Saturday, 16 November 2019

Withdrawal Agreement ~ The Joint Committee

The Key documents:

The New Withdrawal Agreement (541 pages pdf), New Political Declaration (31 pages pdf), the Declaration on Consent in Northern Ireland (8 pages pdf), and a Statement that Political Agreement has been reached (7 pages)  may be seen at - UK Government 19 October

Committees:

The Withdrawal Agreement (WA) will,

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Withdrawal Agreement ~ The Ireland / Northern Ireland Protocol

The Key documents:

The New Withdrawal Agreement (541 pages pdf), New Political Declaration (31 pages pdf), the Declaration on Consent in Northern Ireland (8 pages pdf), and a Statement that Political Agreement has been reached (7 pages)  may be seen at - UK Government 19 October

Introduction:

The Withdrawal Agreement contains Protocols on Ireland / Northern Ireland, the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus, and Gibraltar.  The protocols are an integral part of the withdrawal agreement - WA Art 182.

This post considers only

Friday, 8 November 2019

Brexit - key links and analysis

Collection of links to Brexit materials.

Withdrawal Agreement / Political Declaration etc:

The New Withdrawal Agreement (541 pages pdf), New Political Declaration (31 pages pdf), the Declaration on Consent in Northern Ireland (8 pages pdf), and a Statement that Political Agreement has been reached (7 pages)  may be seen at - UK Government 19 October

House of Commons ~ Explanatory Material:

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Sir Lindsay Hoyle becomes 158th Speaker ~ Dissolution ~ Election timetable

Election of Speaker:

On 4 November 2019, by secret ballots of MPs, Sir Lindsay Hoyle was elected Speaker of the House of Commons - Parliament 4 November.  He is the 158th individual to occupy the office.

Mr Kenneth Clarke MP (Father of the House) presided over the election which took from 2.30 pm to about 8.20 pm.  The final ballot

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Intelligence and Security Committee Report ~ Russia


On 17 October, Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) sent a report to the Prime Minister - see ISC 17 October Russia.

Downing Street has been accused of sitting on the report which examined allegations that Kremlin-sponsored activity distorted the result of the 2016 EU referendum.

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) was first established by the Intelligence Services Act 1994 to examine the policy, administration and expenditure of the Security Service, Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). 

Saturday, 2 November 2019

A December General election ~ the Speaker ~ Dissolution of Parliament

It has been an interesting week! An extension of UK membership of the European Union (EU) was secured. The Prime Minister's motion under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 to hold an early general election failed to secure the required two-thirds majority in the House of Commons. A Bill was then introduced to legislate for a general election on 12 December 2019. The Bill received Royal Assent on 31 October and became the Early Parliamentary General Election Act 2019 (EPGEA).  See this previous post.

December general elections

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Grenfell Tower Inquiry ~ Phase 1 report

The fire and the building:

In the early hours of Wednesday 14 June 2017 a fire broke out in the kitchen of Flat 16 Grenfell Tower, a high-rise residential building in North Kensington, West London. Grenfell Tower was owned by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) and managed by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (the TMO).

Firefighters

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Brexit ~ Flextension ~ General Election

Updated 30 October, 31 October and 2 November

On Monday 28 October, following discussions among the EU27, a "flextension" was granted to the UK's EU membership.  The EU Council decision is shown below - see Updates.  The Prime Minister sent a letter accepting the extension as he was required to do by the European Union (Withdrawal) (No 2) Act 2019 s.3.

It is reported - e.g. at Politico.eu - EU agrees to January 31 Brexit extension - that the extension will last until 31 January 2020 but membership could end 1 December 2019 or 1 January 2020 if the UK comes to be in a position to ratify the withdrawal agreement - (previous post).  Also, the extension is conditional

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Brief roundup ~ not Brexit

Aberfan Rescuers

Brexit dominates the news but here are some other news items.

