What is a fair and effective Act of Parliament?

The criminal law in our country has for long been a mixture of common law principles and decisions by judges, and Statute law where Parliament legislates to clarify and guide common law practice.

There have been various disagreements between the courts and Parliament over the law. In the end Parliament can legislate to change the law for the future despite a previous pattern of judgements or in place of established court principles.  In that sense Statute law is superior law.

In effect though courts still retain powers especially if   the law may be unclear as drafted by Parliament or it may be unenforceable. Whilst Statute law is usually supreme, both courts and Parliament have to recognise there are limits to their respective powers to move the law in the way they wish.

Today given the fluid and uncertain  constitutional background created by Remain campaigners and lawyers, we need to ask are there any limits on what laws Parliament can pass? Let us take three prospective cases of possible Acts of Parliament.

The first, “The Sunny Sundays Act” would widely be recognised as bad law. This Act states the government must ensure every Sunday is sunny so people can enjoy their day off. Any such idea would be void as it is unenforceable, as government does not have the power to ensure it happens.

The second, “The reduction of rough sleeping Act” is a bit more difficult. This Act says that the Prime Minister has to sleep rough once a week until Parliament thinks he or she has done enough to curb rough sleeping and passes a motion accordingly. Surely this too should be void, as it infringes the human rights of the Prime Minister and puts that office holder at security risks out on the streets.

The third is  “The breaking of the Prime   Minister’s promises Act” which requires the Prime Minister to reverse certain specified policies he had set out and campaigned for, because opposition forces in Parliament do not like them. The opposition with a small temporary majority got this through in order to undermine the Prime Minister’s popularity. Is this a fair  and enforceable Act? Isn’t our constitutional way of dealing  with a PM who no longer commands a majority to remove him by a vote of No Confidence?

These hypothetical proposals show the difficulties of having a minority government and taking away from it the sole right to initiate legislation. The country can become ungovernable with a headstrong Parliament that cannot supply a majority government yet refuses an election.

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164 Comments

  1. margaret
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    It is simply not a case of being enforceable but the change in language to represent law.The tautology used to try and exemplify aspects of the law confuses issues even more.The deterioration in English means that the law means something different to many people. We need more arts degrees with special attention to the English language and dictionary definitions.
    With more understanding of English/American scientific papers would also prove to elucidate theories, concepts and evidence as separate meanings.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      Agree. The control of language is the control of discourse and sets the parameters of debate. We cannot even discuss what Brexit is really about.

      The fact is that thousands of homes are being built around here and yet services are being cut to the bone indicates to me that the new householders clearly aren’t paying council tax – thus reinforcing my so called prejudices (along with the extra dog poo, anti social behaviour and litter.)

      Spread the love to Beaconsfield and Lewes.

  2. Tom Rogers
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    The Prime Minister has negotiated a completely unacceptable arrangement with the EU that humiliates this country and leaves us tied to the EU on terms that hobble us and leave us without the desired status of an independent sovereign nation.

    I must ask: What has Britain’s elite got against Britain? Why do they have this attitude of managed decline and looking down on the views of ordinary people? This country could take on the world. Instead we’re being constantly bombarded with these messages that encourage attitudes of guilt and apology for who we are. It’s disgusting.

    The Tory Party must now face the consequences, just like one day the Labour Party must. The three main parties must now fall. We can do this the nice way or the nasty way. The longer you put this off, the nastier things are going to be. Ah, but the Prime Minister probably thinks he can pull the wool over people’s eyes and secure a majority. If so, why not put it to the test? Why doesn’t the Prime Minister just use the CCA to repeal the FTPA or otherwise make an Order of Council to dissolve Parliament? Nobody can complain, since he would be submitting to a general election. Don’t these opposition parties keep telling us they want a People’s Vote or some variation on that theme? So let’s have one.

    A general election will be ideal at this stage because each party’s position will be clear. The Tories in particular can’t campaign against their own deal.

    This means if the Tories win, then we get this rubbish deal confirmed and the Business As Usual of managed decline resumes.

    If the Brexit Party wins, we withdraw from the new treaty and become a third country.

    If Labour wins, presumably the new deal remains in place and, as above, Business As Usual resumes.

    If the Lib Dems, negotiations are re-opened with a view to taking us back in.

    Let’s have it.

    • czerwonadupa
      Posted October 20, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      It’s a 100 years this year of the Versailles Treaty in which Germany was humiliated. This withdrawal treaty is Berlin & Brussels revenge. But whereas Versailles was concluded in 6 months this one has taken 3 and half years due to the obstructive actions of this parliament filled with Quislings actively working against the British people. Even if we have to wait until 2022 the people will eventually extract their revenge on these Quislings.
      Freedom is Priceless

  3. Ian Wragg
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    I hope todays bill is voted down. It is by no measure leaving the EU. Paragraph 140 of the WA says it all. A future relationship shall be based on the backstop.
    BINO.
    No thanks

    • Dark Talking Shop
      Posted October 20, 2019 at 12:35 am | Permalink

      You have good news and bad news on that one Ian. I know I know I know, you were just thinking along logical lines and the proper conduct by MPs

  4. Brian Smeath
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Why is the third a problem? The PM does not have sovereignty, Parliament does. So why do you think it is a problem for Parliament to override the PM? That is how our country works

    • rose
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Our country used to work on the principle that if Parliament overruled HMG then HMG went to the country. But because of the FTPA this is no longer possible if Parliament refuses to allow the PM to ask the Queen for a dissolution. The more unpopular Parliament becomes with the electorate, the less likely it is to allow a dissolution. This is one hell of a problem as Parliament cannot be the government even though it seems to think it can, and HMG cannot govern. HMG is accountable to Parliament and Parliament is accountable to the people, but Parliament is refusing to be accountable to the people. That is also one hell of a problem.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      There is a government in place to govern. Parliament should be able to block the laws government brings but making it’s own legislation is not in the spirit of the arrangement.

      If the government can not command a majority and it is unlikely that another party can command their own majority then the house should dissolve.

      This is the opposite of anarchy. Everyone wants to lead and have their own way.

    • steve
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Brian Smeath

      You confuse sovereignty with ‘to hell with democracy’.

  5. /ikh
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Sir John,

    I don’t think the question you ask is the most interesting IMHO. I think that the really interesting question is if the courts can subject the PM’s powers to judicial review, why can the courts not subject the Speakers powers to judicial review.

    If a bill is declared by the Speaker not to be a ‘Money Bill’ and a Bill is declared by the Speaker not to require Royal Ascent. Why can these decisions not be subject to judicial review. What limits the Speakers powers and curtail misuse of them?

    /ikh

    • Dennis
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      /ikh – Don’t waste you time asking Sir John questions. He rarely answers even if perhaps he knows the answer.

    • rose
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Our disgracefully political court would say it can interfere with what the PM does because he is infringing on the rights of Parliament, “infringing” and “rights” being defined retrospectively by them. They would say they cannot interfere with what the Speaker does because they cannot interfere inside Parliament, as defined retrospectively by them.

      Of course, if it were a Brexiteer Speaker abusing his position to aid Brexit, they would have plenty of arguments for why they should clip his wings.

