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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
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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
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