That article 50 letter

Yesterday the various amendments proposed to the Leaving the EU Bill were voted down. Labour decided not to press one of their main ones to a vote because the government offered assurances that Parliament will get to vote on the final deal, to be held before the European Parliament votes on it. That vote will be about whether to accept the new Agreement or to leave without one.

During the exchanges the fundamental question of whether sending the Article 50 is irrevocable or not came up.  I argued it is. The Treaty makes no provision to withdraw the letter or to cancel exit two years later, which is automatic with or without a deal. The Treaty says if you start to leave and change your mind you need to reapply for membership. You do not simply keep or reinstate the membership you proposed to quit.

I reminded the Commons that both the Attorney General and the Remain lawyer in the Supreme Court case argued that the  notice to leave is irrevocable. In finding against the government on one count the Supreme court had to rely on the irrevocability of the process. It is only because the change of leaving becomes inevitable when the letter is sent that allowed the Court to say Parliament therefore had to pass an Act and could not just do it by debate and vote. Predictably the Remain side who were so keen to use this argument to win in court now have changed their mind and say it may not be!

I will post the exchanges later today.


  1. Freeborn John
    February 8, 2017

    I do hope that you and your EU-sceptic colleagues will take advantage of the “take it or leave it” vote promised by the Governmnet yesterday to ensure a clean Brexit. It is likely that any deal agreed by Theresa May, the EU27 and European Parliament will involve a large divorce bill, ongoing contributions to the EU budget, bind us to many aspects of single market regulation and its oversight by the ECJ as well as EU “Home Affairs” measures such as the European Arrest Warrent and ongoing EU citizenship (which seems a likely demand by the EU Parliament). The “take it or leave it vote” is a golden opportunity to reject all that historical baggage and I do hope EU-sceptic MPs will coordinate effectively to make the most of that opportunity.

  2. stred
    February 8, 2017

    Off subject. Could you write a piece on the EU and its work with the IOM or the UN migration agency. Co-incidentally, I came home and saw an interesting documentary about Sicily on BBC4 last night. The Italian coastguard was shown, picking up ‘refugees’ or economic migrants of the young male variety, and they said how proud they were of their work. The work of the IOM is shown on the facts4eu> site. The mayor of Palermo was interviewed and said that the ‘refugees’ would head for London or Paris, as Italy had no prospects for them. He seemed proud of his work.

    It appears that the EU is actually working with the IOM and Mrs Mekel’s blunder may actually be EU policy, quietly hidden from the population or ‘populists’, as they have been labelled.

  3. Prigger
    February 8, 2017

    Remoaner Amendments were without merit. They were meant as obstacles.
    Democrophobic MPs.

    1. Brigham
      February 8, 2017

      There are only two factions now. Leavers, and those who want to ignore the referendum. They are all lying when they say it’s scrutiny they want. They really want to destroy our exit, and destroy our chances of a good deal with the EU. They should be told that we know what they are doing, and this should be repeated to them ad infinitum.

  4. Newmania
    February 8, 2017

    Should anyone need to be renmiknded of whgata worthless and disfunctional insitution Parliasment is its inablity to represmnet half the country one tiny bit conmfirms it .
    The ongoing consequence is that there is no legitimacy whatsoever to this shabby coup to which no-one need feel any loyalty or respect

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      February 8, 2017

      Following a debate where various sides of the argument were presented and considered the bill was passed.

      All sides were represented. As with many activists you confuse your will with democracy.

    2. Henry Rogers
      February 8, 2017

      Newmania, You may not like recent events, and that’s your democratic right. The fact that you don’t like them in no way invalidates decisions made so far in the Courts and in Parliament as a consequence of a referendum set up by Parliament.

    3. zorro
      February 8, 2017

      The feeling can, but need not, be mutual…… 52% actively voted to leave the EU. I can assure you that a lot of people who voted Remain would not have actively voted to join the EU, and did it holding their noses or because they had been media zapped to not vote for bogus ‘cliff edge’….. ’emergency budget’…..’economic collapse’ nonsense. Don’t worry, you will survive, you may progress and actually thank those who voted for freedom ✌️✌️


    4. Know-dice
      February 8, 2017

      The referendum was a “binary” choice Remain or Leave, as such it was inevitable that one side would feel hard done by in the event of a close result.

      I’m sorry but those that voted Remain will have to live with that.

      Get onboard and make sure that leave is successful rather than this constant back biting.

    5. Denis Cooper
      February 8, 2017

      Good to see you showing your true colours.

