Monday, 16 July 2018

Brexit ~ MPs like rats in a sack

Justine Greening MP - (Wikipedia) - has argued that a second referendum on EU membership is required in order to break the gridlock in Parliament - The Independent 16 July.  Greening, who held the Putney seat by 1554 votes in the 2017 election, branded Theresa May's Brexit plan the "worst of both worlds."

Let's see if Greening's idea is workable ....

Under the Article 50 Notification, the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 - only 257 days from now.

UK-EU Future Relationship - the UK Proposals July 2018 - Number (3)

This is the third and final post looking at the government's Policy White Paper - The future relationship between the UK and the EU.   Previous posts are 12 JulyInstitutional Arrangements and 14 July - Economic Partnership.   The White Paper Chapter 2 contains proposals relating to a post-Brexit Security Partnership and Chapter 3 is entitled - "Cross-cutting and other cooperation."

Saturday, 14 July 2018

UK-EU Future Relationship - the UK Proposals July 2018 - Number (2)

The Previous post 12 July considered the important Institutional Arrangements put forward by the UK in the government's Policy White Paper - The future relationship between the UK and the EU.  This post takes an overview of the proposals for an Economic partnership set out in Chapter 1. 

The long-awaited White Paper did not get off to an auspicious start in the House of Commons.  The debate on 12 July - see Hansard - was remarkable in that MPs had not been given copies of the Paper!

The White Paper is, in reality, the only proposal on the negotiating table and, as such, has to be examined seriously and not dismissed out of hand.

At the heart

Thursday, 12 July 2018

UK-EU Future Relationship - the UK Proposals July 2018 - Number (1)

The government has published its Policy White Paper - The future relationship between the UK and the EU.

Unless there is some major political development, Brexit takes place on 29 March 2019 and, at present, there is to be an implementation or transition period lasting until the end of 2020.

The paper is lengthy (104 pages) and lacks elegance.  "Cakeism" is a word used by some to describe the government's "cake and eat it" approach to Brexit and here we see a half-baked cake riddled with serious problems. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Brexit - post-Chequers

The stakes are high - the pace is fast - where are we with Brexit?

Friday 6 July - the Cabinet agreed a collective proposal for Brexit and there was a reassertion of the need for collective responsibility - Previous post 7 July.

On 8 July, the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU (Mr David Davis MP) resigned from the government - see his letter of resignation and the Prime Minister's reply.  He has been replaced by Mr Dominic Raab MP and see his voting record.  The Foreign Secretary, Mr Boris Johnson MP, resigned on Monday 9 July - resignation letter and PM's reply.  He has been replaced by Mr Jeremy Hunt MP.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Brexit ~ Chequers talks 6 July ~ Cards on the table

Mr Donald Tusk - the President of the European Council - noted in his remarks at the end of the recent European Council meeting that - "On Brexit. The EU27 has taken note of what has been achieved so far. However, there is a great deal of work ahead, and the most difficult tasks are still unresolved. If we want to reach a deal in October we need quick progress. This is the last call to lay the cards on the table."

After an all day session at Chequers on Friday 6 July, the Cabinet agreed a "collective position" on the future relationship of the UK with the EU - BBC News 6 July.

A White Paper is to be published on 12 July.  Talks with the EU resume on Monday 16 July.

It is remarkable

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Tommy Robinson appeal ~ observations

Update 12 July - The appeal by Tommy Robinson (Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon) will now be heard by the Court of Appeal next Wednesday, 18 July. He is challenging his sentence (13 months in all) for contempt of court — not his conviction. Lord Burnett, the Lord Chief Justice, will preside.


Mr Yaxley-Lennon - aka Tommy Robinson - remains in prison following his committal on 25th May for contempt of court - Previous post 1st June.  It was reported by supporters of Mr Robinson (HERE) that 10th July was set for an appeal against sentence to be heard but the date was cancelled because "the government's lawyers say they're not ready."  Unsurprisingly, that has been contrasted with the fact that Mr Robinson was arrested in Leeds and imprisoned within the space of around 5 hours.  I have not been able to find any official statement as to why the appeal date was cancelled.

The conduct:

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Out of the Shadows

The Law Society Gazette 2 July 2018 published an article by Rachel Rothwell - "Out of the Shadows."  The article notes the alarming number of recorded sexual offences against children under 16 - 43,522 offences in 2016-17 and goes on to consider a number of developments.  This post offers some additional material / links.

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is an area of abuse that

Sunday, 1 July 2018

European Council - June 2018

The European Council met in Brussels on Thursday / Friday 28 and 29 June.  This post looks primarily at the Brexit-related part of the council meeting.

Council Conclusions 28 June:

 The conclusions of 28 June are set out HERE under five principal headings: (I) Migration, (II) Security and Defence; (III) Jobs, growth and competitiveness, (IV) Innovation and Digital and (V) Other issues.  The main results are summarised HERE.  The Press Briefing may be viewed here.

On Monday 2nd July, the Prime Minister made a statement about the Council meeting - House of Commons Hansard 2nd July.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Grenfell Inquiry ~ Catching up

The fire:

On 14th June 2017 a fire ignited in 24-storey Grenfell Tower, Kensington, London.   Emergency services received the first report (999 call) of the fire at 00:54 BST.  The call related to a fire having broken out in Flat 16.   On receipt of the 999 call, fire engines were sent to the scene and the first arrived at 00:59 hrs.  During the earlier stage of the fire service response, the Incident Commander was Mr Michael Dowden.

