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Process to invoke Article 50

by Politicker 0 Comments

Although it would seem that the process for invoking Article 50 should be straightforward, a legal case was initiated to determine whether the Government can use Royal Prerogative Powers to start the process of leaving the EU.

Gina Miller engaged the City law firm Mishcon de Reya to challenge the authority of the British Government to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union using prerogative powers, arguing that only Parliament can take away rights that Parliament has granted.

After a hearing on 03 November 2016, the High Court of Justice ruled that Theresa May cannot use the Royal Prerogative Powers to invoke Article 50 and begin the process for withdrawal from the EU and she needs prior Parliamentary approval.

Judgement: https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/r-miller-v-secretary-of-state-for-exiting-eu-amended-20161122.pdf

Summary: https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/summary-r-miller-v-secretary-of-state-for-exiting-the-eu-20161103.pdf

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The Government decided to appeal the High Court’s decision and took the appeal directly to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population.

https://www.supremecourt.uk

The appeal hearing was held from 5-8 December 2016 with the decision to be issued in January 2017.

Details of the case and proceedings can be found at

https://www.supremecourt.uk/news/article-50-brexit-appeal.html

The judgement by the Supreme Court was issued on 24 Jan 2017. The Secretary of State’s appeal was dismissed by a majority of 8-3. In a joint judgement of the majority, the Supreme Court holds that an Act of Parliament is required to authorise ministers to give Notice of the decision of the UK to withdraw from the European Union.

The judgement documents are available at:

Judgement : https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2016-0196-judgment.pdf

Summary: https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2016-0196-press-summary.pdf

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A useful article, interpreting details of the judgement by Robert Craig: Miller Supreme Court Case Summary can be found at

https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2017/01/26/robert-craig-miller-supreme-court-case-summary/

The Supreme Court decided that the Government is not obliged to consult with the UK’s devolved assemblies before triggering Article 50 and also ruled that once Article 50 is triggered, it cannot be reversed.

The form that the legislation should take was not defined and is entirely a matter for Parliament but Parliament will need to pass a new bill that gives Government the authority to trigger Article 50.

A statement, following the ruling, from Number 10 added :

The British people voted to leave the EU, and the Government will deliver on their verdict – triggering Article 50, as planned, by the end of March. Today’s ruling does nothing to change that.

It’s important to remember that Parliament backed the referendum by a margin of six to one and has already indicated its support for getting on with the process of exit to the timetable we have set out.

We respect the Supreme Court’s decision, and will set out our next steps to Parliament shortly.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn reacted to the judgment by saying that his party will not seek to frustrate the will of the British people, but did say that “Labour will seek to amend the Article 50 Bill to prevent Conservatives using Brexit to turn Britain into a bargain basement tax haven.”

Brexit Update – Part 1

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An update on what’s been happening since my last article on 24 July 2016

In one of his first comments following the result of the EU Referendum, Jeremy Corbyn stated that:

“The British people have made their decision. We must respect that result and Article 50 has to be invoked now so that we negotiate an exit from European Union. Quite clearly negotiations must take place. There must be the best deal possible in order to ensure strong industries in Britain stay strong and strong industries that have big export markets protect retain those export markets. But we are in some very difficult areas.”

During the summer holiday period in 2016 there did not appear to be much happening.

Although a new leader was appointed by the Conservative Party in a relatively short timeframe, it took longer for the Labour Party to make a choice following the challenge to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

After a long process, which began shortly after the EU Referendum, Jeremy Corbyn retained the leadership of the Labour Party with a convincing majority when the result was announced on Sep 24.

Theresa May coined the phrase “Brexit means Brexit” in response to questions about what Brexit meant but with little extra definition.

BREXIT Negotiations

The type of relationship that the UK has with the EU following Brexit has been under much discussion with speculation about a “Hard Brexit”, a “Soft Brexit” or whether to follow the relationship that other countries such as Norway and Switerland have with the EU.

It is not clear where the terms “Hard Brexit” and “Soft Brexit” originated. The terms are used in an attempt to describe the type of relationship with the EU that may result after negotiations are completed. “Hard” implying that the UK ends up trading with the EU under the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) with no tariff free access to the EU Single Market, and has no obligations to the EU. “Soft”, on the other hand, implies that the UK retains access to the EU Single Market but in return accepts some form of restricted membership of the EU and includes following the 4 fredoms of the EU which are defined as the freedom of movement for goods, people, services and capital across national boundaries.

The UK is currently excluded from meetings with other EU countries when the topic relates to the UK leaving the EU.

Statements issued by EU leaders have also emphasised on numerous occasions that:

  • There will be no discussion on Brexit until Article 50 has been invoked.
  • The UK must honour the principle of free movement of people if it wants to retain access to the single market after it leaves the EU.