  6. Mark B
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    On this day : In 1781, British forces under General Charles Cornwallis, sign terms of surrender to George Washington and Comte de Rochambeau at Yorktown.

    I wonder if Parliament will sign up to the Surrender Treaty the EU has prepared for us ?

    Our law is based on what one cannot do and not what one should do. Parliament should not create laws specifically for a single purpose and applied to a single individual. It cannot be both the legislature and the executive and therefore, accountable to no one.

    We now have a government that cannot govern. That is hostage to the Opposition. Our system, that has worked so well for years, is now broken. Our membership of the EU has damaged our institutions and hollowed out our democracy. Trust has all but gone. Things will never be the same again.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Oh BTW before I forget. Good luck today Sir John.

  7. Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    The prime ministers popularity is based on a lie as identified by you yesterday. So he deserves all the opposition he is getting albeit for a variety of different reasons .

    He engineered the departure of May to fulfil his personal ambitions and then more or less signed up to the same deal as hers telling us we will be leaving on the 31st October, when even if he gets it through. it is obvious we will be tied to the EU, maybe for umpteen years of negotiation.

    When you meekly vote for it which I am sure you will please tell us how this us now worthy of your support when three times earlier it wasn’t.

    You also overlook the fact that it was your PM who signed up to the Fixed Term act now causing the problem.

    Actually, as they found in Belgium, the country seems to be doing ok managing itself. You might like to ponder that and return to the traditional Tory view of less intervention, less Nannying and more encouragement of personal responsibility.

  8. bitterend
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    when it comes to parliament Fair and Effective just don’t rhyme well together- in fact Effective doesn’t even figure and as far as Fair goes? well consider the 17.5 million who voted to leave- but parliament can’t since deliver- so where’s the Fairness? Right now at this time politicians are being promised all kinds of sweeteners, bribes, including elevation to the upper house, some just to knighthoods to get the vote through- and that’s the way it goes in this Fair and Effective land.

  9. oldtimer
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Agreed. This parliament is unfit for purpose. It could partially redeem itself by passing the motion today to support the latest WA between the UK and the EU – not because it is perfect but because it is necessary. It is necessary for parliament to begin the long process of redeeming itself in the eyes of the public. It is necessary because uncertainty is drawing cash and cashflow, their life blood, from businesses (now probably counted in £billions. It is necessary to preserve respect for the referendum and the chance of good civil order. We have seen what can happen when trust between the people and their legislatures break down. We see it in France, Hong Kong and Spain. The reaction against the Extinction Rebellion protesters preventing people going to work is a sign of things to come here in the UK. Parliament needs to end it’s self indulgent shenanigans today.

  10. M Smith
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    There is no doubt the whole Benn Act is mischief from a parliament that should have dissolved once it didn’t have confidence in the government but has an opposition in fear of an election

    I voted leave. I thought from June 24th 2016 it was unlikely. I still would prefer to leave. But I have a much bigger fear. The election of a socialist government. The Peterborough and Radnor by elections demonstrate how this will happen, if Boris Johnson is seen to fail to leave on the 31st. It is surprising how little those with an interest in politics fail to understand just how little interest many have of why we are where we are.

    On a derisory proportion of the popular vote a socialist government will seize power and destroy the network of small and family businesses that could take generations to come back.

    So I’m pleading with you John, for all it’s faults, please back Boris Johnson’s deal today.

  11. Graham Robinson
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Sadly the Tories got themselves into this minority situation and only themselves to blame.

    First a referendum that split the country 50:50, Leave and Remain, setting up a perpetual battle of ideals. Then Cameron (whose idea it was) walks away going against his own word.……unforgivable…..I thought until then that he was a good PM.

    Then May gets the job, with the charisma of a snail, and calls an election believing that it will strengthen her majority. The opposite happens putting the Tory Party in the hands of the DUP, what a fiasco.

    Then lack of discipline in the Party lets the ERG dictate policy and kills off May’s three attempts to get an agreement in the house.

    Then Johnson takes the reigns and makes the situation even worse by firing 21 of his Tory-faithful fellow MP’s making his minority government even weaker. At least he has some charisma.

    And because of this weakness Corbyn has control over when to have a vote of no confidence in the PM so that a General Election can be called to try to clean up this mess.

    It seems in the Party that no-one thinks through the potential consequences of decisions and actions that are taken, bad and good. It smacks of poor management and arrogance.

    Let’s hope that Corbyn will come to the rescue and save the Party at the next General Election because of his unpopularity with the electorate.

    If Labour changed its leader to a more Blairite person then at the next election we could be in real trouble.

  12. formula57
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    The quislings in this Parliament care not for any of those points though, do they? They only wish to have their will prevail so far as Brexit is concerned, in spite of the vote of the people and at whatever cost to the constitution.

    • steve
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

      formula57

      I’d go so far as to accuse quite a few of them as being in the reward of the EU in some way or other. No one can be in any doubt these traitors sole aim is to scupper brexit.

      My question is why the hell are they not removed from office and locked up for conspiracy against the state. It beggars belief.

      Clearly the EU has infiltrated the British establishment. The Intelligence Services need to be ordered to investigate and rout the traitors, then turn them over to the people for some justice.

      • tim
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        formula57- don’t you understand? the intelligence service, the establishment, courts, house of lords, house of commons, are ALL CONTROLLED BY THE EU. only the peasants not controlled fully YET

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

        Goodness. Can you not see that English=Bad, Everything Else=Good is all that motivates them ???

  13. Brit
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    MPs can and do say what they want. If only we could.

    • Fred H
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      we can once in a blue moon say what we want, however nobody takes any notice!

  14. Shirley
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    Parliament has gone rogue. The majority of MP’s and some parties have broken the pledges upon which they were elected, ie. to leave the EU. What should we do about dishonesty in politicians, as it is rife! When dishonest and deceitful people are making laws that affect everyone, it shows the weakness in our democracy. They get away with it by denying us a GE and therefore retaining the seats that were obtained fraudulently, but Parliament seems to protect it’s own, no matter how despicable and undemocratic they may be. They are above the law and protected from the electorate, and deliberately so.

    Who watches the watchmen? It appears nobody does! The ‘watchmen’ are free to do as much damage as they like. We need root and branch reform to enable us to bring the cheats and liars to account.

  15. Peter Wood
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Good Morning,

    The list of naïve errors made by the Cameron government will take a real Tory majority to correct, IF it has the Nation’s interests at heart rather than their own. That means removing most of the self-entitled, lazy, nerdowells inhabiting the party.

    We now see that the Boris deal is, as predicted, a simple polishing of the May ‘turd’. The backstop has been given up, the predicted sacrificial clause, leaving the EU with all the things they really wanted; money, law making, ECJ control. And yet the Johnson administration tells us its a wonderful new deal.

    How poorly are we governed!

  16. Dominic
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    If Parliament can pass a law that demands a citizen be put to death for the murder of another then no, Parliament can pass whatever law it likes if it can ensure a majority of MPs support it in both chambers. There is nothing Parliament cannot do should it choose to do so.