    6. Ed Mahony
      February 8, 2017

      Respect though to Mr Redwood who isn’t precious enough not to publish your highly critical comment.
      I don’t agree with him overall on the EU, but he argues his case well, and is a worthy opponent (plus he isn’t a schmoozer like so many politicians and people in the media are today)! (And our country couldn’t have had two better unofficial leaders of the Eurosceptics and Europhiles than Redwood and Clarke).
      At the end of the day, it’s my view that the blessings of our country aren’t in the hands ultimately of any politician – important as that may be – but in the hands of God (the Christian God), and the more people pray for our country’s future, the better we all be for it.

      ‘You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life’ – Winston Churchill

      1. Peter D Gardner
        February 9, 2017

        I tend to agree. Although I haven’t read all the evidence presented to the High and Supreme Courts my impression is that the Court did not make a judgment on the question of irrevocability of the notice because it was not asked to do so.

        My reading of the treaties is that there is nothing in them to prevent a notice being withdrawn. The requirement to re-apply for membership applies only after withdrawal is concluded, not when notice of the intention is given.

        Reply The whole argument in the finding against the government depended on irrevocability!

    7. Richard1
      February 8, 2017

      There was a referendum which had a clear result. What would you suggest as the next step – ignore it?

    8. Oggy
      February 8, 2017

      You are referring to the EU parliament aren’t you ?

      What concessions did 40% of the country get in 1975 when they voted to leave the EU and lost ?
      Answer – none !
      What did they do ?- accepted the result and got on with it – just like you should !

    9. Anonymous
      February 8, 2017

      Newmania – A significant proportion in the Remain side wish to go along with the referendum result, I think you’ll find. To their minds ignoring a democratic vote is a greater evil than leaving the EU.

      The recent Parliamentary vote by a large majority to activate Art. 50 indicates that this is a widely held opinion. The referendum itself was granted by Parliamentary Act. So WHAT coup are you talking about ?

      Oh the irony of Remainer Claire Perry accusing Brexiters of hysteria and then calling them ‘jihadis’ ! So similar to the double-think you seem to have.

    10. gf
      February 8, 2017

      I think you mean less than half of the country, the minority.

    11. Anonymous
      February 9, 2017

      I calculate (in the next topic discussion) that it isn’t half the country resistant to Brexit. It’s around 8% pro-rata from the result of the Art 50 vote.

  5. Mick
    February 8, 2017

    Watched the debate yesterday and day before, my wife says I shouldn’t because it gets my blood pressure up especially when the likes of glegg salmon sourbry Tim what’s his name and others come on spewing there bile on trying to keep us in the dreaded eu, can only hope Mrs May calls a GE to get rid of these muppets

    1. Denis Cooper
      February 8, 2017

      Just wait till it gets to the Lords!

    2. turboterrier
      February 8, 2017

      @ Mick

      So right old boy, when Cleggs, Salmond, Sturgeon Soubry are about to be interviewed on the radioand TV they should all be preceded with a health warning to ease the pressure on the A&E units across the country.

      With all that is happening over there I do not hear one of them give one reason to stay and how much it will cost for the priviledge. Sadly it highlights how many second rate politicians we the country have put in to parliament who are incapable of thinking outside the box.

      Yes we do need a GE to get rid of them and drain the swamp.

  6. alte fritz
    February 8, 2017

    Another interesting question!

    As you say, everyone in the Miller case accepted (for their own reasons) that notice was irrevocable. Lord Reed (I think) raised an eyebrow at this but no more. There is respectable (but not conclusive) academic opinion that under the normal law of treaties, notices are revocable unless otherwise stated.

    Really, it all goes to show what difficult territory this is for lawyers. Never mind, as the BBC reported, an academic study has concluded that we Brexiteers are all so uneducated, we don’t count.

    1. Ian Wragg
      February 8, 2017

      I find it a badge of honour being called a Little Englander. The remainiacs don’t do irony.

    2. oldtimer
      February 8, 2017

      Not only uneducated; we are all, according to another opinion, all lager louts.

    3. zorro
      February 8, 2017

      Usual BBC standard tosh… academic study indeed….. people like uneducated Redwoood, former Oxford graduate, D Phil, and fellow of All Souls…. Oh but he was born in a council house. Is that what the elitist BBC mean as tbey look down their noses….?