Details about the 4 freedoms from

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/atyourservice/en/displayFtu.html?ftuId=FTU_3.1.3.html

“One of the four freedoms enjoyed by EU citizens is the free movement of workers. This includes the rights of movement and residence for workers, the rights of entry and residence for family members, and the right to work in another Member State and be treated on an equal footing with nationals of that Member State. Restrictions apply in some countries for citizens of Member States that have recently acceded to the EU. The rules on access to social benefits are currently shaped primarily by the case law of the Court of Justice.”

The former French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier has been appointed by the European Commission to lead the negotiations on behalf of the EU.

At the beginning of October, during the Conservative Party conference, Theresa May announced that the UK would begin formal Brexit negotiations by the end of March 2017. She also promised to introduce the Great Repeal Bill to remove the European Communities Act 1972 from the statute book and enshrine all existing EU law into British law. The repeal of the 1972 act will not take effect until the UK leaves the EU under Article 50. The Government has indicated that these legal changes within the Bill would take effect on “Brexit Day”: the day the UK officially leaves the European Union (EU).

Theresa May’s speech can be seen at https://youtu.be/08JN73K1JDc


The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, has later emphasised the difference between the Article 50 process and the Great Repeal Bill:

The great repeal Bill is not what will take us out of the EU, but what will ensure the UK statute book is fit for purpose after we have left. It will put the elected politicians in this country fully in control of determining the laws that affect its people’s lives—something that does not apply today.

A Research Briefing Legislating for Brexit: the Great Repeal Bill was issued on 21 November 2016. A summary is available at

http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7793

where you can also find a link to the full report.

Alternatively a copy of the full report is available here

https://politick.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/CBP-7793.pdf

What’s happened since the EU Referendum

24 July 2016

It’s been a month since the EU Referendum where a majority of the electorate voted for the UK to leave the EU.

Here is a summary of the major events that have occurred since then.

Financial

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney,  was quick to make a statement following the EU referendum result.

Statement from the Governor of the Bank of England following the EU referendum result

You can watch his statement at

http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Pages/news/2016/056.aspx

FX Market

One of the first effects was seen in the financial markets with the Pound falling in value against the US dollar.

Looking at the spot inter-bank market rate, the biggest drop was on the 24 June showing the rate opening at 1.00GBP = 1.48USD and closing at 1.00GBP = 1.36USD.

The rate continued to fall, but more slowly for the next 2 weeks reaching 1.00GBP = 1.29USD on the 8 July.

On the 22 July the rate opened at 1GBP = 1.32 and closed at 1 GBP = 1.31 USD and appears to have settled down at least for the time being.

ref: https://www.poundsterlinglive.com/best-exchange-rates/british-pound-to-us-dollar-exchange-rate-on-2016-07-24

Precious Metals

As the pound was falling, the price of precious metals started to rise. On the 24 June, the spot price for Gold was £955.84 per troy ounce rising to a high of £1,056.79 per troy ounce on the 6 July and currently, on the 22 July, the price was £1,008.66

Stock Market

The Brexit vote caused a wave of panic selling by those gamblers, sorry traders, in the Stock Market with the Footsie 100 Index falling steeply after trading began but recovering to finish 199 (3.1%) points down at 6138.69 on the 24 June. After the weekend, the selling continued and the Footsie stood at 5982.2 at the close. After that, stocks started to rise and the Footsie was at 6577.83 by the 1 July and on the 22 July was at 6730.48 (which is around where it was in Aug 2015!).

ftse100

Political

The result also caused various political upheavals.

Conservative Party

Prior to the referendum Cameron had claimed (18th June) that he was the best person to negotiate any post-referendum deal and would remain “whatever” the result.

from the Independent newspaper:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-david-cameron-resign-step-down-boris-johnson-brexit-stay-as-prime-minister-result-poll-a7088811.html

from the Telegraph newspaper:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/18/david-cameron-insists-he-will-stay-on-as-prime-minister-regardle/

However, Cameron was quick off the mark and decided to resign as Prime Minister as the result hadn’t gone his way.

Cameron’s Resignation Statement

also at

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/eu-referendum-outcome-pm-statement-24-june-2016

In his resignation speech, he said he would stay until a new Prime Minister was in place, which was expected to happen by the 1st October.

Following Cameron’s statement 5 MPs presented themselves as candidates for the leadership: Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox, Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom and Theresa May. Nominations closed at noon on 30th June 2016.

(Boris Johnson, an early favourite, decided not to run in the competition for leader after Michael Gove announced that he would run).

The process for election as leader of the party (and thus the next Prime Minister) is first put to a serious of ballots (voted by MPs) to determine 2 candidates who are sent forward to a ballot by all Conservative party members.

In the 1st ballot (5th July) May obtained more than half the votes of MPs with 165 votes, followed by Leadsom with 66, Gove with 48, Crabb with 34 and Fox with 16 votes. Fox was eliminated and Crabb withdrew leaving May, Leadsom and Gove to contest the next ballot.

