Constitutional change

The government’s defence yesterday of its action to prorogue Parliament was simple. They thought their actions were entirely legal and based on precedent. This was confirmed by the English High Court. The Supreme Court then decided to create a new legal test over prorogation and change it from being a matter for government and sovereign to decide into a matter than is justiciable under the new rules of prorogation set out by the Court. The government accepts their ability to do this. It will fall to a future Parliament to decide if Parliament wishes to continue with the approach set out by the Supreme Court or if it wishes to legislate to change the approach.

The heart of our constitution rests on a series of checks and balances. Our constitution is written down in various Acts of Parliament, court decisions, the rules or Standing Orders of Parliament and precedents where executive power has traditionally been used. An activist Supreme Court can change our constitution. An Act of Parliament can change our constitution. Executive action can change our constitution, as with the decision to negotiate and enter into the EU Treaties, though these were also subject to confirmatory Acts of Parliament. Parliament often passed them under government guidance that we would be failing to meet out international obligations entered into by the executive at the end of the negotiation if the Bill was not passed.

There is a daily battle between the three elements of the constitution. Parliament regularly criticises the executive and seeks to amend or change its ways. Courts regularly review government decisions and sometimes find them wanting. Government seeks more discretionary power by seeking wide ranging powers in Acts of Parliament, or general approvals of spending with considerable freedom to decide the detail of programmes.

In two wide ranging prerogative areas, the power to declare war and the power to negotiate a treaty, Parliament increasingly asserts its right to approve or prevent the decision . Past great wars have been entered into on the basis of substantial cross party support. Other wars have proved more contentious and have needed Parliamentary majorities with votes.

The battles so far over Brexit have concerned the need for an Act of Parliament to send the letter of notification of withdrawal, and the refusal of prorogation owing to the importance of the Brexit issue. The biggest clash lies ahead. The government claims it has authority to take the UK out of the EU on 31 October. There are two Acts of Parliament to that effect, a referendum vote and the 2017 Election result. It is the government’s job to negotiate a possible new Withdrawal Agreement and to decide on a No deal or a Withdrawal deal exit. Some in Parliament say its European Withdrawal Act No 2 trumps the other two pieces of legislation and expects the Courts to enforce its requirement of the Prime Minister to seek a further delay in our exit. Is it good law to demand a PM to do the opposite of his promises and Manifesto? How are its terms enforceable?

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222 Comments

  1. Helena
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    There have been two big clashes in the courts so far, the sending of the Art 50 letter and prorogation, and both concerned the same question – which is superior in our system, Parliament or the government. In both cases the courts decided – Parliament. In both cases you complained, and argued instead in favour of the government. It shows you have no understanding of the foundations of democracy

    • Edward2
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      If Parliament is in charge Helena how does that relate to election time when we vote and decide on a government.
      Usually we look at the record of the current government and see what policies and laws they have introduced.
      Then we consider the effects of those government decisions versus what all the opposition parties say they will do differently if elected instead.
      Democracy is also about accountability.
      How will you decide who to hold accountable and who to vote for if the whole of Parliament is in charge?
      How will you know what policies Parliament will decide to enact?
      The individual party manifestos become meaningless.

    • John Probert
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      The foundation of democracy is the will of the people
      The government is carrying out the instruction of the people
      Parliament is seen as being obstructive

    • John Fitzgerald
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      So what do you call 17.4 million people being ignored, democracy. Double standards!

    • libertarian
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Helena

      You might want to check facts before posting, stops you looking stupid

      Oh and you couldn’t spell D E M O C R A C Y

      #Justicefor17.4m

  2. Garland
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    You write: “Some in Parliament say its European Withdrawal Act No 2 trumps the other two pieces of legislation and expects the Courts to enforce its requirement of the Prime Minister to seek a further delay in our exit”. Well, of course it does. Parliament is always free to change the law. That is how our constitution works – in fact I think you wanted to leave the EU to emphasise that. We are not leaving on 31 October – unless a deal is passed. That, quite simply, is the law of the land

    Reply IT did not repeal the other laws

    • dennisambler
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      It may well be that we leave on October 31st because the EU wishes us to, by not granting an extension.

      If that is the outcome, will Gina Miller and John Major with their backers, take the EU to the Supreme Court? Oh, they can’t. The ECJ? I doubt it. What then?

      We would leave without a deal, not at the PM’s behest, but at the behest of the EU, enforcing the implementation of Article 50, voted for by Mp’s, the 2 year notice period of which ran out in March this year and was extended to October under sufferance.

      Would these litigators seek to jail Boris Johnson for breaking the law they have recently created, when it would not have been at his volition?

      We live in interesting times.

    • Leonard Mills
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      For heavens sake, a subsequent law overrides any earlier inconsistent law. How can you possibly not know that? A Not-very-good politics A level student knows that

    • libertarian
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      Garland

      Wrong, you might try reading the Benn bill to see that what you stated is not so, It says UNLESS a deal is agree we have to seek an extension of Article 50

      If the EU doesn’t grant an extension, we leave

      suck it up buttercup

  3. Richard1
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    I watched extracts of PMQs yesterday. The BBC’s reporting of it today is tendentious in the extreme. Boris Johnson was measured fluent and polite in replies to questions often delivered in an hysterical tone. He was entirely right to accuse Labour MPs of humbug when they object to his language, describing the surrender bill for what it is. What about all this talk from the EU- fanatical left calling Boris a “dictator” and in some cases a fascist, and likening the current situation, absurdly, to 1930s Germany? Is that not immoderate and extreme language?

    • Anonymous
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Andy and Newmania here. Their language is typical of Remainers I experience everywhere.

      Remainers/federalists are by far the gobbiest people. Always have been.

      They assume they are always right which is why they didn’t see a Leave vote coming.

      Take Gary Lineker yesterday. “I am on the side of right.” To which I would say he may be, but he is the face of BBC sport and should resign if he wants to be a political commentator.

  4. Pete S
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    The SC ducked the main question. They really judged that the proroguing was too long. They were cowardly, so as not to have the guts to say what was too long. They used a consequence of being too long as the reason they made their judgement.

    Bercow allowed the surrender bill, by saying it did not need Queens’s consent, which it does, and a money resolution which it does. The speaker is working actively to undermine Brexit for his political ends.

    A consequence of the SC judgement is that now a bill once passed by Parl, can have an injunction put on it before it gets Royal assent. That is because the SC rules that all actions outside of Parl are fair game.

    Three eminent judges ruled for the gov, the SC ruled 11:0. A full house not one dissenter; quite remarkable.

    It is now upto a strong gov to reform the biased HoL, Speaker’s powers, Supreme Court, selection of Judges.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 27, 2019 at 4:17 am | Permalink

      Agreed.

  5. Mark B
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    An activist Supreme Court can change our constitution. An Act of Parliament can change our constitution. Executive action can change our constitution . . .

    But the people, whose lives it affects, cannot. And when we finally get a chance to do so, we are, so far, being ignored.

    It is the government’s job to negotiate a possible new Withdrawal Agreement and to decide on a No deal or a Withdrawal deal exit.

    The EU have said that the WA is fixed and cannot be renegotiated. They are, judging by some statements, willing to revisit the Backstop but not remove it. So a Treaty, not an agreement, that parliament has rejected three times will be offered to them again.

    Article 50 (3) makes it perfectly clear. Either we sign the WA or, Leave. Parliament with its maneuverings have boxed us in. We cannot sign the WA, and we cannot Leave so, we effectively Remain. Parliament has paralysed the government, the country and BREXIT. It no longer represents the people but itself. It must GO !!

    • Mark B
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:25 am | Permalink

      Sorry, addendum.

      There is only one way out of this – A second referendum. Between signing the WA and, Leaving without one. Remain cannot be on the ballot paper as it lost and Leave has yet to be enacted. Plus, offer the Scots, Indy’ Ref’ 2.0 after we Leave.

      Simple.

  6. Pominoz
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    You explain it very thoroughly – but it still sounds like an Establishment plot to thwart the democratic vote to leave.

    The usual ‘Remaniacs’ where rampant yesterday and will no doubt be at it again today. However, it is not all over ’til the fat lady sings’ – and she has not sung yet!

  7. Shirley
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    Parliament is currently destroying everything in it’s path, in order to defy the electorate and Remain in the EU. They have no thought for the long term consequences of their actions.

    The Remainers in the Commons, Lords and judiciary are frauds and bullies and are willing to destroy democracy, and the whole of the UK, in order to Remain a vassal state of the EU with full on federalisation (which will follow, if they succeed), ALL without the consent of the electorate!

    I am disgusted that the UK as a country is being destroyed by a political junta and will lose all the respect it has gained over past centuries in order to keep it’s citizens captive in the EU.

  8. Roy Grainger
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    One big problem here is the fixed term parliament act which was hastily brought in by Cameron as a sop to his chums in the LibDems. It now transpires it is hopelessly flawed and not fit for purpose.

  9. dom
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    All very logical but without any reference to the fact that the Supreme Court is a political construct of the previous Labour government in collusion with the EU. Its fundamental purpose is not to be the final arbiter of judicial conflict but to be a judicial and legal opponent of British sovereign government

    Please, please let’s have a degree of realism in some of your articles rather than these tiresome attempts not to offend

    Your job is to expose inequity, abuse and threats. The Supreme Court encompasses all three

    The Tory party is late to the party, as always. Stumbling around in the dark like a clueless drunk incapable of action or rational thought

    The Tory party is still too Conservative. It used to be radical. It used to talk the brutal truth. At present it is still cowering in the corner

  10. Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    The Benn Bill was illegally enacted. Boris should NEVER have granted it Royal Assent. He has taught Parliament that it can flout our Constitution – as Previous executives have done by enacting Treaties that contradict Constitutional Law without EXPLICITLY REPEALING THAT LAW.
    All of these illegalities have brought us to this pass.
    The People, beginning to understand, are not amused!

