disloyal remarks which emanate from nos 10 and 11 are caused by deep insecurity and envy.

    • rose
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      Just heard on Sky, an Arab take on lying abroad for one’s country: “People should not use these kind of honest language.”

  33. norman
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Way off topic, but a matter of life and death for many hapless civilians – I am inclined to say ‘well said Boris’. What is the UK Government doing to resolve the humanitarian disaster in Yemen? Are we, once again, ineffectual – or possibly worse, complicit? One seriously wonders what is being done in our name – or not being done, and should be – to speak up for the innocent sufferers of these insane conflicts. Our ultimate security and self – respect as a nation is in truth and justice, not solely oil – important as that is.

    • NA
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      Well said Norman

  34. Roy Grainger
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Interesting submissions to the Supreme Court today going way beyond the A50 issue, basically saying Brexit itself should be stopped as it infringes the human rights of EU children living here who could immediately be deported. An argument cleverly designed to appeal to our activist judges.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      If/when Parliament passes a new Bill to give the government fresh and unequivocal authorisation to trigger Article 50 it will not be voting to deport children or their carers from other EU member states, or indeed to remove any well-behaved citizens of the other EU countries who have already settled here legally and at the invitation of our Parliament and government. It’s a great pity that Theresa May was badly advised and has made their future position here conditional not upon their own personal conduct, as would be fair, but on the conduct of politicians in their home countries, which would not be fair. However I saw that chap saying that the UK should quickly get bilateral agreements with the other countries across the EU apparently in ignorance of the fact that she has been trying to do that but has been told by at least some that it is not their choice, they have to wait to see what the EU decides before they can say what will happen to UK citizens in their own countries, and of course the EU will not negotiate on that or anything else until the Article 50 notice has been served.

    • Juliet
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      They would stop at nothing just to block Brexit.

      If EU people are living legally in UK and working then there is nothing to complain about. But it’s probably the one’s who have been here recently and less than 5 years and not working are expecting some kind of automatic residency. I think there many EU Citizens and UK Citizens in EU27 countries are in limbo as neither UK/EU have yet to confirm residency status, and EU citizens facing backlog to become British Citizens.

      • rose
        Posted December 9, 2016 at 12:56 am | Permalink

        David Davis said in the H of C that anyone here for 5 years would have indefinite leave to remain, or could apply for British nationality; and anyone here for two and a half years would qualify by the time we have left.

        I fear there are lawyers all over the country making money out of this, aided and abetted by Project Fear.

        • Anonymous
          Posted December 10, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          Can you honestly see our Government (whichever party) putting up decent borders, let alone deporting people ?

          I watched HIGNFY the other night and Ian Hislop accused the UKIP representative of being anti immigrant. She rebutted that UKIP was not anti migrant (indeed, that would be illegal) but for selective immigration.

          Hislop “Well that didn’t quite come across during the referendum, did it !”.

          No. But I heard the Leave side say it many times only to be drowned out by the lies told by Remain. That we are racists and want the country surrounded in razor wire. Now they are lying to the Supreme Court.

    • rose
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      Did you also think the hectoring SWP type tone of this submission, which seemed to be haranguing the judges personally for being responsible for what would happen to the poor EEA children, was staged to make them feel guilty and thus bound to adjudicate in his favour? Or did it just come naturally? It was remarkably different from all the others.

    • Mark
      Posted December 8, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think it works. The judges know they always find excuses to prevent deportations, so no rights would be infringed.

  35. Whistle-blower
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    The government’s James Eadie, as I write is, by my own analogy, putting the case to the Supreme Court Justices that in regard to “prerogative”and Brexit ,that “The Constitution” and those matters arising from it as defined by Mr Pannick QC, is that of grammar-rules as in a Grammar textbook ( though giving examples ), as opposed to real-life writing creatively in an ongoing novel with contextually implied meaning which, taken out of context , may or may not find justification in a Grammar textbook.
    Such application of text-book grammar would render invalid books by George Elliot which I believe was either Mill on the Floss or Middlemarch in which she ( yes George was a she ) referred to “surprised flautists”…in that their eyebrows when playing are raised as if surprised.
    In memory and light of our literature and our Kingdom: one wishes the Supreme Court would go forth and deliberate.