Manchester Arena:

The Home Secretary announced the establishment of an inquiry, under the Inquiries Act 2005, to investigate deaths arising from the attack at Manchester Arena on 22 May 2017 - Parliament announcement.

The Inquiry will be chaired by retired High Court Judge - Sir John Saunders.

Sir John had already been nominated by the Lord Chief Justice to lead the investigation and inquests into the deaths at Manchester Arena - Manchester Arena Inquests - but the inquests will be adjourned once the inquiry is established.

Sir John has

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Withdrawal Agreement Bill in Limbo

On Tuesday 22 October, in the House of Commons, the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill passed its Second Reading by 329 to 299.

The Second Reading vote was immediately followed by a Programme Motion vote. This went against the government's proposed, and far too short, timetable for consideration of the Bill during its committee stage. The vote was 308 in favour of the programme motion to 322 against.

The Prime Minister responded

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Three letters ~ Brexit extension in the balance

Following the events in Parliament on Saturday 19 October, three letters were sent to the European Council President - BBC News 20 October.  One is the letter mandated by the European Union (Withdrawal) (No 2) Act 2019 and is NOT signed by the Prime Minister.  A second letter, which is signed by the Prime Minister, explains that the Prime Minister does not actually want a delay beyond 31 October.  The third letter is from Sir Tim Barrow, the UK's Permanent Representative at the EU and informs the EU Council President that there is an attached letter sent as required by the terms of the 2019 Act.

It is not known exactly

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Brexit - House of Commons Saturday 19 October 2019

People's Vote March 191019
On 19 October 2019, the House of Commons held its first Saturday sitting since 1982 (Falklands crisis). The purpose was to debate the new agreement reached with the European Union on Thursday 17 October and it was hoped by government that the House would vote in favour of the agreement - previous post 17 October.

The agreement had met with favourable reception from the Governor of the Bank of England (BBC News 19 October 2019).  The Director of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), who repeatedly warned of the risks associated

Thursday, 17 October 2019

EU ~ Negotiator Level agreement ~ NOT the done deal by a long way

Negotiations end with agreement:

On 17 October 2019, the European Commission published details of the outcome of talks at negotiator level aimed at reaching a Withdrawal Agreement under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union - see "Negotiating documents on Article 50 negotiations with the UK"

UK government - New Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and Political Declaration and note the 3 documents - Revised Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement, Revised Political Declaration, and Unilateral Declaration on Consent.

EU Commission Press Release 17 October 2019 - "The European Commission has today recommended the European Council (Article 50) to endorse the agreement reached at negotiator level on the Withdrawal Agreement, including a revised Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland, and approve a revised Political Declaration on the framework of the future EU-UK relationship. The Commission also recommends that the European Parliament give its consent to this agreement. This follows a series of intensive negotiations between the European Commission and UK negotiators over the past few days."

Later on 17 October,

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Extinction rebellion protests - a Section 14 Order

Updated 7 November 2019

Global climate change is an issue to be taken seriously. I readily admit to having been among the sceptics until I came across the serious and well-presented examination of the subject on the NASA website - Global Climate Change - Vital signs for our planet - where it is stated that scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.  It is claimed that - "The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia."

Extinction Rebellion

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Solving controversial problems - the judicial and the political roles - two eminent views

Jonathan Sumption, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, delivered the 2019 Reith Lectures - earlier post of 25 June and see BBC's annual Reith Lectures

Lord Sumption followed up the lectures by publishing a very readable book - Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics.

The book is based on the lectures, with additions and modifications provoked by the discussions which followed, and some expansion of points that could not be accommodated within the half-hour broadcast slots.

The subtitle of the book

Friday, 11 October 2019

Sovereignty and Accountability - fundamental principles - a note

The recent Supreme Court decision in Miller v Prime Minister [2019] UKSC 41 (the prorogation case) invoked what the judgment refers to (para 41) as - "Two fundamental principles of our constitutional law .." First, the principle of Parliamentary sovereignty. Secondly, Parliamentary accountability.