    • Helena
      Posted September 27, 2019 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      Our Constitution has one rule and one rule only – Parliament can do whatever it wants. So your comments are about as wrong as it is possible to be

  11. Sea Warrior
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    What is key here is that we have a referendum decision being blocked by a Remainer Parliament. The Supreme Court either didn’t get that – or chose to ignore it. That a Supreme Court has made new rules, on the basis of a unique situation, to last beyond that situation, is, clearly, a nonsense. A legislative fix should therefore feature in our next manifesto – along with reform of the Supreme Court, reform of the House of Lords and repeal of the FTPA, which has clearly failed. FPTA was, of course, a law for a unique situation …

  12. steadyeddie
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    I voted Remain but am content to accept to leave if and when the government proposes a strategy to leave that provides the greatest benefit to the largest number of citizens. When will this government do its job to look after the interests of as many of us as possible and ignore the cries who demand ‘out at any price’.

    • tim
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      steadyeddie—How about, just leave, then give 700,000 people £500 each week. That is what we pay the EU every week for the last 50 years. Tell me one good thing about the EU?

      • Fred H
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        tim…..the EU is a fine example. How not to get embroiled into a pseudo dictatorship, ‘Hotel California’. ?

    • John Hatfield
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      In what way, steadyeddie do you think that EU membership has benefited the average UK taxpayer or consumer?
      Leaving the EU will save the UK a lot of money. It will will save every UK family about £1,000 pa in lower costs will remove Customs union tariffs that impose high prices on UK goods.
      What price do you put on our freedom?

  13. Caterpillar
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    It is clearly not good law to do the opposite of a manifesto (leave by 31st March 2019 with future relationship agreed in parallel or no deal?). Clearly either leaving should happen with no more extensions (and with future relationship defined or no deal) or there should be a GE immediately before any extension to at least pretend to give a nod to democracy. It would of course only be pretence, we hear the Lib-so called-Dem leader describe the PM as an “utter disgrace”, the leader of the party that stands against the UK’s largest ever democratic wisdom of the crowd exercise, a party that claims to want more proportional representation but acts against the conclusion from the most proportional. The term “utter disgrace” can label many antidemocrats in Westminster.

  14. Lifelogic
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Exactly is was a good performance by Gove, Cox and the rest of the government.

    Various rather demented (hysterical even), pro remain (mainly women) complaining about “dangerous language”. Things such as calling it Benn’s surrender treaty, traitors, sabotage, humiliation, betrayal, capitulation. These are quite appropriate words to use given the what the remainers are clearly doing. Of course the negotiation has “not been made easier” by the Benn/Grieve surrender/capitulation bill. It is a bill designed to virtually ensure that the UK get only an appalling deal offered.

    If anything the words were rather too moderate, given these people’s behaviour.

  15. Ben
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    Are we now at the point where we can assume that any Brexit-related case which comes before the “Supreme Court” will go against us, regardless of legal merit?

    It certainly seems that way. In which case, that is just another reason why we urgently need to elect a decent Leave majority in the Commons, upon a clear and uncompromising manifesto which will sort out all the nonsense, mercilessly, bill by bill, and allow the Parliament Act to be used to defeat inevitable blocking by the Lords.

    Remainers are making such a no-holds-barred approach absolutely necessary in order to deliver a real Brexit. But that won’t stop them complaining about it being somehow “unfair” when it happens. Nothing is ever their fault.

  16. Dan R
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Q1- Yes it may well be good law to demand a PM to do the opposite of promises made in manifestos. If this was Jeremy Corbyn in power trying to push his social revolution ideology, I would certainly appreciate an additional power to help stop his own evil power seeking mind. Boris however, has made it very simple, he only desires to administer Brexit and lift the economy. So this is the deadlock we are presented with- power seeking, social ideology from the opposition parties, against an administrative instruction from the people.

  17. EarleyRiser
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    That’s a simple one. The PM will go to jail for contempt of court if he refuses to obey the law.
    And that includes childish ploys like sending two letters. Or crossing his fingers when he signs the letter to say he didn’t really mean it.

    If you have any sense you will choose another leader quickly. Otherwise he will be the last Conservative prime minister.

    • MickN
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Can you please tell me which law he has broken and what the proscribed penalties are. I must have missed that.

    • Harka
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      No point in writing letters now looking for an extension- the EU won’t grant an extension without there being a valid reason- only thirty four days to go now and it’s quite possible the EU Council meeting scheduled for 17th Oct will be but back to 7th Nov since there will be nothing to discuss. So should be plenty to talk about at the post crash out meeting

    • Ben
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      You don’t mean “obey the law”, you mean “obey what I want the law to be”. Which is about as childish as it gets, as is not accepting a referendum result after 3 years because “I DON’T LIKE IT!”

      • Fred H
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        Ben …accompanied with lots of foot-stomping and shouts of ‘its not fair!’

  18. Dom
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    This is not an academic debate in some Oxbridge debating chamber. What we are seeing is a DIRECT attack on British democracy and the fundamental nature of governance. It is the Tory party’s fundamental responsibility to expose this collusion and take action to quash it.

    The Tory party is almost part of the problem. You are far too embedded to adopt a more robust approach to what needs to change

    You allowed that virus in 1997 to set up the SC. If Blair-EU can set it up then Johnson can dismantle it. The SC is a political entity not a judicial entity. It must be abolished when the Tories form the next majority government

    Dismantle all of Blair’s creations. Dismantle, purge and completely eradicate

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      You are completely misinformed.

      The Supreme Court replaces the House Of Lords as the highest court in the realm, mainly for ease of operation. It is overseen by the very same people who would otherwise sit there.

      It is, as Johnson himself said, administered by people of the highest calibre, who do their jobs in a way worthy of everyone’s respect.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        Martin……I just love it. You make it sound soooo sincere. I had a good laugh, which I needed.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        Administered by remainders to a man or woman.

    • Bob
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      UKIP would dismantle the SC.

  19. AndyC
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I watched quite a bit of the PM’s session yesterday. I’d estimate that around 80% of the current members of the Commons are not fit to sit there. The hysterics, fake outrage and manipulative emoting from the pro-EU side – from the speaker down – was revolting to behold and not befitting a chamber which purports to be a serious lawmaking body.

    The Conservative benches looked a little light during the evening, which worried me a bit. The PM performed well and so far deserves the full support of his party. With the caveat that he doesn’t try to reheat the withdrawal agreement, he certainly has mine and I hope he takes the gloves off and doesn’t concede an inch to this rabble of seditionists.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly.

      Just as you say:-

      “The PM performed well and so far deserves the full support of his party. With the caveat that he doesn’t try to reheat the withdrawal agreement, he certainly has mine and I hope he takes the gloves off and doesn’t concede an inch to this rabble”.

      A rabble largely made up of hysterical irrational loons, traitors and people who want to destroy Brexit while pretending/lying that they just want to stop a “No Deal Brexit”.
      Few are fooled by them.

  20. Mike Wilson
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    1) Our first past the post system means that, in terms of the number of votes achieved, we always have minority governments. The first change we need is a change to our voting system.

    2) Even given that, there is still the danger that parliament is not representative. Massive changes like nationalisation need to be approved by a majority of the people – not by a political party getting 9.5 million votes and winning a 66 seat majority as Labour did in 2005, for example. We need a Swiss style system with an referendum needed to make fundamental changes or to extend state power.

    • Andy
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      We had a referendum to change the voting system in 2011.

      The people overwhelmingly said no.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        true — the crystal ball was pretty murky. It has now been polished up and available for viewing.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted September 27, 2019 at 12:58 am | Permalink

        1) That referendum was for a ludicrously complicated AV system and the main two parties canvassed to get their partisan supporters to vote against as they take turns with power.

        2) As we are discussing constitutional change, maybe we should let the Supreme Court devise a democratic voting system.

        3) You are happy to accept the result of the AV referendum but not the EU referendum. What a democrat you are.

    • John Fitzgerald
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      We had a referendum in 2016, where did that get us? If we went over to a Proportional Representation or Alternative Voting system we would have permanent coalitions and constant elections, much like Italy. What a mess! Brenda from Bristol would be mortified!

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted September 27, 2019 at 1:15 am | Permalink

        And what we have now is not a mess?

        The post war governments under the first past the post system have:

        Ruined education putting this country way down the world tables.

        Ruined the NHS. I was offered a doctor’s appointment one month away yesterday.

        Ruined social care.

        Allowed our manufacturing industry to be located abroad.

        Allowed infrastructure to fall apart. Rural roads are a disgrace.

        Run down our defences – we barely have a navy and airforce now.

        Stolen pensions from the WASPI women.

        Under our present system there is no long term planning. Just one load of plasters after another applied to our economic and social problems. We need change but people like you DEFEND the current system!!!! It is unbelievable.

        Most people who vote Tory do so because they don’t want Labour. And vice versa. What an endorsement of the current system! And only the hundred odd marginal constituencies matter. Yeah, everything is great. Leave it as it is.

    • forthurst
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      How many of the votes which count towards the election of an MP are cast because a voter likes both candidate and his party’s policies and how often is the vote given to keep the other candidate out who is deemed even worse? This is no way to conduct a fair system of democracy.

      A major advantage of a fair electoral system which by definition means one in which all votes potentially count towards the election of a candidate or his party is that parties which no longer represent the aspirations of many people can decline and easily be replaced by new parties which are more in tune with the zeitgeist and that parties in which there is a schism as with the Tory or Labour party can simply split into new parties which represent their respective constituencies without necessarily disappearing electorally. This is how it happens in healthy democracies., e.g Italy has many problems but at least replacing old parties with new ones and old ideas with new ones is not one of them.

      Isn’t it strange how politicians like JR are all for modernisation except when it comes to their own profession with its factional claims for a particular Weltanschauung that it represents ‘authentic’ (Toryism, Socialism, Liberalism etc) and what the voters would want if they weren’t (thick, bigotted, unsophisticated, uneducated etc)

    • Fred H
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      more referendums ? – would anybody bother to turn up?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        But they will really, really, really promise (ever so sincerely) to implement the result this time (so long as the public get it right that is).

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted September 27, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

          Who the blazes are “they”?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted September 27, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

            The ones pushing for a second geremandered referendum of course.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted September 27, 2019 at 1:17 am | Permalink

        If they thought the result would be implemented, of course they would turn up.

  21. George Brooks
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    This whole mess has been caused by many MPs of all political parties breaking their manifesto promise to honour the referendum.

    To introduce a law to force others to break their promises and seek the courts to enforce it, is nothing less than treason. If it happens, it will mean that all the promises made in and outside parliament between 2015 and 2017 will be forcibly broken.