    But what we are dealing with here is political power not mere constitutional issues or limits of governance. xxxxx Blair understood the nature of political power and how to use it to promote his politics and his paymaster, the EU. And the Tories response? Weak, useless and malleable

    From the point of view of a private person, the Tories are simply not abrasive, aggressive and confrontational enough because you appear not to know how to be these things. Labour couldn’t give two hoots about polite behaviour and adhering to strict social etiquette.

    The Tories need to get brutal and quick. Less pandering and more radical action. Stand up and say the BBC will be privatised. Stand up and say the Supreme Court will be abolished. Stand up and say Labour have been indulging in vote fraud. Stand up and say the CPS and the Electoral Commission will be abolished. You never, ever challenge obvious bias against your party. Why is that? Is it lack of courage? Are you fearful of being targeted?

    What I find even more sinister and very concerning is the almost wholesale political ownership of many institutions that make up the British state. These public bodies have become political operators exercising independent political power apart from and out of the reach of government and indeed the law.

    I would like to see a Tory-BP alliance in the Commons that confronts identity politics, the rise of hard left extremism, the promotion of misandry by feminists and the adoption of a program to smash and dismantle of every single change Labour imposed upon the UK since 1997 because believe me, if xxxxxx Labour achieve power I believe they will tear down every aspect of the UK and rebuild it along Marxist lines

  17. Image Maker
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    “Commons set for knife Edge Brexit vote” headlines the BBC. Wrong. MPs set on knife edge. They made the knife, they sharpen it incrementally. Our police rather than army ( official rather than unofficial ) should confiscate that knife. It looks better.

  18. Graham Wood
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    Sir John. The first and urgent step for any new government must be to repeal
    The fixed term parliament Act and to redefine the exercise of a vote of no confidence in a
    PM. This would ensure the democratic will of the people could be expressed, and in
    turn make the holding of general elections much easier in that process.
    Both are necessary to avoid the absurd situation we now have in parliament whereby
    the government is prevented from fulfilling its proper role and function due to the
    foolishness of minority parties and stupid MPs

  19. eeyore
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Sir John’s right. MPs can now both decide election dates and repeal the Parliament Act, just as they choose. They have the power, if they wish, to sit forever and never face the people.

    Three and a half centuries ago we rejected the divine right of kings. Today we are in danger of the divine right of MPs.

  20. Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    I have seen what happens when law and order breaks down in Africa. It takes a couple of years as, in slow motion, first the parliament, then the police, then the army get pushed aside by rough gangs who deal in drugs, child soldiers, violence and rape. there is then a sort of violent and silent civil war.

    Luckily we are not yet there. But the XR idiots (I mean that) are rocking the boat now a lot. The incident when a man was pulled off the top of a tube train was very serious. Then there is all the hoo ha outside parliament. Then there is the knife crime.

    If something positive does not happen fairly soon, the violent protesters will carry the day and, believe me, it is not going to be pleasant when law and order breaks down.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      My Brexit voting police friends on the front line say that knife crime is here to stay and is our future. Nothing can be done about it and it will only get worse and worse. I believe them.

    • Fred H
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      So would you prefer the idiot remained on the roof of the Tube, putting his life in danger, and causing horrendous delays to the public going about their work and social lives, hospital appointments – even MPs attending Parliament? There should be several laws he broke and imprisonment ought to follow.

  21. steve
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Well I agree with the first and second hypotheses, good ideas. Maybe you should tap up Bercow and see if he’ll include them as today’s amendments.

  22. Matt
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Amazing to see that great ERG type Peter Bone change his tune this morning on a promise from Boris that if he votes for the deal we will definitely leave by December 2020 and this on a promise from Boris- who has just shafted the DUP- jeez

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      I am far from being a fan of Boris Johnson but I have to point out that Theresa May left him with a total mess on Northern Ireland – and on other matters as well – and what he has been able to agree with the EU may have been about the best that could be achieved from that disadvantageous starting point. There is at least the possibility that when it is found that the proposed rather crazy customs arrangements work badly then they could be changed.

  23. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    The Government does not have the sole right to initiate legislation as I understand it.

    Private members bills can do this as can those drafted by the Law Commission, though the latter probably carry the Government’s endorsement anyway.

    Your examples would clearly be silly, but no one is doing anything like them.

    Incidentally, the Scottish Court has, quite rightly by my analysis, rejected a challenge by the Remain campaigner Jolyon Maugham QC to the legality of the PM’s “deal”.

    As the judge said it would interfere with parliamentary procedure.

    The judiciary and courts are, in general, even-handed and diligent, and this is yet more evidence of that.

    • steve
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      MiC

      “Incidentally, the Scottish Court has, quite rightly by my analysis, rejected a challenge by the Remain campaigner Jolyon Maugham QC to the legality of the PM’s “deal”

      It is bizarre that a remainer should mount such a challenge, after all Boris’s deal was a sell out to the EU….which is what remainers want.

      Though perhaps it’s inevitable that the lines will become clouded as we slip into anarchy.

      An anarchy caused by the remain minority and equally to blame the idiots soft enough to accommodate them at every turn. The very same idiots who don’t have he guts or savvy to get rid of the chief facilitator of all this mess John Bercow.

      Obviously, democracy works by minority rule.

  24. Sharon Jagger
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Under normal circumstances your arguments would hold water, but under the current circumstances they won’t. The remainer politicians are behaving in a non common law manner with no honour because neither they, nor the EU want us to leave the EU, and are using underhand, barely legal ways of getting this country to remain. Because of our membership of the EU and it’s infiltration into so many areas of our life – including the law – we are in an almighty mess.

    Either we leave properly, vote out the relevant pro EU incumbents in Parliament…..or we remain and accept an authoritarian and intolerable way of being ruled. I don’t believe there is any ‘compromise’.

    I’ve read Martin Howes QC’s legal opinion on this new treaty, and whilst he accepts it’s tolerable, he believes the biggest damage will occur after its ratification, and during the transition period.

    Can we free ourselves of this mess? Especially as it looks possible Boris’ new treaty may pass in Parliament.

  25. sm
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I like your analogies, John; however, in today’s hysteria-driven world, I suspect that:

    a) 1000s of ‘woke folk’ would insist that the Sunny Sundays law made absolute sense and would willingly organise marches and protests to insist that the desire becomes fact.

    b) PM Rough Sleeping Act. Could we not all name wealthy pop/media stars who would demand this be fully complied with before retiring to their own luxury dwellings?

    c) Breaking the PM’s Promises Act. I’d like to think that some of the sharper (though deeply unpleasant) knives in the Labour drawer would recognise this is something that could bite them in the rear some time in the future, but wouldn’t put money on it.

  26. Mike Wilson
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Given the current state of play, the sensible thing seems to me to be put our leaving the EU on hold and have a general election. The shenanigans indulged in by the Tory Party and the ‘promises’ made to the small number of party members are irrelevant to the rest of us. Stop messing around. Postpone the Brexit farce for a year and have an election.

    Under the current Brexit deal, what do we have to pay to the EU in the forthcoming years.

  27. James1
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Don’t worry. Enough of the electorate have clocked the appalling behaviour of the delayers and disrupters in Parliament and will with enormous pleasure unerringly vote them out at the imminent general election.

