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Westministenders. Whilst Boris makes more daft promises, a50 hits the courts. Poo and Fan Time.

(998 Posts)
RedToothBrush Sat 01-Oct-16 15:39:31

There is no plan. Or is there?

We’ve talked on the last thread about how it’s being set up as ‘Hard Brexit’ or ‘Unilateral Continuity’ (dubbed here as the ‘Off The Top Of The Cliff Plan’) by the hard line Brexiteers either as the plan or the means by which to force a softer deal with the EU (which perhaps seems to be preferred choice of Mrs May herself).

The last few weeks have been plagued by comments by various members of the Cabinet over what Brexit means – comments which are frankly bollocks and show an outstanding world class level of ignorance – and have led to us being laughed at (Verhofstadt head of EU negotiations), facing outright anger and demands for compensation (Japan) and pure bewilderment (USA unless your name is Donald).

And they have been repeated contradicted and undermined by May in response with, the response that this is not government policy and she will not be giving a running commentary.

Thus making the UK look like the world’s leading political basket case whilst at the same time being ‘an excellent place to make new investment in’. Obviously. As long as you prattle the words ‘Free Trade’ a lot a bright new world of opportunity will open up. Just look at the Japanese position on that.


But really the reason why ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is still so vague, could be a legal one.

The next step in the Battle for Brexit, is in the courts and over whether the Royal Prerogative can be used to trigger a50 or whether May will have to first pass it through Parliament before she can notify the EU that we are leaving. This may prove to be a big hurdle for the government and one they have a real chance of losing particular the NI case.

The two big a50 challenges (though there are others) come from a cross party NI challenge supported by the NI Attorney General in Belfast and a crowdfunded ‘People’s challenge’ in the English courts. The NI challenge is characterised by a loss of rights and the international agreement that is the Good Friday Agreement, whilst the English challenge includes this as well as other acquired rights and concerns over the devolved assemblies and the Act of Union.

The government’s defence to this, which they sought a bizarre court order to protect and keep secret which was later overturned, is that ministers have better expertise to implement the start of Brexit than the courts (see Johnson, Fox and Davies), that it does not fall under parliament’s jurisdiction and that whilst the Royal Prerogative can’t be used to remove rights, because ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is so vague it’s impossible to challenge use of the Royal Prerogative because we don’t know precisely which rights will be affected!

The case for the government is also being presented by a relatively inexperienced lawyer.

However, some very respected constitutional law academics think the core of the government’s argument is sound, though this might be lost in the ridiculous other defences, the government have put along it. Their lead of the defence is a lawyer, who has little public law experience too.
The government need to win both these big cases, to ensure that they can use the Royal Prerogative. Don’t forget the likelihood of appeals regardless of the first ruling too.


Into the political void the Irish PM has stepped in to led discussions into the future of the island, the Japanese have issued a Brexit ‘wish list, the Spanish have staked a claim to co-sovereignty of Gibraltar (something rejected overwhelming in a referendum in 2002) and threatened to block negotiations otherwise, a French Presidential hopeless has kindly offered us another referendum, the USA have reiterated that they won’t do a deal with us until our WTO status is in good order and the Italians have said ‘No chance!’. This is the UK taking back control folks.

At home Ken Clarke has said that May needs to get her act together, George Osborne has said Brexit did not mean hard Brexit and Dominic Grieve has urged her not to sleepwalk into a hard Brexit. The Tory conference looks set for all out Tory War.


In a side issue the pro-Brexit newspaper, The Sun has come out in an editorial telling the Government to have the courage to pull the plug on the child sex abuse inquiry which was set up by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary, calling it a ‘farce’ and saying its scope was too wide and unmanageable… It might seem unrelated, but it calls May’s judgment and handling of large issues into question. If she allows it to plow on, it could turn into an even bigger farce and embarrassment, yet if she U-Turns it could make her look weak and have the potential to do the same over Brexit. She’ll struggle to throw Amber Rudd under the bus over the matter, because most of this happened on her watch. This will come back to haunt May. It also starts to question Murdoch’s position and opinion of May. Is this a withdrawal of support for her?


In summary, the next six to eight weeks are crucial to what Brexit looks like. It’s time for the shit to start hitting the fan. Brace yourselves for next couple of weeks. Get stocked up on the gin

We are not being led by UK politics anymore nor even internal squabbles really but the courts and outside forces which are shaping what is possible and achievable rather than what we want.

All talk is of a hard Brexit. It might well prove to be the case yet. We aren’t there yet though. There could be some more twists and turns yet.