The judgment of the majority in Miller v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU [2017] UKSC 5 noted at para 40 that - "Unlike most countries, the United Kingdom

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Parliament - Judicial Independence - Prorogation


Judiciary- Independence:
On 8 October the House of Commons held a short debate on Judicial Independence - Hansard 8 October - Judiciary: Independence. Robert Neill MP asked the Lord Chancellor (Robert Buckland MP)

"Consistent with the Lord Chancellor’s speech at the opening of legal year, will he confirm that there is no place for political involvement in the appointment of judges and no question but that the rulings of the courts must be observed by all?"

Mr Buckland replied -

Monday, 7 October 2019

Brexit and civil aviation ~ a note

Back in July 2018 this blog took a look at the possible impact of Brexit on the civil aviation sector. This post notes some developments which should, at least in the short term, minimise disruption to civil aviation in the event that Brexit takes place without an Article 50 withdrawal agreement.

This sector operates within a complex system of international regulation including regulation by European agencies such as the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) created by the EU in 2002.

EU Regulation 2019/502:

The UK government has

Thursday, 3 October 2019

In brief - proposal for new Ireland protocol - Prorogation

Updated 8 October

The British government has put a proposal to the EU Commission for a new protocol for Ireland / Northern Ireland - see UK Government Policy Paper 2 October 2019 where the letter from the Prime Minister to the President of the EU Commission can be seen as well as an Explanatory Note on the proposals.  A "legal text" has been sent to the Article 50 Taskforce.

The Prime Minister's statement in the House of Commons 3 October 2019. The Prime Minister said

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Brexit ~ Further court actions in Scotland


Court of Session
Updated 9 October

In early September it was announced that proceedings had been commenced in Scotland's Court of Session by petitioners Joanna Cherry QC MP, Jolyon Maugham QC and businessman Dale Vince (a millionaire businessman and political donor who founded the renewable electricity company Ecotricity) - The Guardian 12 September 2019.  The petitioners are asking the court to apply the Scots Law concept of "nobile officium" so as to enable the court to sign a letter to European leaders requesting a Brexit extension in the event Mr Johnson refuses to do so.

The nobile officium

Friday, 27 September 2019

Case of Prorogation ~ Supreme Court judgment (2)

Links added at the end of the post .....

This is the second of two posts considering the Supreme Court's judgment in the prorogation appeals.  The first post looked at how the court held that the advice of the Prime Minister was justiciable and at the standard they set down for adjudicating upon lawfulness. This post considers the remainder of the judgment which addressed lawfulness itself and remedy.

Was the advice lawful?

The court pointed

Case of Prorogation ~ Supreme Court judgment (1)

My previous post (24 September) noted the Supreme Court's unanimous judgment in the two Prorogation appeals. The court held that the advice given to Her Majesty by the Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) to prorogue Parliament was justiciable and also unlawful.  The consequence of the advice being unlawful was that the Order in Council of 28 August 2019 was also unlawful, void and of no effect and should be quashed with the result that Parliament was not prorogued.

When this litigation commenced, there were

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Prorogation Unlawful ~ Supreme Court judgment

UKSC 24 September 2019
On Tuesday 24 September the Supreme Court of the UK handed down judgment in the Prorogation-related judicial reviews - previous post.

It is a judgment that will resonate around the common law world in which many Parliamentary systems are based on the Westminster-model.

The court held unanimously that the advice given to Her Majesty by the Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) to prorogue Parliament was justiciable and also unlawful.  The court held

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Prorogation ~ Australia


The present prorogation of the UK Parliament is particularly controversial because of the imminence of Brexit and the fact that no withdrawal agreement has been reached. The present House of Commons is opposed to withdrawal from the EU without an agreement and has legislated to try to prevent that taking place without its consent - previous post.  The government, headed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has stated that it prefers the UK to leave the EU with an agreement but if one cannot be secured then Brexit should still take place on 31 October.  The prorogation has been challenged in the courts and judgment of the Supreme Court is expected in the coming week - previous post.