    • steve
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      James1

      Indeed, we’ll be going for the throat at the next general election make no mistake.

  28. Anonymous
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    This witty post should be an article in a newspaper.

  29. David
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Parliament appears to be becoming increasingly keen on passing ridiculous Acts. The Fixed Term Parliament Act was rushed through to address a particular problem but has lasting effect even after that situation passed leading to consequences today.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Yes, wouldn’t it be far more sensible if, say, the President of the US could call an election whenever he felt that the wind was in his sails?

      He cannot, and for very good reasons.

      • libertarian
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        MiC

        I think you’ll find the US system is very different to ours. They have a Presidential system we have a parliamentary system

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

        An incorrect parallel.

        A general election would be the best Second Referendum today.

        As a Leaver I say go for it and I suspect it’s why you don’t want one.

  30. agricola
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Having an unwritten constitution has worked well when we have a principled Parliament, Speaker, and Judiciary. There has been too much evidence of late that we do not enjoy such. This makes me think that we are in need of a flexible written constitution. Flexible in that it contains the facility to be added to or subtracted from as circumstances change. Apart from telling us the population how we should behave, it should also define the powers of Parliament and Government. I would add that I do not see the fixed term Parliament as a great success. Of late it has given the unscrupulous room to operate. As has been recognised with identity and voting we have moved from a time when people knew the rules and obeyed them to a time when any scam you can get away with is the norm.

    • agricola
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Surely this was early enough, not too controversial, didn’t involve WW2, and I would have thought short enough. Should one take today in Parliament on face value and read it like the shambles it was or can Boris compete in complexity of plot with John le Carre so that all gets explained on 31st October. No wonder they hang in there, most are unemployable.

  31. BOF
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Exactly Sir John. It is currently ungovernable. Having read two separate summaries of the ‘deal’ going before Parliament today I feel disenfranchised and for the sake of my sanity I will watch the rugby.

    No wonder there were smiles in Brussels. They have got everything they want.

  32. Fairhurst
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Indeed. Today, you can help the cause of orderly governance by voting against all amendments and then in favour of the PM’s deal.

  33. Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    For me Westminster has been a complete and utter disgrace.

    After studying the government accounts for a decade I knew it was rotten to the core. The lies and deceit that has been spread as truths from that place is incredible.

    This time though they haven’t even tried to hide the disdain they have for voters.

  34. Lifelogic
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Indeed.

    Much of Miliband’s dire “Climate Change Act” and other acts are “The Sunny Sundays Acts” yet it was voted through by all but a handful of MPs. The laws of physics will not change for some halfwitted, scientifically illiterate virtue signalling MP.

    Letwin trying to continue his outrageous treachery I see. Anyone who votes for this is totally unfit to be an MP.

    Let us hope May W/A with fig leaves on deal fails. The more one looks at it the more appalling it is. It prevents the UK becoming competitive and completely nobbles it for the real negotiations to follow. It is clearly not Brexit.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Much talk of “workers rights”. These rights generally just help shirkers (rather than workers) and some largely parasitic lawyers and regulators. The effect of more workers rights is usually to reduce pay, make some workers carry others, makes industry far less productive and it this destroys available jobs.

      The best protection (and only real) for workers is lots of available well paid jobs that they can move to if they do not like the one they have. The idea that the EU should control our workers rights and environmental standards post Brexit is an outrage.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        The only “workers rights” covered by the European Union are to Health and Safety, of which the Working Time Directive is a part.

        Yes, you wish to erode those, clearly.

        Employment contracts and trade union laws are sovereign matters, and why the Tory UK has some of the worst in the democratic world.

        • Edward2
          Posted October 20, 2019 at 9:04 am | Permalink

          Thats not correct MiC
          Do a quick internet search.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted October 20, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

            It is correct, do a better search, or quote the laws which affect other UK workers’ rights.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 20, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

            You first.
            Your ridiculous claim.

  35. Kevin
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    This is an interesting foray into legal philosophy. I am sure there are several
    other hypothetical statutes that could be imagined, such as this: The “Catholic
    medical professionals will be fired if they refuse to break what they know is the
    moral law” Act
    . My question to the Conservative Party leadership is this: would
    you repeal such an act? If not, why should I care if Parliament owns you?

  36. A.Sedgwick
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Oliver Letwin silly walk act?

  37. Roy Grainger
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    In the third case what would be the sanction if the PM refused to comply ? The act sets out no punishment. Anyway, useful to have these precedents being set so they can be used against Labour if they ever regain power.

  38. Simeon
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    With respect, haven’t events moved on from the point you’re making here?

    I have to confess, I am a little surprised by what’s happened. I hadn’t anticipated BJ re-negotiating so insubstantially (although annexing N. Ireland is in and of itself substantial), and then for the ‘Spartans’ to cave so cravenly. The upshot is that BJ’s treaty now has a fighting chance of passing. If it does, that is not of course the end of the matter generally – but it would seem to obviate the need for Parliament to dictate to BJ. Rather, what proceeds is much more along the lines of consensual agreement. Or a stitch up, if one prefers!

    May I suggest that what is apparent to those paying attention is that the Tory party are giving up any pretence of being a party of Brexit, and that now it is the Brexit party alone that are seeking to uphold the largest democratic mandate in this country’s history.

  39. Anthony
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    So vote for the deal john. Then there’ll be an election. Otherwise they’ll hang on till there’s another referendum.

    • Posted October 19, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Anthony – and you really think that, having handed over all the cards to the EU, they’ll ALLOW us to have a General Election and vote in a eurosceptic party? They will ALLOW us to do only what benefits the EU.

      • steve
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Then you’d be looking at mass civil unrest. We will have our general election.

  40. stred
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    The Benn Act amounts to a (give in to EU Act ed). It was put through with the conniving of (the Speaker? ed)and with collaboration between the other party with which the government was negotiating. This party is on record as aiming to punish the UK and considers that their WA treaty amounts to making the UK into a colony of the EU. Other Remainers including ex-prime ministers, have written in the continental press suggesting that a bad deal would help them. The plot is now complete. They have forced the government to agree to a bad deal which is a treaty binding the UK to EU law and now are preventing their country from leaving as promised in the referendum.

    This is treachery against the people who agreed to vote and the government is accepting it because it suits the Conservative Party election agenda. If voting is seen to be subverted by arrogant lying politicians, then they will need protection while they cling on while refusing a general election.

    Boris should ask the queen to act to call this farce to am end and call an election. What would they be able to do? Beat up the voters and hand out 12 year prison sentences, as in Spain?

  41. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Off this topic, I have just sent this email to all ten DUP MPs:

    “At least let me be freed from EU laws … ”

    .. even if people in Northern Ireland will remain subject to some of them for some time after the rest of the UK has been liberated.

    Which is certainly not what I wanted to happen; and for getting on for two years now I have been repeatedly pushing for the most obvious, logical and effective solution to the vastly exaggerated problem of the land border.

    Including most recently with this letter printed in my local paper, the Maidenhead Advertiser, this Thursday:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2019/10/11/the-fed-joins-in-with-more-monetary-loosening/#comment-1062299

    under the headline:

    “Putting the Irish border problem in perspective”.