    If a similar body of people outside parliament acted in a similar way they would all be put in jail.

    These ardent Remainers are damaging this country immeasurably and they have created many of the forecast difficulties by not accepting the result of the referendum.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Well said George

    • Turboterrier
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      George. Have you ever thought of standing for parliament? With views like you have expressed are good enough for thousands of us.

  22. eeyore
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    One aspect of the SC judgement which, IMHO, has not received sufficient attention so far is the contention that prorogation is not a proceeding in Parliament. On this premise the court based its right to overrule the government’s action.

    In fact Parliament, like Caesar’s Gaul, consists of three parts. It is not just Lords and Commons but Queen, Lords and Commons. Legally and constitutionally the Queen is as much a part of Parliament as the two Houses. Any action by government involving the Queen is therefore “a proceeding in Parliament”.

    Maybe HMG should now ask the Supreme Court to declare whether HM is still a part of Parliament.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      The Queen has multiple roles and I think for the purpose of prorogation she is the Queen in Council rather than the Queen in Parliament.

      The example on page 9 of this House of Commons Library briefing:

      https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8589

      “It is this day ordered by Her Majesty in Council that the Parliament be prorogued on a day no earlier than Thursday the 27th day of April and no later than Friday the 28th day of April 2017 to Tuesday the 2nd day of May 2017, to be then beholden for the despatch of divers urgent and important affairs, and that the Right Honourable the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain do cause a Commission to be prepared and issued in the usual manner for proroguing the Parliament accordingly.”

  23. Sharon Jagger
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    A brilliant piece today Mr Redwood!

    I’ve read several accounts of scrutiny over the time since the referendum, and it would seem that the law has been used to break the law. There have been numerous queries as to the legalities of many of the remainers ‘ ‘legal’ actions.

    It’s been suggested that article 50 was mis-quoted by civil servants, and that the original wording suggests it’s only intended to allow one extension…to complete unfinished agreements/negotiations. (Stanley Brodie QC being one)

    Various authors suggest the Supreme Court judgement is just a power grab and that the judges have invented a new legal principle etc. Lawyers for Britain and other distinguished academics and practitioners such as former Parliamentary Counsel Sir Stephen Laws QC and Professor Ekins have all delivered strong criticism of the latest decision.

    What worries me are the implications on the constitution and the High Court and the role of HM the Queen.

    I’m sure all these critical legal eagles should join together and take the remainers to task, legally.

    • Bob
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      “I’m sure all these critical legal eagles should join together and take the remainers to task, legally.”

      Too late, the judiciary have chosen to side with the EU.

  24. Kevin
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    This reads like an attempt to rationalise what is happening, as if it were an
    organic development of our evolving Constitution. I do not agree. What is
    most apparent is that we don’t have a democracy. The only people who have no
    mechanism to alter the course of events here are the people. Even
    yesterday’s renewed calls for a GE clarify nothing. When will we leave the EU?

    • Willie Dann
      Posted September 27, 2019 at 4:11 am | Permalink

      We will leave it when you follow through on the promises made – great trade deals, same benefits as before, no changes in Ireland, money for NHS. Cough it up or cancel Brexit

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted September 27, 2019 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        No-one thought the EU would insist on such a terrible ‘deal’ that we would be forced to walk away.

  25. Tabulazero
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    “They thought their actions were entirely legal and based on precedent. This was confirmed by the English High Court”.

    No. The English High Court simply said that it was not within its remit to judge, something the Supreme Court disagree with.

    The English High Court said nothing about whether the government’s actions were legal or not and it definitely did not say that the government’s actions were legal.

    What you have written is either an honest mistake or an outright mischaracterisation of the truth.

    • Hope
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Tab, Completely wrong. Apologise to JR. Read a few articles in con woman and get yourself up to speed. Have a look at Professor Ekins Cambridge article it might help your lack of understanding.

      No it is not an honest mistake or mischaracterisation of the truth. You simply fail to grasp the issue. Apologise to JR.

      There was no law to break as it was a political principle changed by the Supreme Court to be a new law. By creating the law the SC made a power grab on the constitution.

      The High Court decided it was not a judicial issue as it was a political principle only , as was the case for when the prerogative power was previously used. They also made several inaccurate remarks. If it is not subject to the law courts it is not illegal.

      The judges in the Supreme Court case must now be scrutinised for their motivation, voting record, links to remain or leave campaigners etc.

      • Turboterrier
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        Hope
        Well said especially the last paragraph.

      • Garland
        Posted September 27, 2019 at 5:14 am | Permalink

        Hope, you need to read what the Supreme Court said, instead of just ranting. Lady Hale explained it like this – “a decision to prorogue Parliament (or to advise the monarch to prorogue Parliament) will be unlawful if the prorogation has the effect of frustrating or preventing, without reasonable justification, the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions as a legislature and as the body responsible for the supervision of the executive”. Got it? Nothing to do with Brexit, nothing to with judges being politicians. Simple law. Parliament must be allowed to do its job. Boris unlawfully tried to stop that

        • Edward2
          Posted September 27, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

          Then by that logic Garland, every prorogation of Parliament is illegal.
          Parliament will never be able to close.
          It will have to remain open 365/24 /7

          • Hope
            Posted September 27, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

            It was everything to do with Brexit the title of the case was clear on the SC website before they changed it! You still fail to grasp that this was hitherto a political matter made into a court matter by the SC in a power grab the SC having made the law then decided it was unlawful. This was never the case before. Again, wake up and grasp what happened.

            After the next election the matter will be corrected. We are not governed by unelected unaccountable judges.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      The power and solution is with Parliament.
      It doesn’t require involvement by the courts.
      Call a vote of confidence.

    • Pete S
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      The high court said it is not justifiable, therefore it is legal by their ruling.

    • Jagman84
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      “What you have written is either an honest mistake or an outright mischaracterisation of the truth”.

      As you have previous form for such behaviour, I will defer to your superior experience. Pretty much all of your contributions could be categorised in that way.

    • dennisambler
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      ” it definitely did not say that the government’s actions were legal.”

      It didn’t have to say it was legal, just whether it was their business or not. In saying it wasn’t, this did give legitimacy to the prorogation as a procedure of parliament.

  26. Fred H
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Sir John, your last 3 sentences sum up the issue nicely. Does the PM have the power to decide, or should the H of C vote on any contentious issue and overrule? Should the will of H of C differ with the PM, is the only way forward a Vote of No Confidence?

    • Fred H
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      meant to add ……and of course hold possible GEs every few months because the H of C regularly disagrees with the PM picked from the new government..

  27. acorn
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    If this was a half decent tin pot banana republic, we would have had a military coup d’état by now. Further public debate at social media or doorstep level is pointless. Westminster may as well be on another planet.

    We may as well just let the clock run down to 31st October, and do a default no-deal leave. Then let Boris and the ERG Brexiteers Party, lead us to the promised land where there will always be honey for tea. 😁

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Mmm, honey for tea. I can’t wait.

    • dennisambler
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      The attempts have been made, albeit not with the military, but with the judiciary. The idea that a sitting PM should stand down and a “caretaker”PM, Mr Corbyn, should take over without an election would be nothing less than a coup.

      You seem to have little faith in UK business and entrepreneurship.

    • Bob
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      If Boris gets put into prison for flouting the law (Benn-Burt Act) I’m sure that HMQ would grant him a full pardon for saving the nation from vassalage.

    • libertarian
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      acorn

      At last you’ve got it , well done

    • Ian Terry
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Acorn.

      Well said

  28. Ian Wragg
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    The Supreme Court has done a massive power grab. No legislation will be passed without their approval.
    At last the Judiciary have what they always wanted, complete oversite over government.
    Time to disband them.

    • miami.mode
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Ian, with “oversite” you are almost better than our host with his “wither” pun.

      Oversite: definition: an underlayer of concrete below a slab or other flooring placed to prevent disturbance of the ground below.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      We now enter not the rule of law but the rule of lawyers almost to to a man or women all ‘group think’ BBC types & remainers, with complete and utter contempt for the voters and democracy – especially the 17.4 million leave voters.

  29. Julie Williams
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Let’s leave democracy out of this: money has now beaten universal suffrage in our country..

    Let’s leave our Parliament and courts to one side and let them play politics over people, I hope the EU proves worth the damage if they get their way, we all know reform was needed.

    Let’s look at Article 50 and in particular, Article 50(3) instead. Was it really meant to be a miserable trap or was it meant to allow one extension to tie up loose ends? Has Article 50 been honoured by the EU? Maybe the European courts need to be asked properly.

  30. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Given what you write above why has this not been put before the courts to adjudicate?

    I assume because again the clock is being run down because there are not the numbers in Parliament to put up a fight.

  31. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    That, John, contains an interesting spin.

    The oddly-named High Court is in fact the lowest in the land capable of creating a common law precedent, as I’m sure you know.

    So it is not the place to challenge government. That, quite properly is the Supreme Court.

    That explains most of what exercises you and your followers.

    But let’s see if Johnson is as good as his word to the House. He says that he seeks a deal. Surely he would not lie to Parliament?

    If as he says he will, he reaches across the House and proposes a sensible customs union and single market arrangement, then that would pass, and all his problems would disappear. The country could then proceed to a General Election.

    What is not to like?

    It IS leaving the European Union, whatever the extremists claim. Nothing short of a blockade and a shooting war would apparently satisfy them, so why waste any time even considering their lunatic demands?

    • Edward2
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Remaining in the single market and customs union is remaining in the EU.
      Follow and accept all EU laws regulations directives and rules.
      Accept ECJ judgements.
      Pay billions every year
      No independent trade deals negotiated by us and beneficial to only us.

      Your idea is more than even the Withdrawal Agreement requires and that United all sides in Parliament to vote it down three times by big margins.

    • Jagman84
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Any possible CU & SM arrangements cannot be negotiated until after we have left the EU. Otherwise, all the other EU member states would wish to do the same renegotiation. You are asking for something that is not possible until we have exited. Even then, there is no guarantee that we’d get a better arrangement than other non-EU nations. The huge trade surplus that the EU has with the UK is probably the biggest incentive for the Brussels commissars to talk sensibly.