    4. A.Sedgwick
      February 8, 2017

      The Supreme Court Judges probably didn’t vary their original opinions on the main issue given all the legal minutiae over the three day hearing but I suspect/hope they were keen to close other potential cans of worms e.g. A50 irrevocability and non powers of devolved administrations. There may be other Brexit legal nuggets buried in their Judgment.

    5. MikeP
      February 8, 2017

      Yes the continuous drip-feed of polls confirming the age and educational deficiencies of Leave voters is as deplorable as it is misleading.
      Those of a certain age, duped into voting to join the EEC but accepting it nonetheless, agreed with Cameron that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cast their vote. After all, they’d waited 40 years for the chance. But how many ordinary people went to university in those days, 3-4% in the 1950s/60s, Not many more in the 1970s, compared to over 30% now, so it’s hardly surprising that younger voters have better educational qualifications. and they probably walk upright and drive on the left too. We need fewer academic studies from the University of the Bleedin’ Obvious.

    6. Iain Gill
      February 8, 2017

      An academic study based on surveys. And as we all known surveys have proven to be wrong so badly they badly need a rethink. The few times I have been in a survey I gave them a incorrect answer in the spirit of “whats it got to do with them”.

    7. Lifelogic
      February 8, 2017

      The idea that Judges rule on the basis of “the law” is cloud cuckoo land in general. They nearly always decide on the basis of what they want to happen given their personal agenda. Then they twist the law to suit this agenda.

      That is certainly my experience.

  7. Roy Grainger
    February 8, 2017

    “That vote will be about whether to accept the new Agreement or to leave without one.”

    I doubt that. It will be modified by Remoaners so it is a vote to accept or to go back cap in hand to the EU and ask for something better, or even to stay in if they can manage it. The EU know this too, they now have no incentive at all to offer a good deal, they will offer a bad deal and hope to sway this final vote. To be fair as any deal they offer has to be approved by the Euro parliament then it has no chance of passing if it is advantageous to UK. The government concession has simply booted the problem two years down the road. Ultimately a general election will be needed to actually leave the EU.

  8. alan jutson
    February 8, 2017

    Pleased that some of these silly amendments are now being seen for what they are, just disruption and delay tactics.

    Pleased the eventual vote option will be to accept the terms negotiated, or leave without an agreement and trade under WTO rules.
    Let us hope our Politicians have enough sense to not try and change this at some later date, because if they do, it will weaken our negotiation position hugely.

    It has been a long hard road but at last we seem to be eventually getting on the right track, I hope the Lords do not want to shoot themselves in the foot with opposition.

    Keep up the good work JR.

  9. Tim L
    February 8, 2017


    I have to say that Oliver Letwin was in fine form yesterday.

  10. Mark B
    February 8, 2017

    Good morning.

    Art.50 is the point of nor return. It is the key to the exit door and in 2 years, more or less, we will be walking through it.

    Unless you want to rejoin the EU and lose all our opt-outs / opt-ins such as the Euro etc. and as we have seen elsewhere, when they (EU) control your money, they control not only your economy, but YOU !!!

    Whilst the ERM was a painful experience for many it has proved a blessing in disguise.

    For the first time in decades, I am beginning to see the light at the end of a dark EEC / EC / EU tunnel. Thing is, is that the light to freedom and full sovereignty or, an express train because we never did any real thinking and planning with regard to regulation ?

  11. Lifelogic
    February 8, 2017

    Will we ever get out under the ex(?) remainer May. The composition of the Commons, the tiny majority (due entirely to the dire Cameron agenda – similar to May’s) and the fact that the judiciary & legal professions, Lords, bureaucrats and the BBC are so heavily pro EU will all make it rather difficult.

    Theresa May’s and Hammond’s bonkers, lefty, interventionist, PC, red tape pushing, greencrap pushing, expensive energy, high tax borrow and piss down the drain agenda, the falling to pieces NHS and poor public services will all damage the economy, confidence and government popularity. Oh for a real Conservative as leader with some vision that is all that is needed. May is essentially a dithering Ed Miliband politically.

  12. Alan
    February 8, 2017

    I don’t think the treaty does say that “if you start to leave and change your mind you need to reapply for membership”. It just doesn’t mention what happens if a country that has said it wants to leave changes its mind.

    Usually if something is not specifically made illegal, then it is permissible, so we can infer that we can apply to revoke the Article 50 notification at any time up until the 2 year period has expired. I hope so. By then it should be much clearer just how badly our trade and international influence will be affected by leaving.

