Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

That is the work product of HoC with respect to EU Council, TEU, TEU A.50(3), and the Withdrawal Agreement laid before UK parliament not once but four (4) times. I was insulted a couple of weeks ago even tho' I am not a citizen of any EU member-state. Where were you? Still working out how Section 2.3 Report on progress of negotiations on the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union "lawfully" binds the EU to the "supreme law" of the UK, while HoC neither debates how to exit the TEU nor contemplates UK "customs union" preserved by an act to revoke A.50.

The trouble isn't one man. This trash epitomizes UK politicians' historic inability to function constructively as a state in domestic or international relationships.

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

Prime Minister's letter to President Donald Tusk: 19 October 2019
This documentary evidence is what Scottish and Westminster courts will consider along with government "pledges" published by THE PRIME MINISTER AND ADVOCATE GENERAL FOR SCOTLAND'S FURTHER SUBMISSIONS ON RELIEF and correspondence between T. May and EU Council President Tusk, establishing the acceptable format of requests for A.50(3) period between heads of state.

A few first principles, last words from SCOTUK

Was the advice lawful?

55. Let us remind ourselves of the foundations of our constitution. We live in a representative democracy. The House of Commons exists because the people have elected its members. The Government is not directly elected by the people (unlike the position in some other democracies). The Government exists because it has the confidence of the House of Commons. It has no democratic legitimacy other than that. This means that it is accountable to the House of Commons -and indeed to the House  of  Lords -for its actions,  remembering always that the actual task of governing is for the executive and not for Parliament or the courts. The first question, therefore, is whether the Prime Minister's action had the effect of frustrating or preventing the  constitutional role of [the Crown in] Parliament in holding the Government to account.

58.The next question is whether there is a reasonable justification for taking action which had such an extreme effect upon the fundamentals of our democracy. Of course, the Government must be accorded a great deal of latitude in making decisions of this nature. We are not concerned with the Prime Minister's motive in doing what he did. We are concerned with whether there was a reason for him to do it. It will be apparent from the documents quoted earlier that no reason was given for closing down Parliament for five weeks.

I wouldn't turn my back on a one of them in broad daylight.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Oct 20th, 2019 at 11:49:39 PM EST
The Government exists because it has the confidence of the House of Commons.

Which country are you talking about? Certainly not England....

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 06:05:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My sole objection to the "form letter" is that it was sent unsigned, which throws into doubt whether it has any legal effect whatsoever. You may welcome another sojourn to the courts to determine its efficacy and legality, I doubt many others do. Honourable leaders do not act in this way. Their word is their bond.

In extremis it casts doubt on the legality of any "request" from the UK for an extension, thereby casting doubt on the validity of any extension granted, and therefore whether the UK will, in fact and in law, still be a member of the EU, in good standing, after Nov. 1st.

Both the EU and the UK deserve better than this.

As for the second letter - to Donald Tusk - do not let its "palsy-walsy" and collegial language throw you off the scent of it's real intent: It is to negate the import of the first, and contains the veiled threat that any extension would damage the relationship between the UK and its EU "partners" - an echo of Dominic Cummings' threat that all talk of "sincere cooperation" would be "down the toilet," and that those Members who vote for  an extension would be "at the back of the queue" when it comes to future beneficial relationships with the UK.

At the moment the EU and UK are not "partners". The UK is one of the 28 constituent members of the EU. Whether there will be any meaningful "partnership" between the EU and UK post Brexit remains to be seen, and it will certainly not be one of equals. Neither will the UK get to determine what order in which EU member states get to enjoy the benefits of a relationship with the UK. The EU will negotiate as a bloc.

So I do not absolve Boris' Johnson for his part in this continuing debacle. An honourable person would have resigned if they found themselves unable to reconcile themselves to the will of Parliament. Neither would they, effectively, have washed the UK's dirty laundry on the international stage and exposed their EU "partners" to the legal uncertainties now gripping the UK. It's time for a grown up to represent the UK, and that is not Boris Johnson.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 08:57:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Johnson very clearly acted contrary to Padfield. The fact that it may - arguably - have made no difference is irrelevant, and the 1968 judgement makes it clear that this is a justiciable matter.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 09:50:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Padfield precedent may determine that the PM should have formally requested an A.50 extension in accordance with the Benn Act, but it gives us no guidance as to whether such a request, absent a signature, is valid in law. At the very least it creates an ambiguity all parties could do without; at worst it invalidates any extension granted and could result in the UK finding itself outside the EU, without a deal, against the clear will of Parliament and the laws it enacted.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 10:19:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It won't invalidate the extension, because Parliament is sovereign, and I'm sure the EU leaders understand that. It doesn't matter if the letter was handwritten by a toddler and decorated with dinosaurs or crocheted into a quilt.

If Johnson hadn't sent the letter it would have been sent by another Minister of the Crown, or by judges acting as same. Leaving the letter unsigned makes no difference whatsoever to the EU. The Benn Act made Parliament's intentions absolutely clear, and the EU leaders have responded to the intent, not the material form.

But it does affect Johnson's position. Because by flouting Padfield he wilfully attempted to undermine the wishes of Parliament. The judiciary are are constitutionally empowered to rule on this and possibly punish it.