In the 2nd ballot (7th July) May obtained 199 votes followed by Leadsom with 84 and Gove with 46.
Gove was eliminated, leaving May and Leadsom to proceed to the final ballot by all party members.

A few days later, 11 July, Andrea Leadsom withdrew from the contest and Theresa May was duly elected, unopposed, as the new leader of the Conservative Party without the need for a ballot by members.

On the 13 July, David Cameron relinquished his position as Prime Minister and Theresa May accepted a request from the Queen to become Prime Minister and immediately started creating her new government team.

Most notable positions in her cabinet are Philip Hammond as Chancellor, Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary, Amber Rudd as Home Secretary, David Davis as Secretary of State for Exiting the EU (Brexit Minister) and Liam Fox as head of the Department for International Trade. Andrea Leadsom is appointed Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural affairs (DEFRA). Michael Gove and Stephen Crabb have not been appointed to positions in the new cabinet.

Labour Party

Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader of the Labour Party after Ed Milliband resigned as leader following the 2015 General Election. His election as leader was never fully respected by his fellow MPs even though he had over whelming support from ordinary members of the Labour Party. (New members who had paid a joining fee of £3.00 were able to vote in the election).

After criticism of his lacklustre support for the Remain campaign,  the sacking of his Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn (25 June) who had expressed no-confidence in Corbyn’s leadership,  and resignations from over 20 members of the Shadow Cabinet,  a no confidence vote in his leadership  (28 June)  supported by 172 Labour MPs  vs 40 MPS supporting Corbyn resulted in a formal challenge to his leadership.

Angela Eagle announced her intention to contest the leadership on 11 July. After some debate by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Labour Party (12 July), it was determined that Corbyn could be included in the contest without needing nominations from other Labour MPs.  The NEC also decided to vary the rules that so that new members who had joined in the last 6 months  would not be allowed to vote. (130000 new members have joined the Labour Party paying their joining fee of £3.00 since the EU referendum). Registered supporters were, however, given the option to pay a further fee of £25  which would allow them a vote.

Owen Smith announced his intention to contest the leadership on 13 July.

Prior to nominations closing on 20 July, Angela Eagle withdrew leaving a straight contest between Corbyn and Owen Smith.

The ballot is not due to close until 21 September so the leadership contest is going to drag on for some time yet.

UKIP

Nigel Farage announced on the 4 July his intention to resign as the UKIP leader as he had achieved his aim which was to get the UK out of the EU .

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36702384

SNP

The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon was quick to make a statement (24 June) claiming it was democratically unacceptable for Scotland to be taken out of the EU against its will. She also stated that a  second referendum for independence for Scotland from the UK was highly likely. This is a theme that is likely to remain for some time.

Nicola Sturgeon travelled to Brussels on the 29 June in an attempt to talk with EU leaders about Scotland  retaining their membership of the EU. She was rebuffed by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, who felt it would not be appropriate, although she did meet with Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Martin Shulz, President of the European Parliament.

It is likely that the only way for Scotland to become members of the EU would be to follow the application process in the same way as for any other State. This could only happen if Scotland were independent from the UK

 

Flexit – The Market solution to leaving the EU

by Politicker

A view of the future from a Leaver.

Paper: Flexcit – The Market solution to leaving the EU

The purpose of this (online) book is to set out the mechanisms the UK might employ in leaving the European Union. It is a “roadmap” to demonstrate that an orderly exit is both plausible and practical and largely risk-free.

http://www.eureferendum.com/documents/flexcit.pdf (pdf)

A pamphlet has also been produced which summarises the online book

http://eureferendum.com/themarketsolution.pdf (pdf)

EU Referendum 2016 – Results

The referendum on continued membership of the European Union was held on June 23 2016 and the results were declared on June 24 2016.

The following figures were obtained from the Electoral Commission

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk

The total electorate in the UK (the number of people registered to vote) was 46,500,001

England: 38,981,662 (83.832%)
Scotland: 3,987,112 (8.574%)
Wales: 2,270,272 (4.882%)
Northern Ireland: 1,260,955 (2.712%)

The total number of votes cast was

Remain – 16,141,241 (48.1%)

Leave – 17,410,742 (51.9%)

giving an overall turnout of 72.15%

There were 25,359 (0.06%) rejected ballot papers.

12,922,659 (27.79%) people did not use their vote

Further analysis of the figures shows how the individual countries voted, with England and Wales having majorities to LEAVE,  while Scotland and Northern Ireland having majorities to REMAIN

RegionResults

The actual EU Referendum results data (in CSV format) is available and provided by the Electoral Commission at

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/elections-and-referendums/upcoming-elections-and-referendums/eu-referendum/electorate-and-count-information

Is the EU referendum legally binding ?

Referendums in the UK, in constitutional terms,  are not legally binding so the Government could (in theory) ignore the results although this is unlikely to happen. It is, however, necessary at some point for the UK Government  to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act, requiring a vote in parliament, in order to ultimately leave the EU.

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