  13. Bert Young
    February 8, 2017

    Dancing off one foot and another is no way of representing this country . The people decided , a debate has followed , Article 50 is triggered . Negotiations will proceed and a deal will be struck . There is no going back , Scotland will not be able to torpedo , we will regain sovereignty . Put a full stop to any Clegg/Clarkeism and gag Bercow . I like things to be simple and straightforward .

  14. Peter Wood
    February 8, 2017

    Mr. Redwood,
    Will Mrs May call a general election soon after issuing our notice to quit the EU? I do hope so, before the Labour party can replace their current leader.
    If Mrs May does so, may I suggest a manifesto winner: all foreign aid shall be suspended and that budget spent on improving the NHS until such time as there are no more people on a waiting list for more than 7 days and no more people waiting in an A & E department for more than an hour.

  15. Anonymous
    February 8, 2017

    Apropos the BBC yesterday. Douglas Carswell ‘fears’ their may be a boycott of the BBC licence fee by viewers disgruntled with its bias. This would be followed by lots of people who’d refuse to pay because they’d see others getting away with it. Neither the BBC nor the courts could cope with the prosecutions.

    I would never countenance a breach of the law but it is no wonder Speaker Bercow felt confident that he had a mandate to disrespect President Trump with the wall to wall anti Trump BBC coverage.

    In no way is he speaking for most British people.

    1. Anonymous
      February 8, 2017


  16. David Murfin
    February 8, 2017

    Years ago, as part of a law course, I studied what I think was the first European Community Law option. Two things quickly became clear. First, the general structure of ECL was quite different from the general framework of English Common and Statute law. (We didn’t study French law, for example, to see if it matched that) but second, it was soon clear that the EC laws were drafted to sustain the EC, not to sustain the rights of citizens. Rights were certainly stated, but no mechanism other than the EC structures to change laws that were unsatisfactory or even unworkable. You have to trust the powers that be, or ignore the rules.
    I predict that in two years’ time, the Commission will seek to change Article 50.

  17. ferdinand
    February 8, 2017

    It is sad that this has to be said again and again. The Remainers remain doggedly unreasoning.

  18. Lifelogic
    February 8, 2017

    Newsnight was typical last night all about housing and the white paper. Loads of criticism of the Conservatives but all from entirely the wrong lefty interventionist direction.

    The real criticism should be for their failure to relax planning, cut red rape, cut building regs, get more competition in banking for mortgages and development capital, cut utility connection rip offs and cut their absurd stamp duty and landlord mugging taxes. That is the only sensible way to more houses and cheaper rents. Also their open door immigration policy with no suitable provision for housing, schools, hospitals or new infrastructure.

    No one at the BBC (other than Andrew Neil), can ever think other than in absurd “Guardian brain” mode.

    Lots of people thinking that they should have a home just where they want it, suitable for their family on demand, with other taxpayers having to pay for it all. Yet still very ungrateful when given one!

  19. Chris
    February 8, 2017

    I wonder to whom Claire Perry was referring when she apparently said that some of the Tory Brexit supporting colleagues were like jihadists? See Guido.

    Is this really the calibre of person that we have to put up with in the House of Commons. I have no printable adjectives with which to describe her. I believe that she deserved a severe reprimand by Bercow, but apparently he is on a journey of his own, and apparently fails to fulfil his role appropriately.

  20. Brian Tomkinson
    February 8, 2017

    Keep up the good work. Many are still determined to overturn result of referendum and keep us in EU by any device they can use.

  21. Steven Muster
    February 8, 2017

    I think the UK will be a ‘test case’, for other countries to leave. Although difficult, I now believe it is the right thing to do in the long term. MP’s need to accept the end result, rather than delay Brexit.

  22. Original Richard
    February 8, 2017

    There is no need to worry about whether or not the A50 is revocable or irrevocable because the desire for the UK to leave the EU will only increase over the next 2 years as the illegal immigration and Euro (Greece etc) crises worsen.

  23. Antisthenes
    February 8, 2017

    When it comes to the law nothing is irrevocable on the simple basis that politicians make up the legislature and can make, change or remove laws. And as the EU is also capable of being economic in it’s application of the law a deal to revoke article 50 is indeed possible. If sentiment or the balance of power shifts to the remainers then no doubt they will use that fact to their advantage. The EU is going to spin out the Brexit negotiations in the hope that does happen.

    It appears that T May or at least her Brexit ministers are so far being sure footed in their approach to triggering article 50 and in their deal objectives. They appear to have competently seen off challenges and overcome obstacles. It is hoped that that competence will be repeated during the negotiation period. When things run to plan it worries me as plans rarely achieve all that was intended. So I am waiting for the first reversal but hoping that there will not be one.