    • Richard1
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      The EU consists of the single market the customs union and the single currency, and perhaps a few other arrangements outside those headings. If the UK remained in the CU and the SM – what Mrs May’s WA in effect achieves – we may as well just stay in the EU. None of the potential advantages of brexit – whether you agree with them or not is another matter – would be achievable. When this became apparent to voters there just be a new campaign to leave cleanly.

      The alternatives are an arrangement based on free trade and mutual cooperation in various areas, or remaining in the EU.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Martin in Cardiff,

      Customs Unions are not sensible. They are trade diversionary, do not allow individual trade policy (e.g. UK cannot have progressive trade policy – see how eu is treating Cambodia and Myanmar). CUs automatically assume within the union that all trade is good – neoliberalism at the extreme, it is not clear that excessive choice through monopolist competition or monopoly creation through economies of scale are good, especially when we are post scarcity. At the very least they restrict the development of border technology.

      I want the people of the UK via democracy to vote for parties with trade positions, whether autocracy, completely free, progressive or some combinations thereof. Parties should have policies and we should get to vote, a CU does not allow this.

  32. agricola
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Both the WA and the Withdrawal Act No 2 were designed to keep us in the EU. As such they go against the wishes of the electorate as expressed in the 2016 referendum, and the manifestoes of both Labour and Conservative parties in the 2017 election.

    Reflecting the power vacuum we enjoy, there are too many blocs trying to assert ultimate power, Judiciary, Parliament, Government, Civil Service and the Establishment. Often inter connected and free to operate against the interests of the electorate in the vacuum created by the lack of a majority government. None are acting in good faith.

    The answer is an election which most parliamentarians do not want because it could end the vacuum in which they have been allowed to thrive, but it is the only way to end the present chaos.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 27, 2019 at 4:53 am | Permalink

      Good post.

  33. Ed
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Great article – really interesting / enlightening.

  34. Jack Falstaff
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Given that parliament, the courts and even the speaker appear to have been compromised in favour of Remain, I would argue that our constitution itself has been left severely damaged, given that there appear to be no checks and balances left.
    There should be sone sort of commission to investigate the concerted effort tthat has been made to undermine our constitution with the clear intention of stopping Brexit.
    Yet who could we possibly trust to conduct such an investigation with impartiality now?

  35. Tom Rogers
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    To achieve Brexit on 31st. October, either:
    a second prorogation is needed on some lawful basis;
    and/or,
    the Prime Minister should go to Brussels and request the extension on terms that the EU cannot possibly accept.

    Incidentally, I noted on yesterday’s blog the use of the word ‘Wither’. Unless I’m mistaken, I thought the correct usage in that context was ‘whither’ (with an ‘h’). Was this a deliberate mistake to check if we’re all awake, or did you have a different meaning in mind?

    • villaking
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Two corrections: The wording of the extension request is precisely stated in the new law and I believe you have failed to appreciate Sir John’s pun.

      • Tom Rogers
        Posted September 27, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        I appreciated that it was a possible pun – I alluded to this in my post – I just wanted to clarify the usage. I’d appreciate it if you would not ‘correct’ me or assume what I have or have not understood.

        The Act does not totally preclude executive discretion. My point is that there are ways in which a Prime Minister could make an extension request unpalatable to the EU.

        • Tom Rogers
          Posted September 27, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

          Here’s a link to the Act:
          http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2019/26/enacted

          Nowhere in there does it dictate how the Prime Minister can or should communicate with the EU or what he should tell them beyond the scheduled letter. The government must have lawyers who can unpick that and it would be easy for the Prime Minister to to provide a side letter setting out further conditions for the granting of the extension. It may even be possible to amend the letter itself without further reference to Parliament.

          • Bemused
            Posted September 29, 2019 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

            I followed the link to the Act. If the PM is required to seek an extension, Section 3 (Duties in connection with Article 50 extension) subsections 1-3 constrain the PMs actions in terms of dates and process. But I have a question about subsection 4, which states (in full)
            “Nothing in this section shall prevent the Prime Minister from agreeing to an extension of the period specified in Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union otherwise than in accordance with this section.” (my italics). Doesn’t this mean that he can ignore 1-3 and do what he likes ?

  36. Sydney Ashurst
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Are the 327 avowed pro-EU MP’s misusing the European Union (Withdrawal) (Nos 1 & 2) Act 2019, to prevent the will of the People -Brexit , taking place.
    Article 50 expired on 29th March without a withdrawal agreement being concluded, so strictly speaking the Treaties no longer apply to the UK.
    Article 50(3) provides for AN extension, and we are currently on a second extension as requested under the Cooper-Letwin Act. The UK’s is on life support in an undefined membership status in an EU no-mans land.
    Under paragraph 4 the United Kingdom Government (not Parliament) cannot participate in the discussions of the European Council or in decisions concerning it.
    Parliament is ignoring the conditions handed down with the two extensions. The sole purpose of the extension was to permit the ratification of the withdrawal agreement as written. It does not allow for reopening of the WA nor discussion of the Political Declaration (Kinnock amendment),
    The Government is hamstrung and the Benn Act is rendered pointless.
    Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said her party would try to force Johnson to request the extension sooner than the current deadline of 19 October. Can’t she read, especially the T & C’s. The extension granted under the request in the Cooper – Letwin Act remains valid until 31st October.
    The next question is how many extensions can the EU legally grant for extra time which Parliament does not use for the same set purpose of ratifying the WA .
    A further one, how do the LibDims revoke Article 50 when technically it has already expired.

  37. Chris S
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Watching the House of Commons proceedings last evening was most interesting.
    It is now clear that the Law Officers, including the Attorney General, were convinced that the prorogation of Parliament was within the power of the Government to authorise.

    In addition, in both Scottish and English Lower Courts, the Senator of the College of Justice in Scotland and the Lord Chief Justice of England, the Master of the Rolls and the President of the Queen’s Bench Division, were also of the same opinion.

    The Supreme Court somewhat surprisingly overturned both judgments and effectively set new law, limiting the power of the Government to prorogue Parliament.

    In these circumstances it does not seem appropriate for the Prime Minister to apologise because he had every right to believe that the advice he had been given was accurate.

    The deterioration in cross-party relationships in Parliament is entirely understandable because Remainers across the House are conspiring together to thwart the will of the people to leave the EU. The decision to Leave was clearly expressed by 17.4m voters in the 2016 referendum and the 80% of voters who voted for parties then committed to Leave the EU in the 2017 election.

    It is obvious that relationships in Parliament and across the Country will not improve until there is a General Election and a new Conservative Government implements the referendum result.

  38. JimS
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Where are the checks on the Supreme Court?

    What protection have the people got if eleven un-elected judges can invent law after the event and then retrospectively apply it, despite, as they admit themselves, with no evidence of any wrong-doing?

    By the Supreme Court’s own test their declaration that ‘this has nothing to do with Brexit’ is unlawful, so how do the people get to challenge that?

    With so many conventions being broken, ’emergency’ legislation passed and ‘law’ created on the fly the ‘remainers’ appear to be determined to destroy everything to keep us in the EU, but they won’t tell us why. It certainly isn’t to avoid a tarriff on BMWs.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 27, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      JimS,

      Line 1 there are no checks at the moment on judicial review. As many have pointed out since the ruling (rewriting law) there needs to be checks. Cox suggested political appointment to Supreme Court, others have suggested laws to restrict as in Australia.

  39. Alan Jutson
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    So the Supreme court decided that what The Prime Minister did was unlawful, but only after they had changed the original interpretation of the original law, which they decided after that action was taken. Thus meaning what the Government did was perfectly legal at the time, before the change was made.

    Or is that simply the interpretation of the Attorney General.

    So who has sovereign power, the Politicians who should represent the people, or judges who can develop the law the way they desire.

    What a mess !

    • Mark B
      Posted September 27, 2019 at 5:01 am | Permalink

      Alan

      After listening to the Attorney General, Sir Geoffrey Cox MP I came to the same conclusions as you. I also concluded that we have created a new Star Chamber.

  40. Ian!
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Good morning Sir John

    It appears dishonest to me that MP’s get elected on their pledges, then a Government is formed on its manifesto promise, Parliament then in acts a Law to ensure a promise is met. Then once power is achieved 75% sets out to rubbish in effect lie about the very things that got them into Parliament in the first place.

    Of course it is proper that you can have a change of mind or that circumstances change, but that decision should always be referred back to those that the promise was made to in the first place. i.e. re-stand in an election, local or national.

    Parliament is not Sovereign in its own right, it is the People that are Sovereign and they lend their MP’s this sovereignty.

  41. Unaligned Observer
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The Supreme Court was applying a long established and fundamental principle in our democracy that parliament is sovereign. It is supreme because the House of Commons consists of representatives whom we elect. Politicians like the taste of power and forever want more of it. The function of parliament is not only to create new laws but also to check that the government is using its powers properly – that is why we have the prime minister and other ministers required to answer questions in parliament. In any conflict between parliament and the government, parliament must always prevail. That is how our democracy works and that is what the 11 supreme court judges unanimously confirmed (together with three Scottish Court of Appeal judges: three English judges supported the government view in a lower court)

    • Mark B
      Posted September 27, 2019 at 5:03 am | Permalink

      It did not say prorogation was illegal but just the length to which it could be to stop parliament having its say. It did not specify what length it should be under these or any circumstances.

  42. Ian!
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Democracy seems to get interpreted by those who grab power.

    In a democracy it is accepted in the formal since, that Laws are made, scrutinized, amended and repealed on behalf of the People by those that represent the People. It is also accepted that once Laws are made by this process that there is a body that is held accountable to the electorate for its enactment.

    Parliament has tied it self up in a whole raft of laws that no one can take responsibility for, that no one is accountable for, as no Government of this Country has brought them into Law. So do the exist!

    Strip the People of that right and you cannot call the government of the country a democracy.