    Which letter concluded:

    “… a good offer, that the UK would pass strong export control laws to prevent the border being used as a backdoor for contraband goods to enter the EU Single Market.

    Although in truth it would be a pretty small backdoor, more like a cat flap.

    As one of her constituents I sent a copy of that letter to Theresa May; and it was duly acknowledged by her assistant with an assurance that she had taken on board the thoughts it contained, before she went on to do more or less the opposite.”

    I have done my (inevitably small) best for you and for Unionism, so please do not vote to punish me with continued EU membership.”

  42. Drew
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Our government has already passed “Sunny Sunday Laws”, committing us to be “carbon neutral” by whatever date!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Indeed.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Plus the minimum wage act the make it illegal for many people to work legally (or even to learn how to work!) We are governed by virtue signalling, moronic airheads.

      • tim
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        life logic- very good points, I am self employed, I do not pay myself minimum wage.

      • Drew
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Indeed.

  43. Stephen Willmott
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Having observed that my vote carries no traction I have concluded that comment elsewhere probably doesn’t either.

  44. acorn
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Perhaps this is the moment to drag the disunited kingdom out of the eighteenth century. Get the executive cabinet out of the legislature and elect the prime minister by popular vote. The PM then appoints an executive from the great and the good.The legislature, much reduced in size, can continue to play punch and judy all day, with reduced ability to bugger things up.

    With a reunited Ireland and an independent Scotland, the reduced UK should not miss the next opportunity to become a republic and elect a head of state as well as a head of government. It may distract the population from a post Brexit generation of insurection.

    • forthurst
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Let’s go for democracy first of all. The FPTP electoral system favoured by JR denies the majority of people voting a say in who represents them, ensures that two large parties can squeeze out smaller parties, prevents new parties arising that more represent the weltanschauungs of the people, makes it easy for entryists to take over the country by buying a couple of parties, and ensures that odious individuals whose own weltanschauungs are diametrically opposed to those of the majority of their constituents can be parachuted in and get elected.

      JR knows perfectly well that the FPTP system and an unrepresentative parliament has blocked the EU Referendum result being implemented yet is trying to blame a little local difficulty and not the absurd antics of the liblabcon over these past three years. The liblabcon needs to go; none of these parties represent the weltanschauungs of their founders; they have been infiltrated by opportunists who do not care for this country, despise patriotism and think mass third world immigration will make us “stronger”.

      The Scots and Irish may feel disaffected by Westminster but so do the English.

      • acorn
        Posted October 20, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        You might want to consider a nonpartisan primary election system for MP’s first. Something like the “top two” system gaining favour in the US. We have to disconnect from the current system whereby we accept self serving national political parties, dominating the selection of who we will be allowed to vote for. Particularly as most constituencies are safe seats.

        It will need a lot of voter education. You can pin a blue or red or yellow rosette on a donkey and they will still vote for that party.

        • forthurst
          Posted October 20, 2019 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

          Any approach that would get rid of the incumbents would suit me. On the whole most people are not that interested in politics and have tended to leave it to the professionals; however the Brexit saga has probably opened many peoples eyes to the turpitude of many of the practitioners and there may be stronger demands for changes to the system. In New Zealand they held two referenda on the issue of electoral reform having been bequeathed the now rarely used, for obvious reasons, FPTP system. In the first they were asked whether they wanted to stick with FPTP or switch to PR and in the second they were asked which form of PR they preferred. Referenda are useful but obviously need to be binding in law. US politics are so different from ours so its difficult to know how any initiative would work here.

    • steve
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      acorn

      “and elect a head of state ”

      Indeed why not. The current monarchy isn’t much use, if it was John Bercow would have been sacked, possibly banged up in the tower.

      Draw the sword to defend the nation ?……….pah ! Total BS as the current mess perfectly shows.

    • libertarian
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      acorn

      For once I wholeheartedly agree with you

  45. Fred H
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    But the will of the people has been shown contempt both by individuals and the H of C. Even the office of the Speaker has been guilty of contributing to the misuse of responsibility for fair and reasonable use of debating subjects and time. Judges of been used, and failed to see that the must not direct on matters of government policy.
    Shame on so many.

  46. ian
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    If this treaty passes parliament, there will be no GE till May 2022, and the same MPs will be sitting in parliament next year to decide any extension on the future relationship and the outcome of the future relationship of the UK, only an extension given by the EU might call for a GE in the next two weeks.
    Last but one nail going into the Brexit coffin, with remain MPs calling the shots till May 2022.

  47. Oliver
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I’d suggest a “F&E Act” that should be passed the moment you have a majority is one which prohibits, in an irreversible way (how?), parliament ever again giving away power which is not is in it’s gift – ie the people of this country’s rights to never again be subject to any power which is not directly and exclusively accountable to it.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. But how will this ever come about!

  48. David Maples
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Has anyone thought seriously about Trexit, this being a satisfactory exit from the transition period post Boris’ withdrawal deal? We do not wish to be left in some semi-autonomous relationship with the hideous EU, beholden to them like the underage heirs to a vast estate, whose inheritance is locked in an indefinite trust!!

  49. John Charles Green
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Sir John, I voted for you and, over the years, I have agreed with your position in the Leave debate. I do urge you, however, to recognise that neither ‘no deal’ nor ‘a perfect deal’ are likely to happen and that the time for compromise has arrived. Please vote for Boris’ deal.

    • Posted October 19, 2019 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Just for interest’s sake, Mr Green, try reading facts4eu.org, concerning this ”deal” and what it entails – a guide for the lay person.
      Then tell Sir John again that he should vote for this, if it leaves you in the same mind.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      No, no, no. The deal is dire and will perhaps even give us the dire Corbyn/Mc Donnall/SNP trip to Venezuela.

  50. BillM
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    I firmly believe that until they become an elected body, the judiciary should have absolutely no powers to create a Law nor should they ever be able to interfere in political matters.
    If the case presented is not covered by any specific British Law then it must be deemed to be outside of clear judicial authority.
    Any British court exerting its authority over political matters is a long step towards a dictatorship and can be likened to the way the EU Commission in Brussels operates.
    We voted to leave that behind, of course.

    • steve
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Bill M

      “I firmly believe that until they become an elected body, the judiciary should have absolutely no powers to create a Law. ”

      Exactly.

      Of course what’s good for the goose etc……which means therefore all of us who are unelected have as much right to make our own laws.

    • Lollipop
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      We have alot of law suddenly

  51. Everhopeful
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Possibly the main up-ending of our country took place under Mr Blair.
    Ancient laws ( that protected people from tyranny) were overturned.
    Any truly conservative govt. (which we have not had) would have undone the damage.
    It all seems such a perfect storm…..hard to believe it wasn’t planned decades ago.
    There have been HUGE warning bells…for those who cared to listen.

    • steve
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      Everhopeful

      “hard to believe it wasn’t planned decades ago.”

      It was.

      What else do you think ‘brave’ european leaders were secretly scheming up while staying as guests in our country during WWII ?

      And you might ask yourself which of them is infamously known for backstabbing ?