The fire quickly spread through the building - see the images at BBC News 18 June 2018.   72 people died and many more were injured.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 ~ Overview

Royal Assent was given on 26th June and the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 is now on the statute book - Royal Assent is explained by Parliament HERE.

It is an Act to repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and make other provision in connection with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU.  Its progress through Parliament commenced on 13 July 2017 and is recorded HERE.  The Bill, as first introduced, is HERE.  The Act contains 25 sections and 9 Schedules.  This post is an overview of the Act.  Further articles and blogposts are inevitable and I will add links at the end of this post as and when they become available.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Geraldine Finucane's application for judicial review - Supreme Court

"The abiding impression of this period in Northern Ireland must be of an extremely dark and violent time in which a lawyer could so callously and tragically be murdered as a result of discharging his professional legal duties" - report by Sir Desmond de Silva QC December 2012.

On 26th and 27th June, the Supreme Court hears  Geraldine Finucane's application for Judicial Review.   The judgment under appeal is HERE.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Note on the Article 50 Challenge ~ High Court 12th June

Two years after the EU Referendum an interesting constitutional question lingers - How did the UK decide to leave the EU? 

Article 50.1 TEU  stipulates that - "Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements."  Then Art 50.2 - A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention.  Art 50 defines the leaving process in EU law and the structure is clear enough and logical - decision followed by notification of the decision.  Also, as far as the EU is concerned, how a Member State decides to leave is a matter for the "constitutional requirements" of that State.

It is not surprising

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Brexit - Two years on and the shambles continues

Two years after the EU referendum we continue to stumble onwards into the largely unknown world of post-Brexit.  Here is a woeful story of governmental incompetence.  The economic prognosis does not look good - see the analysis by the Centre for European Reform - What's the cost of Brexit so far?  - and the announcement by Airbus- and the views of BMW - BBC News 22nd June - and Siemens - Guardian 23rd June.  Complex issues regarding important sectors such as aviation remain to be solved and the almost intractable problem of the border between Ireland (in the EU) and Northern Ireland (out of the EU) has not yet achieved an agreed solution.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

EU (Withdrawal) Bill ~ update (2) - meaningful vote

Commons 20th June 2018
The previous post looked at the situation regarding the promised "meaningful vote" on either a Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the European Union as part of the Article 50 process or the failure to achieve such an agreement.  As part of the the "ping pong" process relating to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill the Lords amendments returned to the Commons on 20th June.

Few objective observers could conclude that the proceedings on 20th June were satisfactory.  They are described by Metro News 21st June - "UNWELL and heavily pregnant MPs had to endure three hours of parliamentary debate to save Theresa May’s Brexit Bill — in defiance of Commons convention.   A clearly ill Labour backbencher Naz Shah was helped into Westminster in a wheelchair clutching a sickbowl after spending the last three days in hospital.   Her party colleague, Laura Pidcock, who is heavily pregnant, was also there, as was Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson despite being past her due-date, and amid protests by other MPs."

But what happened regarding the Bill? 

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

EU (Withdrawal) Bill ~ update (1) - meaningful vote

The image shows the result of a House of Lords vote on 18th June 2018 on what can be called the "meaningful vote" amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill.  The vote took place during the "ping pong" process.

The government had said that Parliament would have a "meaningful vote" on whether to accept or reject any Withdrawal Agreement negotiated under the Article 50 process but, even in the slippery world of politics, there has perhaps never been as meaningless a phrase as "meaningful vote."  Just what did "meaningful" mean?   It appeared to mean a vote to either accept whatever was on offer or simply leave the EU without a deal.  Some in Parliament have tried to give the phrase a more definite meaning with a view to Parliament having a greater say in the event that there are serious problems in achieving a Withdrawal Agreement.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Reporting restrictions and the importance of open justice

Recently, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) was committed to prison for contempt of court in that he pleaded guilty to breaching a reporting restriction made in connection with a trial in the Crown Court sitting in Leeds.  The restriction was a "postponement order" made under Section 4(2) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981.  As defendants arrived for their trial, Mr Robinson broadcast via Facebook Live.  His broadcast lasted for over an hour.  This previous post looked at the basics of the law on contempt. 

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Upskirting ~ objection to a Private Members' Bill

The Voyeurism (Offences) Bill  is a Private Members' Bill aimed at the unpleasant and upsetting practice of "Upskirting" which typically involves offenders using a mobile phone to take a picture under a person’s clothing without them knowing, with the intention of viewing their genitals or buttocks.

It appears from this announcement  that the bill is supported by the government but, on 15th June - (one of the Fridays set aside for Private Members' Bills) -it made no progress because it was blocked when Sir Christopher Chope MP (Conservative, Christchurch) objected - BBC News 15th June.  The Bill is now listed for 2nd Reading on 6th July.  

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

EU (Withdrawal) Bill - back to the Commons (2) - 12th and 13th June

On Tuesday 12th June and Wednesday 13th, the House of Commons considered House of Lords amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill - the "ping pong" process.  The bill is intended to prepare domestic law for the UK's departure from the European Union - ("Brexit").   See previous post 12th June.

The list of amendments as put forward by the House of Lords is HERE.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

EU (Withdrawal) Bill - back to the Commons (1)

Under the terms of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the UK will leave the EU on 29th March 2019 - that is, two years after the Prime Minister exercised the power given to her by the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill returned to the House of Commons on Tuesday 12th June for consideration of amendments made to the bill during its time in the House of Lords - the "ping pong" process.  The bill is intended to prepare domestic law for the UK's departure from the European Union.  See Parliament 12th June - a useful link offering access to the entire progress of the bill.