  43. Mick
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    We just want OUT, and if Labour think they have the country behind them in wanting to stay in the dreaded Eu then call for a vote of no confidence in this government,all this blustering from all the opposition parties saying they want the deal to be put to the people in a referendum, all we hear that would be on the ballot paper from them is leave with a deal or remain nothing about up holding the 2016 referendum result plus they know there job would not be effected by a referendum unlike a General Election, Westminster needs clearing of all remainer mps, and true believers in Brexit put in there place and the only way that can be achieved is having a General Election , so labour if you think you have the country behind you then call for a vote of no confidence in this government, but we know you won’t because your too chicken cluck cluck cluck

  44. A.Sedgwick
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Basic human nature is ignored by those who maintain the Supreme Court’s ruling was not political. The senior judiciary is part of the vested interest that likes bureaucracy and control. The EU is an excellent vehicle for this, just as complicated laws are which they can debate forever. I once had to sign a flat rental guarantee for someone else and although it was in English and the individual words understandable, their juxtaposition made it unintelligible – I gave up and just signed it.

    There is an argument for “lay judges” in the Supreme Court.

  45. Gareth Warren
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    The PM has certain duties, this act supposes parliament can make him perform whatever acts it wishes. If such a precedent is imposed the next parliament can demand Corbyn does the Chicken dance or Abbot carries a calculator at all times.

    That would be no more cruel or unusual then expecting a brexiteer to beg for a delay to leaving the EU.

    Personally I believe this is awful legislation tantamount to slavery, likely it will fail since it cannot command money, but its existence degrades parliament. The next parliament has a lot of cleaning up to do.

  46. alastair harris
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Of course, the Benn Act is flawed. Even if no deal is the outcome of the EU meeting in October, there are still a number of mini deals that form the basis of our future relationship. All the PM has to do is wrap them up within a document and present it to the Commons as the deal it is. Following which the Benn act falls at the first hurdle.

    • Jagman84
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Have remainers quantified what a no-deal is? Would the 100+ mitigation agreements with the EU (so that the flow of trade in both directions can continue, post-Brexit) constitute a deal? It cannot be a bespoke trade deal as, due to EU rules, this is not possible for an existing member state. It was always going to be WTO, followed by talks with the EU.

      • Willie Dann
        Posted September 27, 2019 at 4:14 am | Permalink

        There are no mitigation agreements, none. There are only unilateral measures taken by the EU. It is 2019 not 2016 but you Brexiters are still breaking the Trade Desscriptions Act

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      It has to be “an agreement with the European Union under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union”, not a collection of extraneous mini deals.

  47. ukretired123
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    The tentacles of the EU and their traitors purport to respect democracy as long as the rich and powerful get their way more able to finance high court appearances.
    Corbyn should be tearing into these on his “For the many not the few”.
    So yellow Labour and Liberals show their true colours.
    Now we know how to vote….

  48. Leaver
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    I think parliament is supreme, so Boris probably has to negotiate an extension.

    However, I would prefer it if parliament simply grew up and approved the government’s withdrawal agreement, as should have happened months ago.

    17.4 million voted for Brexit. The E.R.G and labour had no right to vote down the withdrawal agreement – and it is to their eternal shame that they did so, no matter what their personal beliefs.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      Leaver,

      Ignoring the fundamental problems with the backstop (which I realise one cannot), the fundamental problem of no representation during the transition (which again I realise one cannot ignore), the fact that it is not a deal (again which cannot really be ignored given the conservative manifesto of in parallel negotiation of future relationship) – I would still ask did you read the agreement and genuinely think it was good?

      (I do wonder how many MPs actually read it).

  49. graham1946
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    There should be no EU Withdrawal Act no. 2.

    Article 50 said that one should be negotiated (not ad infinitum until it is accepted) but if the Agreement is not entered into force, the member leaves after 2 years. The Agreement was negotiated (although the EU broke its own rule by refusing to take into account the future relationship, thereby in my opinion making Article 50 void) and was rejected 3 times by Parliament. The constant delay and prevarication by Parliament is just because it is Remainer based and is an affront to the democratic decision in the referendum. It is clear that we will not leave at Halloween and another insult will be issued to the referendum voters by way of another worthless extension possibly aided by the courts with no mandate. Remainers will never accept any Agreement to leave, and neither will Leavers if it keeps the UK tied to the EU, so the time limit should be enforced.

    We must have the GE now and the people must have a say on the antics of their local MP and whether they want the MP to continue in Parliament. The Opposition parties are delaying yet again because they are afraid the people will have their way, rather than Parliamentarians thwarting it. This is the worst and most undemocratic Parliament of my lifetime, aided by the Cameron error of a Fixed Term act, implemented simply to appease the LibDems who would get nowhere near government without a coalition. The delay is costing us 1 billion pounds a month which must be deducted from the settlement figure.

  50. Leaver
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Also, a general point.

    I’m really unhappy the conservatives have kicked out Ken Clarke. Despite his views on Europe, I always really admired him as an MP and minister. Indeed, I think he is the best person to have never led the party.

    A huge loss and a testament to the wretched state of politics and the party at present.

    • Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      You are misnamed. You’re not a ‘leaver’ as far as the EU is concerned, are you?

      • JC Juncker
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        It’s a false flag moniker.
        Remainers play this game a lot, pretending to be leave voters that have had a change of heart. They’re pretty easy to spot.

      • Leaver
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        I’ve been over this before. I am a leaver, because I voted to leave the European union.

        However, I differ from many on this site, who support No Deal. I support the withdrawal agreement and am furious with parliament for voting it down and stymying Brexit.

        My attachment to Ken Clarke may have something to do with him being my local MP.

        • Edward2
          Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          The Withdrawal Agreement is dreadful.
          It isn’t a deal it is more akin to a treaty.
          Fortunately it is so bad it has brought together all sides in Parliament to vote against it three times with big majorities.

          It isn’t a question of “supporting no deal” it is about coming to the reality that if the EU refuse to move from their current position and Parliament will not pass the Withdrawal Agreement then we ave to leave on the 31st of October as the law demands.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      hilarious.

    • Richard1
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      I agree they need to find a way to bring as many of these 21 back before an election, especially ken Clarke. The difficulty is having someone stand as a Conservative candidate who intends immediately to oppose govt policy on the EU in the event of a Conservative victory. We would be going round in circles.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        We do not want any of them back ever. They are not Conservatives, never were and they would clearly undermine the next Conservative government and damage what is left of the brand. K Clarke and Nicholas Soammes are, thank goodness, finally retiring anyway. None should return and certainly not the dire tax to death, economic illiterate remainder Philip Hammond.

        • Richard1
          Posted September 27, 2019 at 6:09 am | Permalink

          A recipe for Corbyn

          • Lifelogic
            Posted September 27, 2019 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            No allowing them back will give us Corbyn.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      He was an effective senior minister, a safe pair of hands, but he has some characteristics of Ted Heath – a determined Europhile regardless of consequences who has become increasingly closed minded with age (I am of similar vintage). His flowery verbage has become a camouflage for our complete loss of sovereignty or a tidying up exercise as he called the Treaty of Lisbon.

    • a-tracy
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      You are a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Ken Clarke, whatever his qualities, is simply wrong on the EU issue which is the most important issue. Do we want to live in a democratic sovereign country, or mere regions of the anti-democratic and socialist EU? Clarke wants the latter. Under the latter any UK politicians are largely irrelevant and voters even more so. He also voted for the surrender treaty Did he not. He is therefore totally unacceptable. Also was he not in favour of the ERM leading to the EURO. Giving us the Major ERM disaster and burying the Conservative party for many terms. He is trying to do it again.

      • Ian Terry
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        LL

        Agreed. Well past his sell by date. He will still sadly be around when he gets elevated to the upper chamber.

    • Oliver
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps you have yet to see Ken Clarke on BBC Politics being shredded by Andrew Neil?

      KC, who sponsored a bill trying to trap us in a Customs Union, was unaware that when we cease to be a member of the EU it would be contrary to EU law for us to participate in talks about deals which gave away access to our market. He appeared to imagine a few toffs would get together in a corridor and stitch things up, just as if we were members.

      In this whole despicable saga it was one of the most revealing episodes of the grotesque imbecility of those Westminster idiots with no real world experience of anything I can think of.

      • Fred H
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Olly …..he’s been in his own fantasy ‘I’m the most clever MP ever’ world for so long does anybody remember when he was rational?

  51. Posted September 26, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    The election, if it comes before October 31st, will be about “brexit”. Before the election, I would like to know exactly what Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Treaty is so that I can know if we really are leaving. Is that too much to ask?

    • Jagman84
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      It’s too late for that now. There are less than 25 working days left before exit day. Unless a statute is passed by parliament, setting a date prior to it, any potential GE will be from November onwards. Once an election is called, backbench MPs will revert to ordinary members of the public/parliamentary candidates but the PM and ministers will not. Remainer chicanery will be at an end. That’s why they are shying away from a VONC.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      It cannot now be before Oct 31st.

  52. rose
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    The remainiacs are shameless. They will stop at nothing. They have rammed through a directive, which we are told was drafted with EU help, in such a way – keeping it secret till the night before and not having proper debate or scrutiny – that we cannot have respect for it as law. That is before we have even looked at its contents: passing into “law” a letter which our PM must write to overturn the national policy, against the national interest.

    Then we have the Supreme Court ruling, which cements the Bercow regime and its Parliamentary Junta, and demotes Her Majesty. Must prime ministers now ask Brenda Hale for a dissolution, or Bercow?

    • Ian Terry
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      Rose

      Demotes Her Majesty.

      Maybe they should look up the second verse of our national anthem.

  53. Democrazy
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    BJ is a Roman Emperor trying to distract the masses with bread and circuses, with courts and judges. He is portraying himself as a man of the people for Brexit. At some point, the Brexit people will have to choose between BJ and Farage; between a (person ed)who would happily agree a bad deal with the EU, believing he and his Brexiteers (Rees-Mogg and the like) can sell it as a kosher Brexit; or the reasonable, consistent, moderate and respectful Farage who has been rock solid on Brexit from the start. Incidentally, that is a choice Sir John Redwood et al. will also have to make – if they haven’t done so already.

    The terrifying beauty of democracy is that the people decide, and the people (as a whole, as a polity) get what they deserve. Does Britain deserve Boris? We shall see.

    • Mitchel
      Posted September 27, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      More a rabble-rousing Catiline than emperor-he’s not really in power.

      • Democrazy
        Posted September 28, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        Good point.

      • Democrazy
        Posted September 28, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        Although he still has the power that comes with being in office; what he has to say carries more weight than any other single person, and of course everything (controversial) he says benefits from wall to wall media coverage.