  36. really
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    That MI5/6 man’s speech begs the question
    What has the security service been doing while British sovereignty has been handed to the communist EU ?

  37. Camel
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    The Supreme Court Justices, ones who were able to see references online and those unable to see references online but only in paper print-out, were visibly and audibly extraordinarily slow in picking out mentioned files/part-files and historic quotations made by the government’s Counsel

    By contrast, and although the case put against the government was voiced in greater complexity, given many more references, and in very quick-fire utterances, were, nevertheless, taken as read.

    There did NOT seem to be any misunderstanding by the judges as to the location of the information nor any time whatsoever taken to access the information which would be a challenge to the most able typist/computer operator. Not any time taken whatsoever to actually READ the information as was the case with that of the QC supporting the government.

    Perchance after the first two days of the Supreme Court having difficulties with government presented information, they fortunately got the hang of it… quite in time for receipt of information as presented in opposition to it.

    Well, education is a life-long process. One judge gave a kind of reassurance that despite any silly notion: the Court would not be deciding whether we should stay or leave the EU, merely the mechanisms/processes to be used.

    This reminded me of a James Bond movie Quantum of Solace starring Daniel Craig in which Bond transports Mr Nasty far into the desert where he does not DECIDE if Mr Nasty can or cannot drink water. ..merely informs him by transportation to a certain location just what processes he must use, if or if not available in good time, to acquire it.

    It is to be hoped the Supreme Court gets back into the real world before it delivers its verdict in January. It has become, as we have all witnessed, before our very eyes quite adept at quick learning.Perhaps over Christmas it will educate itself about drinking and just how long it will take to journey to ones pub. It may give them an inkling.

  38. Juliet
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Did the Parliament vote in the Commons on Article 50 make the Supreme Court outcome redundant.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 9, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      No, if the objections raised by the bad losers are upheld by the court then a vote by MPs will not be enough to overcome them, it will need a full Act. And moreover a very carefully worded Act, to anticipate and defeat further legal challenges.

  39. Reality
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    The judges..and all the legal to-do has not fooled anyone. Had the referendum vote been Remain and its result required prerogative powers then there would have been no legal challenge. Nor, the Supreme Court, coughing over their morning newspapers,cornflakes and woodbines, proclaiming “Oh this won’t do!!!! ” Even though, failing to report a crime is a crime in itself”

  40. Frankly my dears
    Posted December 8, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    The nonsense of the Supreme Court and the High Court has been force fed to us. We are lectured by people not of our inviting..
    We know what we voted for. We know the result. No amount of grooming by the Courts, media, learn-ed ones will pervert us by their elaborate but transparent deception. The signing of Article 50 must be done according to the promises made by all parties. The Supreme Court was not invited to any of those parties. Its opinion on any noise emanating is none their business. They live in a completely different neighbourhood like a mental trailer-park. Go home!

  41. ferdinand
    Posted December 9, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Eleven Supreme Court judges being called irrelevant. They are even outdoing the European Court. Good for Parliament.

  42. Oliver Bennett
    Posted December 13, 2016 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    Redwood, your nonsense is starting to sound so old, parochial and irrelevant for the coming problems this decade, this century. I’m almost nostalgic for your brand of quaint 20th century small-mindedness. The Britain you are fighting for is not coming back, you cannot keep your bubble from bursting as the economy slides away for most of the rest of us. Unfortunately we are all heading towards a tipping point, beyond which things will be a lot less of what they are now. Retire, go rest on your millions in one of your holiday homes offshore sipping pink gins in the sunset! You’re no longer capable or required, old son.

    Reply I do not have a holiday home and do not drink gin. I have a job to do. There are many things needed to promote the prosperity of the UK.

  • 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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