Tag Archives: EU Withdrawal Bill

Make Constitutional Law Boring Again

Scottish Constitutional Settlement and Brexit DisruptionsFew English people think about the constitutional settlement of the nations of the United Kingdom. And ordinarily, this doesn’t matter at all.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has an uncodified constitution: not a single document thoughtfully and carefully produced to give a country a good start in life, but a collection of legislation and even judicial rulings made over the centuries as the British people clawed our way into being a functioning modern democracy from a starting point of feudal monarchy. The 1689 Bill of Rights (and for Scotland, the 1689 Claim of Right) is part of the UK’s constitution: so is the 1998 Human Rights Act.
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Filed under Brexit, Politics, Scottish Constitution

Brexit: we’re closer to the cliff-edge

Dangerous Cliff EdgeToday the House of Commons had a debate and a vote on whether the House of Commons should be able to have a meaningful vote on the final Brexit deal, or lack of one. The House of Lords proposed and won an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill that said there should be a meaningful vote: Dominic Grieve, Conservative MP for Beaconsfield and Attorney General for England & Wales from May 2010 to July 2014, proposed an amendment to support this for a debate in the House of Commons.

Grieve’s amendment lost 303 votes to 319, so the only vote Theresa May will permit on her Brexit deal (or lack of it) is on a neutral statement: a neutral statement cannot be amended, it only records that the House of Commons “took note”. In the end Grieve himself walked through the lobby to vote with the Government, against his own amendment, because (he said) “he woke up in the small hours worrying that his actions would cause the the government’s collapse“.

This could very easily have been true. As Dominic Grieve is well aware, Theresa May’s government (and the Brexit negotiations) are inherently unstable.
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Filed under Brexit, Politics

Brexit, the four directions: part 4

Front page of Telegraph 15th November 2017 - The Brexit MutineersThere are four ways the UK can go from here with regard to Brexit, and all of them are bad. We could go hard Brexit, or no deal – that’s catastrophic. We can accept the deal the EU is still prepared to offer us, soft Brexit, which may be only mildly disastrous but which won’t make anyone, Leaver or Remainer, happy: or the third direction, another EU referendum – which will inevitably stir up trouble, potentially very violent trouble, and there is no guarantee that a second referendum would arrive at the desired result; and time is running out.

The fourth, entirely constitutional option, is for the House of Commons to stop Brexit by a majority of MPs voting to revoke the UK’s invocation of Article 50 and remain in the EU.
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15/11/2017 · 12:50 pm