  54. Pragmatist
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Many of us hope Boris Johnson and many Tory members in high positions will, if the undemocratic Remainer Parliament thwarts the Will of the People, consider seriously an alliance or understanding with the Brexit Party or if the Tory Party as a going concern faces utter defeat then actually stand on behalf of the Brexit Party and make it the new Tory Party, meet the wishes of democratic people across the board.
    You could always later change the name of the Brexit Party to New Tory Party or some such.
    Those contorted faces and shouting by Remainer MPs yesterday in genuine hysteria and pretended outrage was an ugly picture. They showed the electorate just who they are.

  55. Yorkie
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    There has been no genuine ‘scrutinising’ of Government since The Supreme Court ruling. The Remainers as a whole have merely used the extra time in continuing their three year rant wasting tax-payer money and undermining as best they can Representative Democracy and democracy in its purist form The Referendum result to leave the EU

  56. ian
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    BJ can still break up parliament for 6 days without being seen to have broken the law anytime he wants and if the EU is opening up the WA and as the leader, BJ can negotiate as much as he likes, remain are running out of bullets, When parliament cannot make a decision in front of them it falls to the leader to make it.

    Parliament nor the court have the power to stop BJ, to stop BJ, he would have to be removed as PM, they can have a court case only after the fact not before and making new laws in parliament to stop him a waste of time if he wants to win the next election.

  57. jane4brexit
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    An article on The Conservative Women with the title “Why Boris must not resign” points this out and is worth reading:

    “Lady Hale and the SC insisted that they were not sitting because of Brexit. But Dominic Lawson has busted her claim with devastating accuracy in a Times article subheadlined ‘The Supreme Court is being used to block Brexit, not boost democracy’. His opening two paragraphs are worth quoting in full:

    Last week’s hearing at the Supreme Court of Gina Miller’s case to reverse Boris Johnson’s proroguing of parliament was nothing to do with Brexit. Perish the thought. But lest anyone had been under such an absurd misapprehension, the president of the court, Baroness Hale, concluded the hearing with these words: ‘I must repeat that this case is not about when and on what terms the UK leaves the European Union . . . We are solely concerned with the lawfulness of the prime minister’s decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue parliament.’

    How odd, then, that the hearing had been listed on the Supreme Court’s own website under ‘Brexit-related judicial review cases’. When this was pointed out, the page on the court’s website was rapidly altered to conform retrospectively to Lady Hale’s obiter dictum: the hearing was suddenly no longer a ‘Brexit-related judicial review case’ but a ‘Prorogation-related judicial review case’.”

    • Fred H
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      OOPS—-the website writer wasn’t tipped off of the decision beforehand.

  58. mancunius
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    “Executive action can change our constitution, as with the decision to negotiate and enter into the EU Treaties”
    Actually, all constitutionalists from the 17th century to the 19th are adamant that parliament may not use any treaty to give away its sovereignty without the explicit support and consent of the British people. This was not sought by a referendum in 1993, as it should have been. So joining the EU via the Treaty of Maastricht was an unconstitutional act of the Major government, and arguably therefore null and void.
    It was only remedied for the first time in 2016. I doubt anyone would claim that a 48% vote to join the EU constituted popular support for the 1993 decision.

    • Mark B
      Posted September 27, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      This was the main reason I voted Leave. My status as a citizen changed from one of a UK Citizen, to one of an EU and UK Citizen. I was not consulted on this fundamental change until 2016.

  59. BR
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    How are its terms enforceable?

    Via a Supreme Court that is clearly part of the remainer establishment.

    Many commentators savaged the SC decision (outside the mainstream media of course). Some of them noted the factual inaccuracies(as did you, JR) and some noted the make-up of the court (its president having a background in family law – hardly what’s needed for constitutional matters).

    Some noted the vested interests of the judiciary in having EU law supremacy, such as this very informative piece in the specialist UK Constitutional Law forum:

    https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2019/09/25/danny-nicol-supreme-court-against-the-people/

    The SC cannot continue in its current form and make-up. Miler et al can get whatever they want from those people.

    P.S. I won’t discuss Boris’s plan to leave by 31/10 publicly – we saw what that leads to with JRM spouting about prorogation in a TV interview and lo an behold, the remoaners are prepared when it happens. I’m maintaining a watching brief for now and let them do what they have to do without warning the other side by speculating. After all, they have extra sitting days now with nothing better to do than to make up new and increasingly stupid laws.

    I’m still shocked that he didn’t refuse Royal Assent for the Benn Bill though (and challenge the lack of Queens’ Consent and need for a money order).

  60. villaking
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Sir John,
    If a PM’s promises and manifesto do not command majority support from our elected representatives, are you suggesting that he should be allowed to proceed anyway? The Conservative Party did not win the last general election outright and so does not have a clear mandate to drive through all of its manifesto promises.

    REPLY No. I am suggesting he holds an election to seek a majority.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 27, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      reply to reply….if any still hang on to the idea of a Conservative majority, they will be shaken rigid in a GE. The only hope is a deal, not a NO Deal with BREXIT PARTY.

  61. Alan Joyce
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Redwood,

    Following the unseemly exchanges in the Commons yesterday and before the House began its business today, the Speaker appealed for MP’s to moderate their use of language saying that the debate had become toxic.

    He said this without seemingly once considering his own role in bringing about this toxic atmosphere with his blatant and partisan interventions in parliamentary proceedings.

    The Attorney General was correct. This Parliament is a dead one. It is unfit for purpose. So are many of its MP’s. And they wonder why public trust in them has gone and why they are held in such low esteem?

    I quote Oliver Cromwell who in 1653 said to Parliament “You have been sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

    We need a general election NOW. But even in that many MP’s dare not agree to one so fearful are they of what voters think of them. It looks like we will have to suffer them sitting for a while longer.

    • Yorkie
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Much is made of the 1600s Parliaments, you quote Cromwell of 1653. The Rt Hon Rees-Mogg spoke in his speech in an almost empty “scrutinising The House today or was in yesterday that Parliament was not just “dead” as The Attorney General Geoffrey Cox suggested but ‘addled ‘as in the Addled Parliament of 5 April and 7 June 1614. In a word ineffective.
      Surprising The Supreme Court made mention in its workings of the 1600s period. The 17th century appears in fashion again politically speaking. Ladies should beware showing their ankles!
      However, I have strong and increasing reason to believe that one should doubt anything written in that period especially in legalese and in what we learn was the literature despite yellowy old paper and blotchy ink. I fear what were to become Cromwell ideologists deleted and reworded everything which would be against justification for their own side of the civil wars. After all, the winners write the history. Fortunately, not rewrit nough well fer thissen.
      The whole of our literary world depends on me 🙂 As Oscar Wilde remarked
      “Oh I do not wish to hear what people say about me behind my back, I should be so conceited”

  62. John Probert
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    If this was to go to court and the courts rule demanding the PM to seek
    a further extension. It will be seen as the biggest stich up in History

    • rose
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      We have already been told by one of their ex brother judges that they will appoint the Cabinet Secretary to go and humiliate and enslave us instead. Will they remember to take to themselves the money granting powers of Parliament to pay the extra billion a month?

  63. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Your blog confirms that Benn’s grotty little Act is unconstitutional. Of course, a sitting Government cannot be compelled to do the opposite of what it wants to do and is committed to.

    Once this is all over and we have left the EU and won a General Election with the assistance of the Brexit Party, we can set about dismantling the pro-EU deep state, expelling all pro-EU people from leading positions in key organisations:

    – CCHQ
    – Conservative Party candidates
    – The Foreign Office
    – The Home Office
    – The BBC
    – The educational establishment
    – The House of Lords
    – The Supreme Court

    I want to propose simple reforms for the House of Lords and the Supreme Court, a system of indirect election. There should be a House of Lords appointment committee and a Supreme Court appointments committee, both about 15 strong and both elected by universal suffrage. I think the process needs to start off with a ‘big bang’ – all of the existing peers and Supreme Court judges could be replaced using this system.

    The other thing we should do is to stop financing all international institutions that are blatantly pro-EU, starting with the International Monetary Fund.

    And when, oh when, are the Conservative Party and the Brexit Party going to write to Juncker, Barnier, Verhofstadt, Macron and Merkel (or their replacements) saying how we will totally disrupt EU institutions if forced to remain beyond 31st October. Disruption of our Victorian Parliaments by the Irish Nationalists is a good precedent.

    • Harka
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Lindsay McDougall- the Eu side is fully aware of the disruption that the Farage and Widdecombe faction can cause in the EU parliament if this thing drags on so you can rest assured Boris will get his wish and you will be out 31st Oct no if’s or but’s. Talks on the future relationship will pick up next year and first things on the table will be the Irish border, 39 billion owing and the movement of people. By then Britain will be coming by the tradesman’s entrance. What you voted for

    • Fred H
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      If compelled to stay in EU, our people in all FUNCTIONS should wear T-shirts with the print:
      veni-vidi-vici -VETO.

    • Helena
      Posted September 27, 2019 at 5:19 am | Permalink

      Excellent, Lindsay. The only thing you missed out is that you should go down to the beach at Folkestone at low tide and command the tide not to come in. that’ll show these foreigners who’s boss! Little England can look after itself!

      • Edward2
        Posted September 27, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

        Little England…the world’s fifth biggest economy will indeed be able to look after itself.
        You left wing remainers are so funny.

  64. BillM
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    It beggars belief that OUR Laws can be so manipulated in favour of a side that wishes to betray their promises prior to the Referendum, diabolically renege their promises made in their respective manifestos of 2017 GE and in the EU Withdrawal Act of 2018, where 80% of the HoC signed up to it.
    Do none of these valid points count towards this Country ever being able to leave the despised heavy chains of Brussels that have been holding this country down for many decades?
    I now wonder, given the tidal swell of anti-EU feelings is building into a tsunami would Brussels wish to have us as a full member again?
    Unfortunately, we alone cannot change the Law (Just 1/28th Voting power within the Law Makers) but we certainly can disrupt ALL proceedings.
    We should copy other members who only obey the Laws they like and vote against all legislation.
    I’m sure the Brexit Party will fight for Britain in a way the EU never dreamed of and I expect the Brexiteers with the Conservative MEPs will join the fight.