It was a typical Johnson move - petulant, stupid, ineffectual, and potentially self-harming.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 11:37:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact Sir Tim Barrow (UK Permanent Representative to the EU) delivered SCHEDULE FORM LETTER with a 1p cover letter.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 03:31:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
An unsigned letter is just so much toilet paper.
When one gets a US Security Clearance, one signs a form acknowledging that they understand that failure to comply is a felony. It's a felony regardless of the signature but you don't get the clearance without the signature. Because the felony is perjury becaus3e you signed an oath.
No one is bound by an unsigned letter that anyone could have written.
by StillInTheWilderness on Tue Oct 22nd, 2019 at 03:43:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no idea what relevance US security clearance - do you have that security clearance, by the way? - has to EU diplomacy.

I understand diplomatic letters are sent and delivered unsigned all the time. In this case the letter was handed over in person by the UK's diplomatic representative, and the text in the letter is part of the Benn Act, which can be read here:

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

There is absolutely no chance it could have been sent by "anyone" or that it isn't an official diplomatic communication.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 22nd, 2019 at 08:09:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I used to when I worked for the US Navy.

It was just an example. Not particularly relevant since the UK has an Official Secrets Act. The USA does not which is why they rely on perjury or espionage charges to punish breaches.

Again, I have no UK experience but in 11 years with the US Navy I never saw an unsigned comm7unication, even a memorandum.  Even telgrams had the words "Signed by" and a name and title or the words "By order of" <military rank><name><title>. i.e. "By order of Rear Admiral Hugh Pixley COMSUBPAC"

But UK may be different.

by StillInTheWilderness on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 01:02:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Adding that the letter, delivered by diplomatic channels, is on the official notepaper of the Prime Minister of the UK.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing, nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 08:19:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As is typical, this melodrama attempts to place UK parliament and government ahead of events over which it has no control. Namely determination of A.50 instruments, procedures, and status determination, recommended by the EC, decided by the EP and EU Council: HoC admits no attention to that actual business and its documents.

A.50(2) removed UK from Council deliberations.

European Union (Withdrawal)(No. 2) Act 2019 is defective as a matter of law, even in the peculiar UK sense of those authorities called jurisdiction and sovereignty. HoC "sovereignty" in diplomatic business and war are "constitutionally" limited to "government.

This Padfield case is inapplicable. Controversy in Sessions or High courts concerns international relations, conduct, and advice of government for consent of HoC to the Agreement.

Second, a Padfield pleading would claim PM frustrated  acts of HoC to INTERDICT debate and litigation to enjoin THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT itself. Those acts obstruct consideration of the EU under the TEU, only parts of which UK is party. Which parts? Who cares? Better deal. Fuck the EU.

SCHEDULE FORM LETTER: No such instrument imposed by HoC on negotiation of A.50 action existed until 9 Sep 2019.

Three (3) prior PM requests for A.50(3) extension period were delivered in correspondence, a single  multi-page letter, to the EU Council President explaining the HoC legislative "progress" toward ratification--regretful absence thereof--of the Withdrawal Agreement. This format was successful.

SCHEDULE FORM LETTER created 9 Sep 2019 plainly does not offer equivalent consideration to the EU Council. Nor do detailed instructions the act require signature of the PM affixed to SCHEDULE FORM LETTER. Why? The HoC is legally, literally, and institutionally incompetent in jurisdiction of international law.

That's how Bliar got away with murder.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 02:30:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent review from link in Wikipedia ...

Brexit, Padfield and the Benn Act

by Oui on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 10:25:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One thing that has come from this is that those of us who support the UK's continued membership have grown more entrenched. As somebody pointed out over the weekend, where else in Europe right now would 1 million people march in support of the EU? We remainers are probably the most committed supporters of the EU right now.

I think Tusk could make a good fist of arguing that Parliament is not the only expression of the will of the British people and that the winds aretide is against  leavers

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 08:11:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, the UK also has the biggest anti-EU movement in Europe, with most committed supporters too.

One of the biggest party entirely dedicated to Brexit, the Tories being largely pro-Brexit and a non insignificant part of Labour too.

Where is the pro-EU shadow cabinet? With the Lib-Dems?

by Bernard on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 at 08:45:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And yet these people do nothing - except generate obvious troll and astroturfing posts online.

They barely turn out to events. They don't have street stalls or meetings in significant numbers. A Leave march in London would be lucky to get a few thousand people.

A handful of them own some newspapers - so there's that.

Realistically, an absolute maximum of 25% of the population is anti-EU with any real fervour. That's not a small number, but I would surprised if the percentage of dedicated Remainers wasn't very significantly higher.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Oct 22nd, 2019 at 08:15:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We cannot know for sure. Until a still elusive second referendum, of course.

The only things we can establish at this time is that they control the executive, a (relative) majority at the Parliament, and of course the tabloids.

by Bernard on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 at 06:35:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"They barely turn out to events. They don't have street stalls or meetings in significant numbers. A Leave march in London would be lucky to get a few thousand people."

Or ... maybe they don't have the kind of middle class jobs where you can easily get away whenever you feel like it? :)

sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Oct 24th, 2019 at 01:55:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, what studies have been done indicate that they probably do. Certainly as much as Remain do, yet remain can get reasonably large protests a couple of times a year.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Oct 24th, 2019 at 02:00:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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