  24. Mark
    February 8, 2017

    Delighted to see that the Bill remains unamended so far. I think that Article 50 makes clear that once notice is given, then exit is automatic at the end of two years, unless
    a) an earlier or later exit date has already been agreed as part of a completed withdrawal agreement, or
    b) there is unanimous agreement between the UK and the EU 27 that our membership continues for a further period potentially including indefinitely, under 50(3), provided that agreement is reached before the guillotine falls: after that, or if the UK has already left under an early departure agreement, it would have to reapply from scratch under Article 49 terms.

    There is no provision for the UK to withdraw its notice unilaterally.

    1. Mark
      February 8, 2017

      Moreover, there is no provision that exit agreement negotiations end until agreement is reached and concluded – whenever that may be. In particular:
      a) there is no requirement to still be a member throughout exit negotiations, which can continue even after the UK has left under the guillotine;
      b) there is no time deadline on negotiations written into the agreement except the deadline for any unanimous agreement to stay on beyond the two year guillotine;
      c) the obligation on the EU to negotiate and conclude the agreement survives exit, which means that if e.g. the current European Parliament chooses to reject an agreement put to it in early 2019, the one due to be elected in May 2019 will be able to endorse the agreement even though the UK has already exited (assuming we give notice next month according to plan).

      Exiting without a completed agreement in place thus does not mean that we don’t get an Article 50 agreement: the remaining EU 27 are Treaty bound to continue negotiating until we get one. That puts the UK in a rather strong position, I think.

  25. Jacqui White
    February 8, 2017

    I have been watching all the debates. Firstly I would like to applaud you for your speeches the last couple of days. My husband and I applauded when you mentioned England which is by far the largest part of the UK but you wouldn’t think exists according to these debates. I would like to know why it is ok to be Scottish, Welsh or Iris but not English!! Why do we have to say British when others can say they are Scottish etc. I was born in England and I am proud to be English. If that makes me a little Englander so be it. . All the amendments were designed to keep us in the EU . If the opposition stop Article 50 they may well end up causing civil war in this country, maybe that’s their intent! I don’t understand why they are voting for countituencies when it was a UK wide vote and a majority vote to leave. Instead of bringing the country together they are determined to make divides even wider. It is no wonder people don’t trust politicians anymore, those Ministers on European Committees must be remainers if they refuse help the Govt. The BBC have no doubt made the remainers think those who voted leave are too uneducated to make any decisions, how dare they! Do they know each individual and their educational history? If so how? Also on twitter feed they claim to know that 4 million people who voted leave have changed their minds!! I wonder if they can back this up and how they know this. I read a lot including twitter feeds and I can honestly say I have not read one where a leave voter has changed their mind! There have however been comments from people who voted remain but accept the vote to leave as that is democracy saying just get on with it and are disgusted by remainers MPs actions. They are obviously more democratic than most of the opposition. I have also read some who voted to remain would now vote leave.

  26. Peter D Gardner
    February 8, 2017

    A notice to withdraw may not be irrevocable, despite what John Redwood writes here. He refers to the court case in which both sides argued it is irrevocable and that the Court’s decision to require a vote in Parliament rested on this. However, is it not possible that the Court did not actually consider whether notice is irrevocable simply because it was not in dispute?

    I think the Lisbon Treaty is silent on this question. I think John Redwood is wrong to assert that, “The Treaty says if you start to leave and change your mind you need to reapply for membership. You do not simply keep or reinstate the membership you proposed to quit.”

    The relevant clauses of article 50 are:
    “2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. …..
    3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.
    5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.”

    Key points: the notice given is a notice only of intention. The Treaties shall cease to apply after the withdrawal arrangement takes effect or after two years. A state which has withdrawn, ie not one which has only given notice of its intention to withdraw, must apply to rejoin.

    Ergo, a withdrawing state has not actually withdrawn until the withdrawal agreement takes effect or at least not before the agreement has been ratified by both parties. Ergo the treaty does NOT say a state must reapply if it has started to withdraw and changes its mind.

    Sorry, Mr Redwood, but you are wrong on this one.

  27. Richard Butler
    February 8, 2017

    The people lend sovereignty temporarily to Parliament for 5 year periods. 68.8% of the counting areas voted to Leave. The percentage would have been greater had the entire Establishment not threatened the public with project myth. How dare pompous ‘liberal’ MP’s think they know best.