The power to prorogue

Friday, 20 September 2019

The prorogation litigation 17-19 September 2019

UKSC - September 2019
Update 23 September - Judgment will be handed down at 1030 on 24 September.

Prorogation of parliament was ordered on 28 August and took place on 9 September. The prorogation lasts until 14 October and was ordered by HM The Queen acting, via the Privy Council, on the "advice" of the Prime Minister.  It is widely thought that the true reason for this lengthy prorogation is to remove an awkward House of Commons from the political scene so that the government can get on unhindered with its Brexit policy.

The prorogation removes

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Prorogation of Parliament: Supreme Court to hear challenges

"The prorogation of Parliament is a prerogative act of the Crown. Just as Parliament can commence its deliberations only at the time appointed by the Queen, so it cannot continue them any longer than she pleases" - Erskine May at para 8.5.

That statement sets out the basic legal position relating to prorogation.  Prorogation is dealt with in greater detail by Graham Cowie in a House of Commons Library Briefing Paper - CBP8589. In practice, the prerogative power to prorogue parliament is exercisable

Friday, 13 September 2019

The European Union (Withdrawal) (No 2) Act 2019

The Prime Minister said that "he would rather be dead in a ditch" than seek a further extension of UK membership of the EU and Michael Gove (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster), in an interview with Andrew Marr, refused to guarantee that government would obey legislation to block a no-deal Brexit - The Guardian 1 September 2019.

The European Union (Withdrawal) (No 2) Act 2019 is now law and imposes certain duties relating to Brexit on Ministers including duties on the Prime Minister.

That Ministers are under an obligation

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Prorogation and the courts

England and Wales:

The High Court (Divisional Court of the Queen's Bench Division) - Lord Burnett CJ, Sir Terence Etherton MR and Dame Victoria Sharp (President QBD) held that the decision of the Prime Minister to advise Her Majesty the Queen to prorogue Parliament is not justiciable in Her Majesty’s courts-  - Judiciary - Gina Miller v Prime Minister and others [2019] EWHC 2381 (QB). 

Scotland:

In Scotland's Court of Session (Outer House) - Lord Doherty - reached

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Extraordinary times ~ Parliament 9 September 2019

Extraordinary times:

It is wholly inadequate to say that the political events of the last few days have been "utterly extraordinary." Even during the many turmoils since the end of World War 2 it is impossible to find a situation in which there has been this degree of breakdown in the trust required between government and parliament. Political actors have to be trusted to observe the laws and conventions underpinning the UK's uncodified and, at times, ill-defined constitutional arrangements. In particular, trust is crucial so that government respects the role of parliament and vice versa.

Resignations:

Suspicion was confirmed by

Thursday, 5 September 2019

4 September ~ What happened

Updated 6 September:

Proceedings in the House of Commons on 4 September 2019 included the passage of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No 6) Bill (the No.6 Bill) through all its House of Commons stages. The Bill then proceeded to the House of Lords.  The Commons also held a vote, under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, for an early general election.

Prorogation:

The Prorogation Order requires the prorogation of Parliament

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

3 September 2019 ~ What happened: minus the rhetoric!

Court of Session
On 3 September 2019, the House of Commons returned after its summer recess which commenced 25 July. The day also saw the substantive hearing in Scotland's Court of Session of a judicial review relating to the prorogation of Parliament.