  52. Pat
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Clearly the current Parliament think the Benn act reasonable. I would bet on the supreme court agreeing with them.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      How many times do you have to have it explained?

      Parliament is supreme.

      No Court in the land can therefore challenge the Acts that it passes, nor any of its proceedings.

      • Fred H
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        well they should. Parliament is now a bunch of bullies facing a bunch of cowards and a sprinkle of decent ones mixed inbetween.

        Parliament is now an irrelevance to the great majority of the population, except maybe worn out amateur journos, media zero-integrity types who make a decent living out of the misery of ordinary people disadvantaged by politicians. As others have suggested – the swamp runs deep.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted October 20, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          Yeah, well we elected them.

          Actually, this is about the best Parliament that we’ve had in a while anyway.

      • libertarian
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Marty

        Thats funny because they just did exactly that

        • bill brown
          Posted October 20, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

          Libertarian

          This was interpretation so you got it wrong again. Are you now going to go on to personal attacks?

      • Edward2
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        The people are supreme.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted October 20, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          Fortunately, given ones like you, in this realm they are not.

          • Edward2
            Posted October 20, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

            You obviously missed the post from our host asking for less abuse on this site martin.

            The people are supreme
            They use their vote and elect MPs
            But they expect these MPs to do what they promised to do, in the manifestos they used to get elected.

      • Anonymous
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

        Apparently the Supreme Court can.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted October 20, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          Name the Act which it overturned?

    • Starling Darling
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      In Russia the Media, The Church, The Courts, Parliamentary Procedures, combined to thwart what were reasonable requests

  53. Posted October 19, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    John,

    They are all saying they want an economic impact assesment.

    Why doesn’t anybody say that is impossible until they finish the trade deals. The next part of the process ?

    This was always the reason why no deal was never a factual description of reality. Even moving to WTO. Deals were always the next part of THAT process.

    Somebody needs to highlight this in Parliament.

    • Oggy
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      Derek Do you really think that even if they (the nay sayers) received a very favourable impact assessment, they would vote for any form of Brexit ? They don’t give a hoot about impact assessments it is just one long continuous process of cynical political games they are playing to stop Brexit altogether. Letwins amendment being their latest ploy.

    • rose
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      They can’t even forecast to the end of the week.

      Impact assessments are beloved of the left and for some reason the right never explains why they are a nonsense. The Leader of the House did come close though.

  54. mancunius
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    “Is this a fair and enforceable Act?” Of c ourse not. The PM should have made it clear from the outset that he regarded it as an invalid and non-binding law. The government meekly declared instead to the courts that it would observe that maliciously intended quisling restriction on his negotiating ability.
    We now know that we live in a country where the courts ignore existing laws and make up their own; and where the government can do nothing about it. This is an extremely sinister development, and if the general population begins to understand its implications, it could see the breakdown of law and of parliamentary government. De Gaulle won a plebiscite to neuter the role of the French Assembly after just such a spate of childish parliamentary tantrums. The same could easily happen here.

    • Ian Bland
      Posted October 20, 2019 at 5:17 am | Permalink

      Mancunius, well said.

  55. Bob
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    “The Sunny Sundays Act”

    That sounds like a Lib Dem policy.

  56. Posted October 19, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John

    Very interesting. You have hot the nail on the head (even though it is moving about quite a bit). Your illustrations show the difficulty parliament is now in due to the Benn Surrender act!

    I think there needs to be a ‘tightening’ of some legislation and a loosing of other parts. The problem is: this needs to be done by a statesmanlike parliament, not one pursuing a marxist agenda at all costs.

    For example: The Supreme Court set-up, seems to me, to be Blaitaite construct which does damage to our ‘un-written’ constitution and parliamentary precedent. To me, the recent ruling was a bad ruling, but it is law. In effect, TSC, the Speaker and others, gave priority to a ‘wrecking’ agenda. Though the ruling is tolerable, the precedent is sinister.

    The BIG problem is sorting out our constitution so a ‘good’ government can get on with running the country for the good of the people, and legislating against a ‘bad’ government.

    Maybe we need amendments to the ‘Fixed Term Parliaments’ Act? A minority government should not have to limp on. The current parliamentary numbers should trigger an automatic GE. Maybe two-stages? 1 – Can the minority command a majority by consent? (DUP in recent times, The Coalition before). 2 – If not, a GE is triggered.

    Also, I would like to see ‘accountability’ measures. Manifestos are now the place of lies. We need some mechanism for holding MPs, parliament and the government to account over election pledges.

  57. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I really look forward to the day when we no longer hear the hypocritical eurofederalist Dominic Grieve whining away trying to keep us subjugated to the EU.

    That is, assuming that he does not get re-elected for Beaconsfield next time even with the support of his new friends in the so-called “Liberal Democrat” party.

    https://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/17951164.beaconsfield-lib-dems-pledge-support-dominic-grieve-election-brexit/

    It is worth recalling once again the advice that this man gave to David Cameron regarding New Clause 9 to affirm and defend the supremacy of Parliament against potential attack through Declaration 17 attached to the Lisbon Treaty.

    Namely, that voting for it would “create a constitutional contradiction”:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/06/17/the-nature-of-this-site/#comment-941197

    To repeat the last paragraph of that comment from June 2018:

    “There are unfortunately many parliamentarians who never cared two hoots for the sovereignty of their Parliament, and whose primary loyalty was clearly to the EU, who are now faking deep concern about the rights of Parliament.”

  58. nshgp
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like you are getting your excuses in early.
    Why not prosecute those who stop a democratic vote?
    New parliament, passes a bill where those that prevented leaving are surcharged.
    Parliament is soveriegn, as they keep saying, so they can’t complain can they.

  59. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    So now the Northern Irish unionists are going to join with the Scottish separatists to make sure that the people of England remain subjugated to the EU …

    • rose
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      The EU mafia must be ruing the day they trashed the central principle of the Belfast Agreement after having sickened us for 3 years by saying how devoted to it they were above all else. Was it worth it? The Letwin amendment would have been defeated if the mafia hadn’t insisted on doing that at the 11th hour.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Seems so.

    • MarkW
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      The English were the ones who started all of this three hundred years ago when they subjugated the Scots and then the Irish people against their will into a UK by bribery and corruption. Kettle/ black

    • Full Circle
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      The Europeans are good at it aren’t they, historically.

  60. julie williams
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    What is a fair and effective Article in the EU; how many times can Article 50 be extended? How many times can Macron and Merkel do the good cop/bad cop act?

  61. Posted October 19, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see who among the 46 who pledged to ”…abandoning Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement as dead” are foresworn. There will be a few, no doubt.

    That people who are styled ”honourable” are blatently DIShonourable shows how shameless and self-serving they are, and also just how far they have sunk in a few months.

    And, of course, I don’t include our host in that. I just hope he’s not standing alone.

  62. Philip Brandon
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I sincerely hope you are backing the deal Sir John.

  63. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I take it that the 10 DUP MPs have just made sure that we must all stay in the EU and subject to all EU laws, and in my view they will come to regret doing that.

  64. Martyn G
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    The shades of Napoleon, Kaiser Bill and a certain other dictator must be rejoicing in all this! The subjugation of Britain achieved without firing a single shot…..