An article 50 defeat in the courts for the government throws it back to Parliamentary scrutiny, taking up time and potentially watering down demands. It could even produce the result that a50 is deemed not fit for purpose and we have to go back to the EU begging for a new treaty for a way out (which technically they would have to do as they legally have to recognise democratic votes). This might be our only way to prevent a chaotic exit from the EU. This might led not to an exit though, but a two tier EU – a proposal suggested by, errrr Guy Verhofstadt, Head of EU Negotiations – and is very unlikely to prove to be the quick exit by 2020 that Kippers so desperately want. And a second referendum on the deal reached, in order to prove it was the will of the people. It could also prove a threat to the current government and raise the realistic spectre of a rebellion and a vote of no confidence and in turn a General Election.

Of course the EU themselves have a couple of their own headaches at the polls to survive too, whilst the German banks start to get the jitters. And there is the small matter of America having their own Brain Fart in the coming months, which could have a big impact on what happens next.

Yep, this is taking back control folks. What do you mean it feels more like a game of roulette? So might even say Russian roulette.

RedToothBrush Sat 01-Oct-16 15:40:12

Austrian Presidential Election Re-Run: 2nd October
Hungarian Referendum on Migration Quotas: 2nd October
Conservative Party Conference: 2nd October – 5th October
NI Article 50 challenge – 5th October
Italian Referendum on Constitutional Change: October
Czech Regional Elections: October
Lithuanian Parliamentary Elections: 9th October
SNP Conference: 13th – 15th October
The Department for Exiting the European Union first question sessions in Parliament: Thursday 20th October
High Court hearing on a50: due 'no earlier than the third week in October'
US Presidential Election: 8th November
Romanian Parliamentary Elections: Nov/Dec
Suggested a50 date: Spring of 2017
French Presidential Election 1st Round: 23 April 2017
French Presidential Election 2nd Round: 7th May 2017
EU Budget talks for the next 7 years: Mid 2017
German Federal Election: Between 27 August and 22 October 2017
European Parliamentary Elections: June 2019
Next General Election expected: May 2020

twofingerstoGideon Sat 01-Oct-16 16:42:32

Thank you for that summary, Red, and thanks to the other people who have been contributing to the various threads, especially the ones who have a good understanding of some of the legal aspects (not me!)

Peregrina Sat 01-Oct-16 17:27:21

Partly linked to a question on the other thread. Someone out canvassing in Witney today said that a lot of questions raised were to do with local issues, like cuts to the bus services, rather than national ones, so it's a bit of a mystery as to why people don't vote in local elections, when they might be able to have some influence.

Cameron is also perceived to have let the side down. How that will translate into votes remains to be seen. I suspect a lot of Tories will just stay at home and not vote.

Corcory Sat 01-Oct-16 17:50:10

Very interesting Red. Watch this space as they say!

Peregrina Sat 01-Oct-16 17:53:14

Sunderland Business leaders call on May after Brexit uncertainty

It's very sad, but Sunderland was warned of the likely effects.

TheForeignOffice Sat 01-Oct-16 17:59:56

Thanks for another outstanding summary red.

Made myself read it pretending the date was 2015 and felt the full lunatic force all over again. But I'm relieved not to be desensitized...and increasingly excited about the forthcoming Tory War smile

Peregrina Sat 01-Oct-16 18:08:24

Johnson's campaign for the leadership is back on according to the Independent.

TheForeignOffice Sat 01-Oct-16 18:12:46

And it's time for everyone else to wake up too.

IAmNotTheMessiah Sat 01-Oct-16 18:22:28

Boris is now starting tp wriggle out of what is left of his Brexit pledges, including cutting all payments into the EU budget!

SwedishEdith Sat 01-Oct-16 19:08:22

News Feed

Robert Peston
14 mins ·
Facebook Mentions
It's Brexit day tomorrow at Tory Party conference - and in her first speech to delegates as their leader and PM, Theresa May feels she must say something substantive.
She obviously cannot lay down what she would like our future trading relationship with the EU to be, because the cabinet is completely split on that.
But I do expect her to make an important announcement - about the status of EU laws and regulations after we actually leave the EU.
What I understand she will say is that there will be legislation here to enshrine in British law all laws and regulations stemming from our membership of the EU and single market.
In other words, leaving the EU would not lead to a single EU law or regulation being abolished at that instant.
The plan would be to abolish unnecessary laws and regulations over subsequent years.
The reason for this so-called "grandfathering" of EU law would be to reassure the private sector that they know what is and is not lawful in respect of how they make their products, how they do their deals and how they employ people.
And Theresa May also wants to reassure employees that their jobs would not become any less secure as a result of leaving the EU.
There may be some of her colleagues who lobbied for Brexit who will see her decision to initially preserve all these EU laws as a betrayal.
But she will point out that on leaving the EU no new laws and regulations would be imposed (unless against the odds we remain members of the EU single market). "It would be the end of the great flow of EU red tape" said one of her colleagues.
And the prime minister will also say that in subsequent years British governments and other governments can review the stock of inherited EU laws and amend or appeal what they don't like.
We'll know tomorrow whether the Tory party is angered or reassured that decades of law from Brussels is here to stay for many years.
And I will be putting the question whether May is betraying the Brexiteers to one of their leaders, Chris Grayling, on Peston on Sunday tomorrow at 10am (and repeated at 10.20pm).