House of Commons:

An application to hold an emergency debate was made by Sir Oliver Letwin MP who said - " ...in the light of the Government’s decision to prorogue Parliament next week it has become an urgent matter for Parliament, and particularly this House, to discuss whether it can accept a no-deal exit. I therefore ask you to grant an urgent debate under Standing Order No. 24."  The Speaker

Monday, 2 September 2019

Notable cases (7) ~ M v Home Office

M v Home Office [1993] UKHL 5, [1993] 3 WLR 433, [1994] 1 AC 377 was decided by the House of Lords in 1993.  The appeal gave rise to issues of constitutional importance.  The case concerned the breach of an injunction requiring the return to the UK of M who had been removed to Zaire. A finding of contempt was made against the Home Secretary, then Mr Kenneth Baker MP, but only in his official capacity and not his personal capacity. For the first time, a Minister of the Crown was held in contempt of court.

The House of Lords (Lords Keith, Templeman, Griffiths, Browne-Wilkinson, Woolf) rejected the proposition that the courts did not have power to enforce the law against a Minister of the Crown. Applications for judicial review were not 'proceedings against the Crown' for the purposes of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947: accordingly injunctive relief against a Minister or officer of the Crown is available in judicial review.

The most detailed speech

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Prorogation announced

Updated 4 September - additional link

Tuesday 27 August - A meeting of MPs took place on Tuesday (27 August) at Church House, Westminster and put forward a cross-party plan to use "whatever mechanism possible" to stop a no-deal Brexit being forced through - ITV News 27 August 2019.  The MPs agreed "on the urgency to act together to find practical ways to prevent no-deal ... "including the possibility of passing legislation and a vote of no confidence." The legislative route to stopping no-deal was preferred over the alternative but securing parliamentary time for such legislation is difficult given that the government normally has control over the agenda of the House of Commons.

The Church House meeting

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Exit Day and repeal of ECA 1972

Exit Day 31 October:

On 10 April 2019 Prime Minister Theresa May secured an extension of "Exit Day" to 31 October 2019 - see Council Conclusions and Council Decision 10 April.  The Council Decision fixed "Exit Day" as a matter of EU law.

The definition of "Exit Day" in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 s.20 was duly amended by the European Union (Withdrawal) (Exit Day) (Amendment) (No2) Regulations 2019  to 31 October 2019 at 11 pm.  This brought UK domestic law into alignment with the position in EU law.

Under

Thursday, 15 August 2019

The Peterloo Massacre - Bicentenary



"In the name of Him who made us, We will perish, or be free" - Samuel Bamford

On Monday 16 August 1819, St. Peter's Field, Manchester was the site of what is known as the Peterloo Massacre.  On the orders of Magistrates for the Counties of Lancaster and Chester*, cavalry, sabres drawn, rode into a crowd of some 60,000 who had gathered to call for reform of parliamentary representation. An estimated 18 people, including four women and a child, died from sabre cuts and trampling. Nearly 700 men, women and children received serious injuries.

The word Peterloo

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Prorogation

Updated 31 August 2019

13 August 2019 - 79 days to Brexit.  £1 = 1.08 Euro.  £1 = 1.21 US $.  The clock continues to run down to Exit Day.

Court of Session - Scotland:  

Back in the news is the possibility that the Prime Minister might secure a prorogation of Parliament in order to prevent the House of Commons stopping a "no-deal" (crash-out) Brexit - BBC News 13 August 2019.  A legal challenge to try to prevent such a prorogation is underway before Scotland's Court of Session.  The petition, brought by the Good Law Project, is supported by more than 70 MPs and peers.  The project seeks

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Could Parliament stop "no-deal" Brexit

6 August 2019 - 86 days to Brexit.  £1 = 1.09 Euro.  £1 = 1.22 US $.  The clock continues to run down to Exit Day.
 
The possibility that the House of Commons may wish to prevent a no-deal (or, more accurately, a "Crash-out") Brexit taking place on 31 October is producing further constitutional talking points.  In March 2019 the House was opposed to no-deal - BBC News 14 March 2019.  The new Prime Minister has said that Brexit will take place on 31 October “whatever the circumstances” - The Guardian 5 August.  A no-deal Brexit entails leaving a deeply-integrated and barrier-free market with 27 other member States and over 510m people.  The UK will also leave Euratom.  No-deal will also have serious consequences in other areas such as Police and Judicial Co-operation - Law Society February 2019.