    PS – it is vital the likes of John are aware a mass internet expulsion of posters with right leaning views is taking place. This is the subject most people I know are discussing right now. Be aware this is the ‘liberal’ establishment seeking to control the public narrative. I suspect it will backfire and cause ‘liberals’ to become even more detached.

  28. Atlas
    February 8, 2017

    The sooner we exit the EU the better – especially because of all the “Global Warming” money-wasting schemes it has because of the German Green Party Dogma and influence.

  29. Augustyn
    February 8, 2017

    Superb speech by you in the Commons today.

  30. Margaret
    February 8, 2017

    Just home for lunch in time to see you make your speech in the HOC. Of course I have read all you said before , but have not listened to some of the ridiculous interventions.
    The remainer’s are still not giving up and attempt to make obstructions all the way. I love you Europe, I care for Spanish, Italian, etc every day and every patient is treated on equal terms , but I do not want to live with your rules any longer .
    A labourite tried to talk down the advantages of leaving . I would be fed , housed and stay in the same disrespected state if I stayed in the marriage , but I can do better, we can do better , we can lift ourselves out of subservience into our once great nation .

  31. fedupsoutherner
    February 8, 2017

    John, I know this is off topic but I am incensed that we are still sending out so much in foreign aid while our NHS and elderly are suffering. Why the hell are we giving money for China’s elderly while ours are suffering? Only today, my mother told me that her care assistant didn’t arrive to dress and shower her until 11.30am and yesterday her carer who is supposed to get her lunch arrived at 14.30 after a phone call from my mother to the care providers for the council. The carer who comes out in the evening to put her to bed has told her it is her last day as she is fed up working from 8am til 9pm without a break. She has got a new job in a care home. Isn’t it time we started looking after our elderly instead of giving out money to foreign countries? What has become of this country when we cannot look after the people who have set up the NHS for us? The whole thing is scary considering we are all getting old..

  32. Jack
    February 8, 2017

    Collapse in oil prices has impeded Scotland’s economy and caused it to fall behind rUKs in terms of growth. 2.2% annual GDP growth for the UK is anaemic, so imagine how bad Scotland is doing. This inevitably will breed support for Scottish independence. I hope you understand this and argue for massive payroll tax cuts and other government spending measures to boost the whole of the UK’s economy.

    We desperately need to put the UK government’s monetary sovereignty to use. After Brexit, we could easily hit a minimum of 6% annual real GDP growth, almost certainly more, just by expanding the UK government’s budget deficit to provide the necessary aggregate demand for a <1% unemployment rate and massive productivity growth (productivity is ultimately what makes us all rich).

    Please at least consider this, Brexit could go horribly wrong if the fiscal deficit gets to small and strangles the economy further. The future of the UK is in great peril.

  33. David B
    February 8, 2017

    My only comment is that the EU like to change the rules if it suites them.

  34. gf
    February 8, 2017

    Rumours that House of Lords may propose amendments to A50. Time we created a new elected smaller upper chamber.

  35. Simon
    February 10, 2017

    John, Just a brief point on irrevocability. I did not agree with you in the House and I do not agree with you here. At first instance and later in the Supreme Court the government conceded for the purpose of the hearing that the notice was irrevocable. The Court then proceeded on that basis. The court did emphatically not decide or state whether it is or is not. They did not consider it at all. And furthermore they do not in any event have the power to do so. The real position is that the legal profession and academics are split on the question and until it is tested in the relevant court no one will know. This very issue is currently before the Dublin Court – they will refer it inevitably to the ECJ. Then we will find out.

    Reply The whole adverse judgement rested on the irrevocability assumption. Are you accusing Pannick of lying?

    1. Simon
      February 11, 2017

      Of course not. I watched the entire appeal. But once two parties to litigation agree to adopt a common position on one issue or at least not challenge it they may have at it. And they do. Two points are pertinent. Firstly the reason the Govt conceded what might have been a very powerful point was that the court would almost inevitably have referred the question to the ECJ. A route the Govt was obviously determined to avoid. Secondly the Supreme Court here does not in any event have any jurisdiction to rule on either a term of a treaty (Article 50) or an act of the Council (eg refusal to permit withdrawal of Art 50 – if they ever did).

      John the internet is awash with learned uni law professors describing all these matters. Google is your friend ! Suggesting the alternative view by saying someone else must be lying is a straw man argument. Unworthy of you. Lord Pannick was entitled to argue as he did for the reasons I give.

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