  65. Ed
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I think finally most people in country now see Brexit as having moral high ground (but not by a big margin).

    1. Brexit now taking up too much of country’s time. Most people want it sorted.
    2. Many believe Brexiters weren’t 100% clear in Referendum. Many believe Brexiters (and Remainers) used dirty tactics in Referendum. HOWEVER at end of day, Brexiters won.
    3. Parliament failed to come to an agreement of deal.

    Therefore, government must now deliver Brexit. But if it wants to keep moral high ground (which is the best recipe for long-term success), then it must:

    1) Hold election when everyone agrees
    2) We’ve got to be out of the EU by end of 2019
    3) Don’t use inflammatory language. Use honourable means. Start building bridges – NOW!

    • Ed
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      ‘by end of 2019’ – or end of Jan 2020 (3 month extension). But no later. That’s it.

      The extension prepares way for elections. And people who strongly desire a deal can no longer argue they haven’t been given due time to get a deal with the EU.

    • Ed
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Lastly, Brexit will NOT be sorted by the loud shouting and inflammatory language by a minority of Remainers and Brexiters.

      It will only be sorted when Brexiters claim their moral high ground (but not by a big margin) by staying calm, logical, civilised, and acting with leadership and honour – and so winning the moral respect of MOST PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY (not a minority of hard core supporters). Then they will be able to get Brexit delivered by end of 2019 / end of Jan 2020 (and we’ve got to get it delivered by then – only HOME GOALS can ultimately mess things up and things drag on further and further).

    • Harka
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      No- the end date is 31st Oct- even if you wanted an extension it would only be to suit UK election. UK domestic GE has nothing to do with the EU therefore cannot see them agreeing- don’t know where you get this crazy thinking.

  66. eleanor justice
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Good morning Mr Redwood . Boris was brilliant yesterday the snarling faces on the other side show they are terrified.” Tell him to keep his cool.”The readiness is all”

    • rose
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, he is just right. His language is old fashioned and educated, which people like. No PC jargon or obfuscation. Unlike the rabble on the other side.

      They don’t want him saying they are surrendering us to the EU because it is true. And they don’t like him saying “humbug” to their humbug, because it is true. So with the help of the media and the bent Speaker they seek to traduce him and thus render him silent. They must not succeed.

      As for their dishonest pretence that he is inflaming us against them, someone must have the courage to point out that it is their own words and behaviour which is doing that.

      • Douglas Powell
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        Quite right, Rose, Boris frightens them to death – that is why they are trying to neutralize him! You can see the fear written on their faces, scared of what will happen when he gets into GE campaigning mode.

        The thing I found most deplorable and obnoxious last night was the fake indignation and the crocodile tears! Not to say how they are hell bent on denying us the referendum victory and cheating us out of our Democratic Heritage, who then have the effrontery to claim they are upholders of democracy! Also, they tell us they will honour the result of a fresh referendum – they obviously believe their own spin that we are thick and stupid! Well not that thick and stupid – Remoaners, you have form when it comes to honouring referenda – people are creatures of habit – you will do it again, and again, and again!

    • steve
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      Eleanor

      “…..the snarling faces on the other side show they are terrified.”

      More a case of how dare we threaten their cosy EU gravy train, villas on the Algarve etc. How dare we expect them to put Britain first. How dare we expect them to do some work for a change instead of being middle men for Brussels.

      What terrifies them is a general election, because they know the electorate are angered, and they know we’re on to them, we’ll be going for the throat…..that’s why the snivelling cowards give it all the mouth but won’t face the music.

      And there’s Corbyn ranting on about accountability, what a hypocrite.

  67. agricola
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    The advantage of our largely unwritten constitution is that it is flexible, unlike the constitution of the USA, and allows it to evolve as different challenges arise. We would not have the gun law problems that the USA has with it’s fixed constitution.

    As we have recently found out, our constitution is open to attack by the unscrupulous largely from within our own Parliament. We have a speaker who is no longer an impartial referee, but prefers to be the sixteenth member of the fifteen we are playing. We have an opposition in total disarray. Half of them are living in a political time warp circa 1960, the other half lack the guts to do anything about it. I suspect that they realise that their chances of earning anything like a parliamentary salary out in the real world are the best part of zero. So they hang on, conviction less and utterly useless. The Attorney General described them well yesterday.

    Then there is the so called Conservative party half of whom are flying under false colours, and a small number who are totally disreputable. Those that have followed their convictions and left are now misrepresenting their constituents but unprepared to put those convictions to electoral scrutiny. Moses would be hard pressed to lead such a disparate bunch of chancers.

    Boris has every right to treat them as trailer trash and do everything legal to ignore them. He is also correct in responding to the wishes of the electorate who want us out of the EU by whatever means is available to us.

  68. Atlas
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Since the Remainers are changing the rules, why should the Brexiteers not do the same? After all: ‘what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’.

    • steve
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Atlas

      Yes indeed. As far as I’m concerned from now on anything I don’t like I will make illegal.

      …..and I’m going to find myself a speaker who will be on my side, also perhaps I will set up my own court and appoint a few mates as judges.

      My court will specialise in interfering where it has no authority.

      As you say; what’s sauce for the goose.

  69. Steve P
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I would wonder how a law created to force someone to do something against their will, promises, manifesto, referendum, election, and existing laws has any standing at all. That is akin to creating an Act that tells individual voters which way to vote – which we know is what the remains want.

    • rose
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      I cannot respect this “law” nor can I respect the brand new “law” Brenda Hale has just concocted out of thin air – retrospectively.

  70. Denis Cooper
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Off topic, here is the link to the Hansard record of the two hours yesterday:

    https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-09-25/debates/B2BCE472-527C-4549-B23F-A34C4D8F4160/BrexitReadinessOperationYellowhammer

    when Michael Gove attempted to gabble his way through the full gamut of the current state of our readiness for a no deal Brexit, when the Rapid Rebuttal Unit he promised to create six weeks ago:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2019/09/25/lady-hales-statement/#comment-1058424

    could have not only dealt with each item separately over that period but given them much wider distribution and invited detailed comment from interested members of the public as well as representatives of various bodies.

    Instead of looking for some clever legal “wheeze” so that the Prime Minister can defy an Act of Parliament and avoid asking for a further Article 50 extension it would have been much better if Michael Gove had more effectively countered the false arguments which were used to justify the passage of that Act.

    It became understandable why Theresa May never acted to counter the constant stream of anti-Brexit propaganda – she was playing for the other side as much as for our side, in fact probably more for them than us – but why has Boris Johnson followed suit?

    When, if ever, are we going to see this supposedly pro-Brexit government challenging and slapping down all the anti-Brexit nonsense churned out by Remoaners?

    • Earley Riser
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      The car manufacturers told Gove that a no-deal exit would be a disaster for them. Gove told Parliament that they said they were ready!

    • acorn
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Because Denis when you are allowed to go through No 10’s front door as a cabinet member, you are given a master class in how the country actually works. That is when the party manifesto hits reality.

      That is when know-nothing MPs suddenly upgraded to Secretaries of State and PM, find out that your definition of “anti-Brexit nonsense”; is actually anti-Brexit fact. Hence a rapid rebuttal unit would struggle to find any data/numbers to rebut anything. The leave campaign deliberately did not attempt to rebut any remainer facts, because it knew it couldn’t.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        Ridiculous comment acorn.
        How do you know that?
        More remain fantasy claims without evidence.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted September 27, 2019 at 5:58 am | Permalink

        I stand ready to offer my services, acorn, but if I as an ordinary member of the public can see obvious flaws in the anti-Brexit arguments then I am sure that civil servants and ministers can also do so. So, for example, there must be a reason why a diabetic Prime Minister allowed it to be widely thought that she would order our customs officers to hold up imports of the insulin upon which she herself was dependent.

      • a-tracy
        Posted September 27, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        acorn, serious question, are you an ex or current cabinet minister or spad? How do you personally know what you claim to know?

  71. Stephen J
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I look at yesterday’s decision with fear, since it suggests that anything the the supreme court doesn’t like, it can get rid of, particularly if it can find someone with a pocketful of money to pay their fees.

    • rose
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      And it can make legal behaviour illegal, retrospectively. Terrifying.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

        No, it can’t.

        The High Court never said that the prorogation was legal. Just that it did not have the authority to judge. It erred on that point, according to the eleven justices.

        It is the Leave fanatics, who want to make perfectly legal matters such as promoting the UK’s membership of the European Union retrospectively treason, and punishable by death. The internet is flooded with such demands, isn’t it?

        • Edward2
          Posted September 27, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

          Rose is right.
          The prorogation of Parliament was previously a matter for Parliament only.
          If there was a prorogation that Parliament felt was too long the Parliament could stop it with a vote of no confidence this bringing about an election.
          Let the people decide.
          Such has been the way for centuries.
          But now suddenly the courts have decided they need to be involved.
          No decision on how long is too long
          No decision on what constitutes a good reason for the prorogation.
          The supreme court has become the new house of lords but with greater powers.

  72. gregory martin
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Accusations of perjorative use of “surrender” have made headlines. Would it be correct to assume that there would be no reaction to the use of “Number 2s” as a derived shortening of the absurd cobbled together title of this ridiculous enactment?, for that is what it is.

    • Fred H
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      nice one!

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      It is odd isn’t it? The bill is a surrender of control; with all that is going on a truthful description is said to be incendiary.

  73. Fred H
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    So now we have the H of C vote preventing MPs attending the CP conference, for just 3 days although the other parties have had theirs! Some Democracy! Can that be appealed to the Supreme Court for a later 3 days out?

    • Fred H
      Posted September 27, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Surely there should be no summer recess, lets call it prorogation in future, no p**s up ina resort – continue debating the work of government all year.

  74. Posted September 26, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Yes when are we going to hear Boris and the Leave team make mincemeat of the Remainers

    When will these these treacherous people be brought to book. Can they not be taken to court for breaking the Out come of the Referendum, by breaking our Constitution .
    And not least for doing away with Democricy in this Country.
    All the majority are asking for is Democracy, and someone’s favourite Ken Clark, should be one of the first with most of those in both Houses

  75. Stephen Reay
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    The Brexit we hoped to get is now lost. Boris will have to extend and we”ll have to rely on him winning the election. I don’t think what Boris said in parliament yesterday was over the top, sometimes the true hurts and the opposition is trying everything in the books to make Boris look bad. He was right t0 say that Bens bill is a surrender bill because thats exactly what it is.