This previous post (1 August 2019) reported

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Emergency at Toddbrook Reservoir, Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire

Updates at the end -

Recent rainfall has certainly been exceptionally intense and has threatened the dam wall at Toddbrook Reservoir at Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire.   A huge effort is taking place to try to prevent the wall collapsing including use of a Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter assisting with emergency efforts (pictured) - Metro News 3 August 2019.

Toddbrook Reservoir opened in 1838 and is located near the south-western part of the town with the dam wall facing the town.  The present situation is not the first at Toddbrook.  As shown in the following paper, heavy rain in 1964 also caused serious concern.  Remedial works

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Brexit uncertainty


1st August 2019 - 91 days to Brexit.  £1 = 1.10 Euro.  £1 = 1.21 US $.

The lack of clarity over Brexit is deeply concerning for everyone.  Will there be a deal or will it be a no-deal Brexit?  If a no-deal Brexit then what will happen?  If no-deal, what will be the situation in Northern Ireland regarding the border?  What might happen in Parliament when it eventually emerges from its lengthy summer recess?

No-deal preparation:

HM Treasury has announced

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Manchester Arena ~ Inquest Pre-Hearings

On the evening of Monday 22nd May, at 22.33 hrs BST, a bomb was detonated in the foyer of the Manchester Arena – BBC News 23rd May.   22 people were killed and over 100 injured (many seriously) – BBC News 27th May.   The bomb was detonated as people were leaving the Arena following a concert by US singer Ariana Grande.

The attacker was identified by police as Salman Ramadan Abedi – (see BBC 26th May) - a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan ancestry who detonated a shrapnel-laden improvised explosive device at one of the exits as concertgoers were leaving.  Abedi was born in Manchester in 1994, grew up in the Whalley Range area and lived in Fallowfield.  It appears that he was known to British Security Services but was not regarded as high risk – The Guardian 23rd May. 

A number of individuals were arrested

Friday, 26 July 2019

Insane automatism and driving

On 25 July, in the House of Commons, the death of 15 year old Katelyn Dawson was raised by Mr Barry Sheerman MP (Huddersfield).  Mr Sheerman asked the Leader of the House of Commons (Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg MP) -

"On 10 January 2018, Katelyn Dawson was killed and two other women were very badly injured when a white BMW crashed into a queue of people as Katelyn was going to school. She was 15 and an only child. Could we have an early debate on what is going on in the Crown Prosecution Service? It has been many months and now the Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to bring any charge against the driver ....  He got off because the CPS thought he was going to argue insane automatism, which is increasingly being used by wealthy and well-connected people to get off charges when they kill people."

Thursday, 25 July 2019

A new government forms

The ritual transfer of executive power took place on Wednesday 24 July 2019.  The outgoing Prime Minister (Theresa May) attended the House of Commons for her final Prime Minister's Questions and then went to Buckingham Palace to tender her resignation to HM The Queen.  Mrs May will have advised the Queen to appoint Boris Johnson, the successful candidate in the Conservative Party leadership election.  Mr Johnson then attended the palace and was duly appointed Prime Minister.  This time-honoured ritual emphasised the constitutional facts that HM The Queen is Head of State and that the government is Her Majesty's Government.

Mr Johnson returned to No.10 Downing Street, spoke briefly

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Boris Johnson becomes Conservative Party leader

With exactly 100 days to go before the United Kingdom leaves the European Union (EU), the Conservative and Unionist Party announced that Boris Johnson is to be party leader.   Mr Johnson won 92,153 votes (66%) to Mr Hunt's 46,656 (34%).

On Wednesday 24 July, the Queen's first visitor will be the outgoing Prime Minister - Theresa May.  Mr Johnson will then visit the palace to be formally appointed as Prime Minister. 