TheForeignOffice Sat 01-Oct-16 19:42:23

RedToothBrush Sat 01-Oct-16 20:15:38

Rumour about GE in May is starting to gain serious steam.

RedToothBrush Sat 01-Oct-16 20:25:38

In response to Peston's post.

David Allen Green ‏@DavidAllenGreen
Fortunately we already have a statute for this very purpose.

It is called the European Communities Act 1972.

David Allen Green ‏@DavidAllenGreen
Brexit Act 2016

1. The European Communities Act 1972 is hereby retitled Brexit Act 2016.
2. Brexit shall henceforth be deemed to be Brexit.

Peregrina Sat 01-Oct-16 20:43:58

This enshrining EU law into British(?) (E & W? ) Law and then repealing at leisure isn't new. It is much as the Commonwealth countries did upon gaining independence.

It will get the Brexiters knickers in a twist though.

Peregrina Sat 01-Oct-16 20:45:53

Rumour about GE in May is starting to gain serious steam.

But they have to lose a vote of confidence, or pass new legislation to repeal the fixed term Parliament act.

RedToothBrush Sat 01-Oct-16 20:57:42

Peregina, I know. Its being seriously considered to do the latter but the former is not beyond the realms of possibility.

TheForeignOffice Sat 01-Oct-16 20:58:04

Spin-of-the-week award goes to DT for their "Brexit Begins" interpretation here:

With this buried in the middle:

The new “Great Repeal Bill”, introducing the change, is expected to be laid before Parliament in 2017 or 2018 for MPs to debate. ......... A majority of both MPs and peers will need to vote for the Bill for it to pass, raising the prospect pro-EU Lords could hold up its progress.

TheBathroomSink Sat 01-Oct-16 21:09:13

Well, the upside is that something Brexit related will get debated in the House. The DT is predictably excited, and has 3 separate comment pieces: a leader, Heffer and Booker who are exactly as smug and self-satisfied with this idea as you fear they will be. The main news article does note that

"Ministers will also announce protections for workers’ rights secured via Brussels, such as parental leave and automatic holiday, to pre-empt Labour attacks."

And that Davis is in charge of explaining this to conference.


TheBathroomSink Sat 01-Oct-16 21:14:02

The Guardian doesn't seem to have heard this news yet, although there is a delightfully scathing Marina Hyde piece on Liam Fox here

"An expert in the self-inflicted wound, his attacks frequently miss their target in favour of reminding you of his own failings. A few weeks ago he declared that British export had grown “fat” and “lazy”, with executives unwilling to step up and do their duty because it would mean “they can’t play golf on a Friday afternoon”. A hilariously tin-eared stab at a motivational speech that served mainly to underscore the impression that Fox is the sort of Rotarian horror who’d literally sign a trade agreement wearing string-backed gloves."

RedToothBrush Sat 01-Oct-16 21:25:07

Hey, Theresa May's speech writers had to pull something out the bag.

Normally, the Tory leader speaks only on the last day of the conference. Not May. She's up first to set the agenda.

The speech writers have had the job of making May look like she's actually 'doing' something rather than continuing with the Brexit means Brexit waffle. So after scratching their heads because they can't say what they will do they have come up with this.

Its actually nothing new at all. Just another rehash.

Don't worry, this is going to continue all the way up to the end of the court action. Trying to look like your doing something when actually you can't or that will screw up your whole legal case for a50. For months.

TheForeignOffice Sat 01-Oct-16 21:35:52

That Guardian piece is beautifully written, I have to say. She's slaughtered him to perfection. Also, this general observation:

Brexit has performed a questionable alchemy, allowing various of the politically undead to lumber out of the where-are-they-now files all the way back into key operational positions.

TheBathroomSink Sat 01-Oct-16 21:41:30

Yes, Red I do suspect there is a decent amount of pacifying the loony fringe, and also maybe some distraction from the idea of a GE going on. Bit like me trying to get the kids to stop wedgie-ing each other by mentioning cake (and then locking myself in the conservatory with Strictly and some vodka...)

TheBathroomSink Sat 01-Oct-16 21:44:52

Yep, Foreign she is very, very good at these kinds of pieces - it's so delicate in the way she skewers him when it would have been easy to be obvious.

prettybird Sat 01-Oct-16 22:00:35

My dad (who knew Fox as Dad was a doctor in a teaching hospital when Fox was a student) was waxing lyrical last night about what a prat Fox is the fact that Fox had never done a day's business in his life angry

Went straight from practicing medicine into being a politician hmm

Did I mention he thinks he's a prat?

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