  65. JoolsB
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    John, slightly off topic but just listening to points of order regarding business in the house next week and can you please tell me why Dr. Philippa Whitford, SNP MP has just stood up and asked Bercow if she is still going to get the chance to submit her statement regarding the NHS next week. As the NHS is devolved, she clearly means the English NHS. With respect, when are any of our supine self serving MPs squatting in English seats going to grow a backbone and demand what right this woman has to speak at all on the English NHS.

    • Trumpeteer
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      She is English. All Scots are English and we are all Scots. But the SNP has a fixation/obsession with Trump MP, MEP and MSP.
      Corbyn mentioned Trump today in the debate too. Odd isn’t it.

  66. Matt
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    John- when we started on this road you proclaimed along with others that it would be the easiest deal ever- taking back control of our borders, our money and our laws, and doing super new trade deals with countries far away- but I don’t see it myself

    Thinking is that some of you off the wall politicos should now stand trial for reckless endangerment of the country and the economy

    Reply If I had written the script for the negotiations it would have been easy I told them not to accept sequencing or the idea of a Withdrawal Agreement

  67. Rule Britannia
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    While you are right with respect to our history, the FTPA put us into new territory. In days of yore, Boris would have called an election, since the FTPA he can be held hostage while they take control of the order paper, push through stupid legislation and rely on the remoaners in the Blair Memorial Court to do their bit.

    Or, they can sit there and do nothing much of anything for up to 5 years – only 3 to go at the moment, nothing to worry about.

    Which is one reason why I believe Johnson is showing us this so that when the FTPA is repealed, no-one will bat an eyelid.

    The question over the 3 scenarios is which the Surrender Bill fits into. Forcing a PM to act against his stated policy is presumably infringing on his human rights in some way – and presumably many other issues could be shown to apply to that ‘legislation’.

    Whatever he’s up to, he’d better make it stick, since refusing Royal Assent for oliver Lightweight’s Act of parliamentary vandalism was the clear way to force them to accept an election as the only way to get their wishes through (basically, the time-honoured way).

  68. margaret
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    We just need to reiterate that it was not the democratic decision to accept any type of deal.The vote was ‘Leave’ and that alone.

    • margaret
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Can you imagine EU businesses saying we will put Little England’s jobs before our profit..?!

      • steve
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

        Margaret

        They should do, after all none of them would exist without us.

        21 miles south of Dover, is where the land of ungratefulness begins.

  69. Caterpillar
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Today Letwin et al confirmed the country is indeed ungovernable. The PM must again come to the house and ask for a GE. He should now dump the WA, the HoC had its chance. UK needs a democratic election and to leave immediately – it has been proved that any attempt to take a deal and associated legislation through the HoC is a waste of time and uncertainty generating. GE and no deal are the only remaining sensible actions. If the PM does not try for a GE again then he is letting the country down.

  70. steve
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Julie

    “How many times can Macron and Merkel do the good cop/bad cop act?”

    …..until we get leaders in this country with the guts to threaten them back.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      They “threatened” the UK with allowing it an extension if it asked for one.

      So the UK should threaten to invite them for tea and cakes, perhaps?

      What strange people there are.

  71. tim
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Inform the Queen, if she does not dissolve Parliament and order a General election, then soon they will pass a vote to make the UK a Republic.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Corbyn/Mc Donnall probably will do. It seems we have at least 322 dire traitors in parliament let by poll tax Letwin.

      Non should ever be elected again.

    • steve
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      tim

      “Inform the Queen”

      Why ? She seems happy to not get involved, despite the country being on it’s knees and verging on civil war.

      If she was at all concerned she’d have sacked that disgrace of a speaker John Bercow.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        Your ignorance of your own country is staggering.

        How can you claim to be patriotic, towards an entity about which you haven’t a clue?

        Parliament is sovereign. Only it can sack the Speaker.

      • tim
        Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        steve- Well said, totally agree, but the only way out is a General Election, but we will not get one until 2022?

  72. MG
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Superb analysis

  73. Original Richard
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    I consider that all three of your examples are present in the EU’s controlling and wilfully damaging WA treaty when dealing with such matters as military action (defence and offence), foreign, tax, competition and fishing policies and EIB liabilities.

  74. Polly
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    As Brussels and Pres Macron are pushing hard for the Boris hyped up and faux ”Brexit deal”, Brits definitely shouldn’t touch it !

    The only safe way to deal with Brussels is No Deal, otherwise they are sure to lay traps at every turn.

  75. Fred H
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I notice Sir John doesn’t include some of my postings. I’m probably not alone? I have come to the conclusion the truth is becoming too painful for him, and he struggles to include it, a sort of denial issue. The reality of the party he has served for so many years, the reality of this joke of a Parliament he held so dear, the decent of our nation into an also-ran run by schemers who pretend they love the country and all it has stood for. Reality is quite a shock.
    Hopefully Sir John will read and reflect, even if not publish this.

    Reply You send in too many so I delete some

    • Fred H
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      I apologise. And I sometimes reply to several which seem just so much nonsense. There is little original work here now, between us we have covered much of the situations out there. You are admired for the tolerance you show most of the time for looking through our stuff and including it – I doubt I would.
      Keep up the good work – the political viewpoint not the blog.

    • Norman
      Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      It would not surprise me, Sir John, if you are heartily sick of this whole wretched business, and utterly exhausted by it. (You are not alone!) I hope you will find the strength to keep going.

    • Anonymous
      Posted October 20, 2019 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      I have asked Sir John to discard any ego in this matter.

      The fact is that I find myself at war with my own countrymen, not the EU. All insults and no give on the issues that caused Brexit.

      The same haughty, over privileged middle class which climbs atop tube trains and glue themselves to railings.

  76. alastair harris
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    A little over 3 years ago the people voted in a referendum, and by a majority of over 1 million votes chose to leave the EU. There seems to be some confusion in the minds of many in Parliament, but really it is simple. Either that vote is honoured or else we see the end of a democratic parliament first established in 1215 to reign in the powers of the Monarch. Because the fact is that whatever sovereignty means, Parliament cannot rule without the consent of the people it represents. I appreciate that many people voted to remain and that some of those people are quite vocal. But that does not change the basic point.
    I think your examples characterise quite well the actions of a minority of your colleagues, and of course the answer is simple. But it appears we can no longer trust our institutions to uphold our constitution. It is indeed a sad day.

  77. Ian Pennell
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John Redwood

    Sir Oliver Letwin and the Remainers have heir way: Legislate for Boris Johnson to Beg the European Union For a Brexit Delay!

    Now that the DUP have thrown a hissy fit – despite Boris Johnson’s Deal being a much better Deal (it is Brexit) – Remainers now scent blood: Their Ultimate Plan is to Delay then Destroy Brexit through a Second Referendum with just a choice between Remain and BRINO! They know that Brexit supporters wont vote for BRINO so Remain will win: Brexit will be cancelled!

    What’s to stop Oliver Letwin and Co. “Taking Control of the Order Paper” (again) – to legislate for such a 2nd Referendum (making this one legally-binding to scupper Brexit)? The DUP will now help Remainers because they didn’t get their way!

