Monday 24 December 2018

Christmas 2018

Best wishes to all readers for a truly Happy Christmas and New Year 2019.

"So remember while December Brings the only Christmas day, in the year let there be Christmas in the things you do and say."

On this Christmas Eve may I wish all readers a Truly Happy Christmas.  The Christmas message is a one of hope in what can be a very dark world.  May that message shine through like a candle in the darkness during the days and year to come.

Silent Night - King's College, Cambridge

In the Bleak Midwinter - Gustav Holst - arranged by Pat Johnson played by The Shirley Band

London Symphony Orchestra - Christmas Classics


Friday 21 December 2018

The Brexit debacle

Today is the Winter Solstice, the start of the winter season.  Parliament's Christmas/New Year recess commenced on 20 December and  lasts until 7 January.  With just 98 days to "Exit Day" there is, as yet, no acceptance by the House of Commons of the Withdrawal Agreement and Framework for the Future Relationship - ("the deal").

A House of Commons vote scheduled for 11 December was deferred by the government until the week beginning 14 January 2019.  The Prime Minister told the Commons that further discussions were taking place with the EU to seek additional reassurances over the Ireland/Northern Ireland backstop.

Thursday 20 December 2018

"No deal" preparation ~ the official information

EU "No deal" preparation:

With 100 days remaining to Brexit on 29 March 2019, the European Commission began implementation of "No deal" contingency plan.  This is the EU protecting its own interests.  The measures taken are "temporary in nature, limited in scope and adopted unilaterally by the EU."  It is entirely open to the EU to amend or cancel the measures if it deems such action to be required.

The EU commission Press Release states -

Monday 17 December 2018

Brexit - the impasse continues - Vote of No Confidence in the PM

Monday 17 December, the Prime Minister made a statement to Parliament about the EU Council held on 13 / 14 December.

Prime Minister's Statement 17 December

Council conclusions 13 December

Key points:
Certain negotiations are continuing "to explore further political and legal assurances."   No detail of these negotiations was offered in the statement - e.g. exactly what "legal" assurances are being discussed.

Friday 14 December 2018

Friday Brexit update ~ The impasse

With just over 100 days left to Brexit on 29 March 2019, there seems to be no prospect of the Withdrawal Agreement being acceptable to a majority in the House of Commons.  The "meaningful vote" scheduled for Tuesday 11 December was deferred to a date yet to be fixed.  The government has indicated that it will bring the debate and vote back to the House by 21 January at the latest.

The Prime Minister faced a leadership challenge mounted by the Conservative Party.  Mrs May won the ballot by 200 votes to 117 or 63% to 37%.  This prompted Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP for North-East Somerset and a leading light in organising the ballot, to argue that Mrs May ought to have then gone to see HM The Queen to resign as Prime Minister!  It hardly escaped the notice of commentators that Rees-Mogg is totally insistent that come hell or high water the 2016 referendum result (51.89% to 48.11%) must be honoured.

Monday 10 December 2018

CJEU judgment on revocability of notice under Article 50 TEU

In Wightman and others v Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has held that notification under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union is unilaterally revocable.  Read the Court's Press release 10 December 2018 and the Court's Judgment.  See also House of Commons Library 10 December.

On 4 December, the court's Advocate General expressed his non-binding opinion to the same effect - see previous post.

The UK government resisted this action at all stages.  The Prime Minister has also consistently maintained that the Article 50 notification will not be withdrawn.

Friday 7 December 2018

Withdrawal Agreement ~ Vote deferred and other developments

A)  Committee Report 9 December

The House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee has published a report on the Government’s EU Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration.  The Report – agreed unanimously – says that the Prime Minister’s deal fails to offer sufficient clarity or certainty for the future of the UK.

See the Committee's Announcement  and the report - Progress of the UK's negotiations on EU withdrawal - The Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration

The Conclusions and Recommendations in the report express doubt that the future relationship agreement can be concluded before the end of 2020. 

"The future relationship negotiations will have to cover a far wider range of issues, including trade in goods and services, foreign policy coordination, policing and information sharing, participation in EU agencies, agriculture, fisheries, data, labour mobility and the recognition of professional

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Withdrawal Agreement ~ Attorney-General's Legal Advice published

The government has published the Attorney-General's Legal Advice on the Withdrawal Agreement - see UK Government 5 December 2018.

Following the Motion passed on 4 December in the House of Commons - see previous post - the Government has published the Attorney General’s legal advice to Cabinet on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and made this available to Parliament. This is the full, final advice that the Attorney General provided to Cabinet on 14 November on the legal effect of the Withdrawal Agreement. The release of this advice does not set a precedent for any future release of Law Officers’ advice.

House of Commons 4 December ~ a troubled day for the government

Tuesday 4 December 2018

On 4 December the government was held to be in contempt of the House of Commons over the failure to disclose the full withdrawal agreement legal advice given by the Attorney General to the Cabinet - previous post.

The government's timetable motion for the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement debate was approved but with a significant amendment put forward by Mr Dominic Grieve QC MP.  In the evening, the debate on the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration commenced.

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Article 50 ~ Advocate-General's Opinion says unilateral revocation of notice is possible

Advocate General Campos S├ínchez-Bordona has concluded that notification under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) may be unilaterally withdrawn by the member State which gave the notice.  Please read the court's announcement (pdf) which is available via the CJEU website.

The FULL opinion containing legal reasoning is also available.

The Advocate General’s Opinion is not binding on the Court of Justice. It is the role of the Advocates General to propose to the Court, in complete independence, a legal solution to the cases for which they are responsible. The Judges of the Court are now beginning their deliberations in this case. Judgment will be given at a later date.

Monday 3 December 2018

Attorney General ~ Legal position on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement

Updated 5 December

The government has published a document setting out the Legal position on the Withdrawal Agreement - 52 pages pdf - and see Parliament Attorney-General Questioned on Withdrawal Agreement Legal Advice.

Hansard has also published the Attorney-General's statement to the House of Commons and the subsequent debate -  Hansard Monday 3 December 2018.  See also Parliament TV - here.

Several MPs expressed

Saturday 1 December 2018

Brexit ~ some notes of interest

Mr Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council,  made a statement at the G20 meeting held in Argentina - see European Council 30 November.     He said, "Many leaders will certainly have questions about Brexit. Therefore, let me say this. The European Union has just agreed an orderly divorce with the United Kingdom. A few days before the vote in the House of Commons, it is becoming more and more clear that this deal is the best possible, in fact, the only possible one. If this deal is rejected in the Commons, we are left with, as was already stressed a few weeks ago by  Prime Minister May an alternative: "no deal; or no Brexit at all."  I want to reassure you that the EU is prepared for every scenario."   Food for thought for MPs in the forthcoming House of Commons debate and vote.   The vote is scheduled for 11 December.