As the new Junior Brexit Minister James Duddridge MP
got up to the Despatch Box in the Commons to answer an Urgent Question yesterday morning, he kept repeating a form of words: that the Government would obey the law but that the UK would leave the EU on 31st October. This seemed to drive the Opposition mad, who demanded to know how this was possible.
For The Spectator Alexander Pelling-Bruce suggests that, ironically, the Supreme Court might have the answer. In paragraph 55 of the judgment against prorogation, it says that it is to be “remember[ed] always that the actual task of governing is for the executive and not for Parliament or the courts”. Pelling-Bruce points out that the ‘Surrender Act’ contradicts this principle as it dictates precisely how the Government must conduct negotiations with a foreign body. Well spotted sir!
With yet more irony, John Major has also made a helpful suggestion of how to avoid the offending Act. In a speech last night he said he feared the Government would try to use the Privy Council, which he reckons could be done without the Queen’s consent. He even made his idea more attractive to No. 10 by suggesting such a move would be “in flagrant defiance” of Parliament and “utterly disrespectful” to the Supreme Court. However, Mark Elliott, Professor of Public Law at Cambridge University told Radio 4 that this approach would be unlikely, as there is no legal foundation to use the prerogative to overturn statute. He did, however, say that an existing piece of legislation could possibly be used.
Meanwhile, as the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay is due to meet Michael Barnier this afternoon, EU officials and diplomats have said they had been left “in despair” by Mr Johnson’s approach to Parliament, revealing that the EU officials watch Parliament TV “even late at night”.
This month, the European Central Bank has substantially cut its forecast for growth in the Eurozone, also lowering the inflation forecast next year. Freddie Wild, an Equity Analyst at an investment bank, warns Britain to be careful with its relationship with the EU. He says that with so much navel-gazing it’s easy to miss the fact that the EU’s economy is in decline which is being perpetuated by its political structure.
Chris Bullivant has written a fascinating piece trying to get into the minds of Remainer protesters. He suggests that the generation of voters who have grown up with identity politics are suspicious of first-past-the-post, or what they might call ‘binary’ politics, and see the referendum result as ‘populism’ which wipes out the rights of the minority. Hence the need to protest ‘outside of the electoral cycle’.
You can now watch the full Labour Leave conference fringe chaired by John Mills, with speeches from Brendan Chilton, Paul Embrey, Austin Mitchell and Graham Stringer MP.
Boris Johnson says MPs should not be ‘bullied’ into curtailing their language about Brexit…Boris Johnson says MPs will not be “bullied” into curtailing their language as he refused to stop using the term “surrender act”. Speaking to the 1922 executive committee the prime minister told Conservative MPs that they should not be bullied into ceasing the use of the term surrender act. He remained firm that the bill is an act of surrender. It comes after John Bercow said the culture in the Commons on Wednesday was “toxic” as he added it was “worse than any I have known in my 22 years in the House”. The Speaker made his comments following last night’s debate, which resulted in the Labour Party being accused of “double standards” by Tory MPs over criticism of Boris Johnson’s language in the Commons.
The Brexit Countdown has begun, 34d 5h 27m 14s and when the clock reaches zero, the UK will have officially left the European Union!