    The only surefire way to stop all this ASAP is for Boris Johnson to continue telling the EU “No More Delay”, after sending the Delay begging letter. The Prime Minister may still be arrested for defying a Court Injunction to “Request Delay in Good Faith”; so he must make Steve Baker (or your good self, Sir) his Deputy to become PM if he is Jailed: He must then travel round Europe visiting EU Governments getting them to reject Delay (so minimising a risk of being arrested/ stopped before 31st Oct.). Brexit would then happen!

    Boris Johnson will still likely be arrested on returning to UK; so he must be Bold and Brave- Prepared to sacrifice Career and Freedom for Democracy! Has this not been spelt out to him- Yet? His being willing to face Jail is the only sure way now to Get Brexit Done by 31st Oct, win the next Election and kill off all Remainer MPs “Plans to Kill Brexit”.

    This looks to be the only proper way of defeating Remainers and guaranteeing Brexit when we have such Remainer Courts and most MPs acting in such awful bad faith they hijack a Brexit Deal that – if passed – would stop “No Deal” Brexit: Of course, it was never about “No Deal” Brexit but about “Delaying Brexit Enough to Kill Brexit in a Rigged Referendum”! That’s what Remainers ultimately want – Don’t give it to them!

    Ian Pennell

  78. MarkW
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Parliament is just not working as it should in this modern age. The type of politics we have is more suited to the 19th century and needs a complete overhaul. I suggest a citizens assembly be drawn up 100 to 200 ordinary informed people picked by random to consider this and make recommendations. Am thinking that first of all have to bring in proportional representation

  79. K Jig
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I struggle to understand how anyone can believe the EU Leaders are our friends and partners. They are not our friends and partners and if anything, they are our enemies and hate us.

    I voted Leave and my heart sank when May was parachuted into No 10. My only consolation is when everyone was burbling on about May being effective and all the rest of the hype, I ignored it and was proven correct in my judgement.

    Then Boris won and my hopes rose, although not completely. First we had Stanley in an interview, “All we need to do is sort out the backstop”, in other words, the Johnson view could be to keep May’s Treaty, that is a shocker.

    Then backwards and forwards to meetings in the EU in exactly the same manner as May. What is wrong with them when they want to prostrate themselves at the feet of these unelected nonentities?

    For the first time I did not vote Conservative in the European Elections and now I will register with The Brexit Party and donate.

    Seeing Letwin, May, Hammond and the rest in their confident betrayal has finished me, even though I am a believer in true conservative values.

  80. Roses
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    JR deletes some of mine too but I have back up copies written in stone.

  81. tim
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    How much proof is needed? How many times does it have to be said? The EU was & is NEVER going to offer or accept a ‘deal’. They don’t want us to leave. The ONLY way we will ever leave is by UNILATERAL & UNCONDITIONAL withdrawal. Boris should stop asking & start telling!

  82. Rule Britannia
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    It now seems that Boris never had a cunning plan to get around the Surrender Act.

    And when they start tacking amendments onto his WA next week, what then? Refuse Royal Assent at that point in time?

    Too late. I sense the end of the Conservative party is imminent.

    • libertarian
      Posted October 20, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Rule B

      Hmm thanks for that astute analysis not… He had a very good plan to COMPLY with the surrender act. ie A DEAL, this rogue parliament were forced to show their true colours , ie they are trying everything possible to stop us leaving.

      The Conservative Party is 13 points ahead in the polls and gain up by the day

      • Rule Britannia
        Posted October 20, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        Lie Bert

        It was not a vert good plan – being up in polls is nothing, only elections count and by the time that happens (and it may be 3 years the way this bunch of remoaners are going) people will have seen all the bad in this deal and realised that WTO was/is the way to go.

        I hope JR will vote against this WA – it may be that Boris has a plan to get us out on WTO rules but now the EU holds the cards and can offer an extension, knowing that he must accept.

        Of course, that would smoke them out as our enemies, not our friends and if nothing else is true, it is that Boris’s actions have shown everyone in this debacle up for exactly what they are.

        Perhaps an extension is what we need – as long as we get an election in the intervening period.

  83. Caterpillar
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Today I feel that I live in Catalonia. There was a vote for independence that has been stopped. What is next – a legal ocase against a political leader trying to deliver independence. Suppression of the people’s decision, dictatorial powers by Letwin, the speaker et al., mandated strong EU values – is this the new fascism under which we are destined to live?

  84. Caterpillar
    Posted October 19, 2019 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Dr Redwood, I think that your title question might be answered if there were an official enquiry as suggested by the Daily Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-7592013/ANDREW-ROBERTS-Britain-needs-inquiry-elite-turned-Brexit-humiliation.html I would suggest that this is part of any future manifesto policy commitment or sooner if possible. There is much we all need to learn.

    • Loyal Blue
      Posted October 20, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      Fully agree! Let’s hear from all the Brexiters who said this was all about the sovereignty of the UK but are now selling out Northern Ireland

  85. Ian Bland
    Posted October 20, 2019 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    The constitutionality is in a sense beside the point. The question is whether any country could be governed, or would choose as a system of government, the situation we now find ourselves in. It seems to me that we are now in a situation in which we have no government. We are effectively a Parliamentary Republic now, but one which has not appointed some responsible person, persons or body with which it can interact with governments of other nations. It is thus attempting to force a person (the PM) to be that responsible person externally to act on its behalf. The Benn Letter thus is a fraud, or forgery, it is sent in the name of the Prime Minister but is not from the PM.

    A very strange situation. This seems to be demonstrating the danger of a constitution which is predicated on trusting people to do the Right Thing. What happens when they don’t?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted October 20, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      The temporary situation here is very similar to what happens in PR countries, in most modern ones, that is.

      However, they generally do not have a servile, forelock-tugging, still-feudal population, who expect government to be an elected dictatorship, and nor do they have governments which expect to be accepted as such.

      The attitude here is utterly lamentable, but with a cringing, pusillanimous electorate what can one expect?

      • Edward2
        Posted October 20, 2019 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        Ridiculous post from you Martin
        Are you suggesting we should get all rebellious and disruptive like those ER extremist anarchists?
        We are simply waiting for an election.
        Then the nation will reveal its disdain for those MPs who have refused to carry out the wishes of their electorates.
        Our time will come.

  86. Martin Conboy
    Posted October 21, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    It is a sound legal principle enshrined in both English Common law and the much much more recent Human Rights legislation, that binding legal documents obtained via force, or the threat of force, are invalid. It is illegal to put someone in a cell and threaten to beat them unless they sign a confession. It is illegal to tie your parents to a chair and threaten to beat them unless they sign a will leaving you all their money. Any legal document obtained by such means would be completely invalid.
    By this principle then, Parliament cannot threaten Boris Johnson with fines for contempt unless he signs a letter that he did not write. They are demanding his signature to a legally binding document with menaces. Even if Johnson did sign it the letter would be invalid because the signature was demanded with menaces and therefore provided under duress.
    I think this defence would stand up in a court of law.

  • About John Redwood


    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.

    Promoted by David Edmonds on behalf of John Redwood both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU

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