    Boris doesn’t have to set the people against the opposition because we see the opposition as betraying the democratic result of the people . Boris should ask for an extension now and then call an election why wait, the sooner the election is called the sooner people can vote Boris in hopefully with a larger enough majority.

    I hope the media runs a campaign during the election to show those mps who have gone against the electrate so that we can eject them from their seats. If the will of the people is not implemented I will never vote again and I certainly won’t vote for a second referendum

  76. Ed
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Brexiters now have all the momentum back. Only they can lose it.

    So instead of focusing on the enemy without, focus on the enemy within!

    For example, Boris’ comment about Jo Cox was majorly unhelpful. As was Jacob shooting his mouth off about ‘constitutional coop.’

    (Not saying Boris or Jacob are the enemies but unhelpful comments like these are).

    Now is the time for really cool heads – real leadership!

  77. glen cullen
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    So glad opposition parties forced the cancellation of prorogation. First day of return a farce, the second morning taking about international matters, then a vote to effectively stop Tory MPs attending conference (while the LibDem and Labour had theirs) and this afternoon only a dozen opposition MPs on the green benches ….so glad there’re back to normal

  78. Fred H
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Votes against recess 3 days for Cons Conference:
    Heidi Allen
    Guto Bebb
    Nick Boles
    Kenneth Clarke
    David Gauke
    Justine Greening
    Dominic Grieve
    Anne Milton
    Amber Rudd
    Antoinette Sandbach

    They ought to be ashamed, they could have abstained, while Steve Brine, Greg Clark, Charlie Elphicke, Caroline Nokes voted FOR a recess.

    • Chris S
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Seeing her name on this list provides yet more proof that Amber Rudd should never have been allowed into the Johnson cabinet. Everybody knows that she lied through her teeth when she was required to agree that she would support a WTO Brexit.

      As for the other, soon-to-be-ex-MPs, like Rudd, they will be no loss to the Conservative party.

      • Democrazy
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        No comment on BJ’s judgement? What was he doing appointing a disgraced ex-Home Secretary, regardless of her unsound views on Brexit?

        If you think that Rudd and the rest are no loss to the Conservative party, you profoundly misunderstand what the Conservative party actually is! Rudd didn’t rise to prominence by accident. She didn’t become HS by channelling the ghost of Thatcher. And BJ is no Thatcherite either. He’s a one-nation (no-nation) Tory. Wake up!

        (Please don’t take this personally. There are many others looking at the Conservative party through Thatcher-tinted glasses. I say wake up, because there’s a chance you might. There are plenty of others that won’t or can’t.)

        • Edward2
          Posted September 27, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

          It would be helpful if the fragrant Amber supported her own government policies which were in the manifesto of the party she was in to get elected in the first place.

  79. Ian!
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    An interesting item in the Spectator.

    Relating to the SC ruling. To justify their intervention the Supreme Court have also by default reasoned the Benn act and the Cooper/Letwin one before – just like the prorogation never existed. If and that is obviously in todays climate a big IF the Courts were consistent those Bills would also be struck down.

    https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2019/09/has-the-supreme-court-handed-boris-johnson-a-brexit-escape-route/

  80. Democrazy
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    BJ is attempting a Trump impression. It’s a pretty poor one. What’s more, it’s very misguided. Most people who voted for Trump put up with his style because they like the substance. BJ has no substance, so there’s no reason to put up with his ridiculous, misjudged, vacuous rhetoric. If the people are smart, we may be witnessing the obliteration of the Tory party, because whatever the Tory party has been, it has presented as reasonable, sensible, measured and mature – a safe pair of hands. These qualities have been binned, and what is left is BJ. The Tory’s are now the BJ party. If you believe in Boris, by all means vote for one of his candidates, or for whatever corner he’s fighting in a referendum. But Boris is now all the Tories have got, it’s all they are. That is a very brave bet…

  81. David Maples
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I maintain that the Benn Act is unconstitutional. The reason is elementary; to carry out its provisions, taxpayers money will have to be spent, which should have required a money resolution, with government support…should have! Notwithstanding this requirement, the Speaker ruled a money resolution was not in fact necessary…but it is! Quad Erat Demonstrandum, the Benn Law is ultra vires, and the PM need not comply.

  82. RichardM
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Blinkered brexiters condemning the Judges as political need to think on if the boot had been on the other foot. Whoever is in number 10 will be less likely to play such games in future.

    The Supreme Courts judgement has only returned to parliament the powers of scrutiny and legislation that had been stolen in the first place by the government.

    • Simon Coleman
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that’s correct. The total separation of the political and the judicial meant, before this judgement, that the government could act outside the law – if it claimed that its action was political. If we are truly living in a free country, nothing the government does should be beyond the reach of the law of the land.

      • Edward2
        Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        No Simon you’ve got it wrong.
        The courts do rule on laws governments make.
        What we now have is courts making new law.
        Very different.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      RichardM,

      So what was an already scheduled recess has been stopped. Two opposition parties have gone ahead with their scheduled conferences during this period and then prevented the third. Part of the UK democratic system is to operate through the party system (with MPs standing by their manifestos) and MPs have now stopped that occurring in a fair way. The fundamental harm that the antidemocratic Remain MPs have done is irreperable.

  83. a-tracy
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Pathetic MPs stopping a short recess for the Tory Conference voters are watching and I’m appalled. As for so-called conservative MPs voting against their own conference – my MP included – you disgust me.

    I find it terrifying that they are acting so populist to the remain cause and they are giving no equality to their leave voting constituents. There is also a matter of fairness when they were allowed to hold their conferences. I do hope that proper Conservatives remember this.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      I agree a-tracey.
      Both main parties have had their conferences whilst Parliament was closed, as is the usual arrangement.
      For MPs, including amazingly, some Conservative MPs, to vote against what has been a traditional politeness for decades is outrageous.
      Voters are waiting for an election to give our verdict on this shambles of a Parliament.

  84. Edward2
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    But the EU have said they will not allow the UK to become an EEA member.
    Thanks for coming up with your favourite post Brexit deal martin, but you are wasting your time.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Strangely this has ended up in the wrong place.

  85. Simon Coleman
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    “Is it good law to demand a PM to do the opposite of his promises and Manifesto? How are its terms enforceable?” The manifesto on which you place so much importance did not receive the support of the electorate in 2017, as it lost the government its majority. The Johnson administration is effectively a new government, but it doesn’t even have the flimsy manufactured majority that the May government possessed. Johnson has been parachuted into No. 10 by a few thousand OAPS. How, in all honesty, can you claim that he has a mandate to do anything?
    And Parliament’s law is enforceable because they have the numbers to act to enforce it.

    • Edward2
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Odd view
      Both Labour and Conservatives had manifestos saying they respected the result of the referendum and wanted to leave.
      Now Labour want to remain and the Lib Lib Dems just want to reverse the whole referendum result.
      If you want a resolution them campaign for a general election.

    • dom
      Posted September 26, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      When Marxist Labour gain power you’ll be begging for Johnson to come back as PM. And I mean begging. Marxist Labour will take your last penny and then your freedom

      Be careful what you wish for. It just might come true

      Corbyn IS A EUROSCEPTIC MARXIST. Corbyn despises the EU but is using this issue for party political purposes

  86. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted September 26, 2019 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    The House of Commons has now refused a recess for the Tory conference. Screw them. Go to your conference, enjoy it and leave Jacob Rees Mogg to hold the fort, including at Question Time. Since the Government has lost control of the House and is losing every vote, there is not a lot of point being there.

    Let Jacob Rees-Mogg schedule Government time to debate the extent to which the EU has become and will become a Federal European SuperState, the way in which successive UK Prime Ministers (Heath, Major, Blair, Brown) have acquiesced in the process, and the role and goals of modern Remoaners.

    This rotten parliament is the latest in a long line of UK parliaments that have been content to be subservient to Brussels. A few centuries ago, the old Irish parliament was content to be subservient to the UK parliament. Swift wrote a poem about that Irish parliament called ‘The Legion Club’. It starts like this:

    As I stroll the city, oft I
    See a building large and lofty,
    Not a bow-shot from the college;
    Half the globe from sense and knowledge;
    By the prudent architect
    Placed against the church direct,
    Making good my grandam’s jest,
    Near the church – you know the rest.

    Tell us what this pile contains?
    Many heads that hold no brains.
    These demoniacs let me dub
    With the name of ‘Legion club’.
    Such assemblies, you would swear,
    Meet when butchers bait a bear:
    Such a noise and such haranguing,
    When a brother thief is hanging:
    Such a rout and such a rabble
    Run to hear Jackpudden gabble:
    Such a crowd their ordure throws
    On a far less villains nose.

    Etc. Does it remind us of anywhere?

  87. javelin
    Posted September 27, 2019 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    Parliament was practically empty yesterday. I thought they had been recalled to scrutinise Parliament. From what I heard on Wednesday most MPs were fearful of their own safety because of their anti-democratic behaviour.

    Surely Boris has to a duty of care to MPs and suspend Parliament for the safety of these MPs now that they have had their say.

  88. Robert Bywater
    Posted September 27, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    It is worth noting that the Remain side are clinging on to the verdict issued by the Supreme Court, a court which, if we do not get Brexit, is not supreme but subservient to the ECJ. Would the ECJ be able to exercise the right to curtail the powers of the UK executive or of parliament in the way that the Supreme court has just done? If anything justifies the use of words like ‘surrender’ this surely does.

  89. Edwardm
    Posted September 27, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    We have had Bercow changing HoC rules in favour of the Remain cause. We have had the Supreme Court make a retrospective constitutional change, and illogically rule that the PM was unlawful.
    They all forget that the decision made by the British people is of the highest authority. So if the PM has to make a choice of which laws to obey, he should obey those that are in line with the highest authority, and any challenge should and must be settled by the highest authority via a GE.

  90. Fred H
    Posted September 27, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    We need the creation of a ‘Higher Supreme Court’ consisting of 11 members of Cabinet, excluding the PM, to ensure unbiased rulings (!).

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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