During a lengthy campaign, Mr Johnson made clear that he plans to lead the UK out of the EU by 31 October 2019 - i.e. to "deliver Brexit."   His stance has been that this will take place with or without a withdrawal agreement.

Appointment of Prime Minister:

In law, the Queen may

Friday, 19 July 2019

Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill - (2)

An earlier post looked at the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill when it was before the House of Commons.   The principal purpose of the Bill is to extend the period for forming an Executive under section 1(1) of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018 and to impose a duty on the Secretary of State to report on progress towards the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland.

The reporting requirements are in Clause 3 of the Bill.   Originally this was a short clause of just 3 subsections.  It has now expanded to 21 subsections.

On Thursday 18 July,

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

European Parliament 16 July 2019 ~ Brexit and no deal

On 16 July 2019 the European Parliament narrowly approved the nomination of German politician Ursula von der Leyen as President of the European Commission.  The Parliament has 751 members.  733 votes were cast and those divided 327 against and 383 in favour - (51% of the total number of MEP or 52.25% of the votes cast).

Ursula von der Leyen was nominated by the European Council at the Council meeting held on 30 June - previous post 3 July 2019.  See HERE for background to the nomination.

In

Sunday, 14 July 2019

An Ambassador resigns ....

Journalist Isabel Oakeshott, writing for the Mail on Sunday (7 July), revealed comments made by the United Kingdom's Ambassador to the USA (Sir Kim Darroch) about the administration of President Donald Trump.  The comments were in diplomatic communications (Diptel) between the Ambassador and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

In one document Sir Kim wrote:  'We don't really believe this Administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.'

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill

The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill received its First Reading on 4 July 2019.  It was introduced as a Bill to:

"Extend the period for forming an Executive under section 1(1) of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018 and to impose a duty on the Secretary of State to report on progress towards the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland."

Northern Ireland is supposed

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Stephen Laxley-Lennon ~ Guilty of contempt of court

Updated 9 July 2019  - with link to High Court reasons.

Updated 11 July 2019 - sentencing

The Attorney-General's Office has announced that Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka "Tommy Robinson") has been found guilty of contempt of court following a trial held at the Old Bailey before Dame Victoria Sharp P (QBD) and Warby J.   Dame Victoria Sharp was appointed President of the Queen's Bench Division upon the retirement, at age 70, of Sir Brian Leveson.

The contempt proceedings have an interesting and quite lengthy history.

Crown Court at Leeds - 25 May 2018:

In April 2017, Kirklees Magistrates' Court sent a number of men, accused of serious sexual offending against young females, for trial

Friday, 5 July 2019

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson v Westminster Magistrates' Court and others

This previous post (30 May 2019) looked at the decision by  District Judge (Magistrates' Courts) Margot Coleman to issue a summons to Boris Johnson alleging three offences of misconduct in public office.  The alleged offences related to the 2016 EU referendum campaign during which it was said that Boris Johnson repeatedly lied and misled the British public as to the cost of EU membership, expressly stating, endorsing or inferring that the cost of EU membership was £350 million per week.

The summons was later quashed by the High Court (Rafferty LJ and Supperstone J) for reasons set out in a judgment dated 3 July 2019 and published on the Judiciary website.

It is no surprise that 

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

EU Council ~ 30 June to 2 July 2019

EU Council:

The European Council has met over 30 June 2019 to 2 July 2019 and future key EU appointments were considered.  Prime Minister Theresa May attended on behalf of the UK.

The European Council plays an important role in certain appointment procedures for high profile EU level roles. In particular, it is responsible for:
  • electing the President of the European Council
  • proposing the President of the European Commission
  • appointing the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
  • officially appointing the entire body of Commissioners
  • appointing the Executive Board of the European Central Bank (ECB), including the ECB president
Process:

Electing the President requires a qualified majority.