Tag Archives: Theresa May

Parliament is sovereign: Vote on article 50

Private Eye on BrexitWhy I think you should contact your MP to ask them to vote against Theresa May’s Article 50 bill – whether your MP is pro or anti Brexit.

Theresa May claimed as Crown Prerogative the right to invoke Article 50 and take the UK out of the EU without consulting Parliament.

The Supreme Court has ruled, as matter of constitutional law, that she’s wrong: Parliament is sovereign, and only Parliament can take the UK out of the EU.

So Theresa May has had written a very short bill which will by Parliamentary vote give her the right to invoke Article 50 without further consultation.

Way to miss the point, Prime Minister.

This is the full text of the bill Theresa May has published today, two days after the Supreme Court ruled she couldn’t just use her Crown prerogatives to invoke Article 50:

Confer power on the Prime Minister to notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.
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Why is the UK leaving the EU?

“Does anyone know why the UK is leaving the EU?” someone asked.

This was my answer:

From where I’m sitting, the UK is leaving the EU because, in no particular order:
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Murphy’s Law: Après moi, le déluge

SNP wipeout - all 53 Scottish seatsJim Murphy cannot take all of the credit for the rise of the SNP in the polls: even before he declared his candidacy, the SNP were looking set to take the majority of the Scottish seats.

But under his leadership, the likelihood of Scottish Labour remaining a significant force in politics at Westminster has continued to fall, to the point where there is an even chance that Jim Murphy may not even be Renfrewshire East’s MP after 7th May: Electoral Calculus currently predicts Murphy’s margin of victory as 1.1%, in a seat which was 20 points ahead of the Tory challenger in 2010, when SNP was in fourth place behind the LibDems.

This is a shattering upset for the man who wanted to be Scotland’s First Minister. In October 2014, Jim Murphy – the third candidate in the Labour leadership race and the only not an MSP – told the Scottish Daily Record:

“I want to unite the Labour Party but, more importantly, I want to bring the country back together after the referendum.
“I am not going to shout at or about the SNP, I am going to talk to and listen to Scotland and I am very clear that the job I am applying for is to be the First Minister of Scotland.”

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The Secret Seven

Secret Seven! The name evokes disdain or contempt among many readers who are otherwise ardent fans of Enid Blyton … for most of us the Secret Seven happens to be the least revered series in Blyton’s canon. Is this because the books were written for a younger set of readers? Could it be the smaller format? The perpetual scowl on the face of their highhanded leader, perhaps? –In Defence of the Secret Seven

Now the reshuffle’s over, the full Cabinet is thirty-two – sixteen a side, an unprecedented length for a Cabinet meeting as you can see from the table they use (screengrab off the news by Gaz Weetman):

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Our constitution, July 2012: Economic rights

The previous constitutional posts have been based on a short list of things pretty much everyone agrees you should have in a functioning modern democracy. Politicians in government (or with hopes of being in government soon) may be less enthusiastic about some of the provisions, which are explicitly intended to restrict their power. But most of them are provisions that even the UK’s unwritten Constitution allows for and that even governments with a thundering huge majority will think carefully before overturning.

What follows is a series of ideas that would

“create a constitutional order that reflects a broad public commitment to a more inclusive, egalitarian, and communitarian way, and to mark Scotland out as a ‘progressive beacon’, the following additional provisions might be considered:”

1. Enhanced constitutional rights

Beginning with the most commonplace:

(a) Economic rights (minimum wage, right to collective bargaining)

Cait Reilly has received widespread ridicule from the right-wing press (and Iain Duncan Smith called her “snooty”) for saying her human rights were breached by being forced to work for her benefits in Poundland: I don’t know who first referred to this as “slave labour”, which is banned by Article Four of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but we can agree that being required to work 30 hours a week for £2.30 an hour may be illegal, but it is not literally slavery.

Articles 23-25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, however, were clearly breached:

Article 23: (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
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Filed under Benefits, Elections, Human Rights, Poverty, Scottish Constitution, Scottish Culture, Scottish Politics, Supermarkets

#BBCqt for International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day the BBC have decided to have an all-women panel for BBC Question Time.

(Just kidding. The real panel is the usual Bullingdon Boy plus an Eric, two Wills, with Caroline Flint and Janice Atkinson-Small. But let’s pretend we live in a world where the BBC wants to act like it cares.)

So in that alternate universe, David Dimbleby stepped down for International Women’s Day and was replaced by Christine Burns.

On the panel tonight is Theresa May, Conservative MP for Maidenhead and Home Secretary and Minister for Women & Equality; Caroline Flint, Labour MP for Don Valley and Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change; Jo Brand, comedian, national treasure and cake fan; Janice Atkinson-Small, UKIP communications director of Women On and contributor to the Daily Mail; and Frances O’Grady, the TUC Deputy General Secretary.

Live-blogging this special International Women’s Day panel for BBC Question Time begins at 10:35.
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