INFORMATION

This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are essential to make our site work and others help us to improve by giving us some insight into how the site is being used. For further information, see our Privacy Policy.

In or out?

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
Message
Author
User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 23700
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3901 Postby Alan H » December 1st, 2018, 6:40 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Ah, the Brexit Bonus Bonanza... Brexit deal to cost up to £1,100 per person per year
Theresa May’s Brexit deal is likely to result in substantial long-term economic costs in a range of £700 to £1,100 per person each year compared with staying in the EU, according to the first detailed economic analysis.

Produced by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, an independent think-tank, the analysis shows the prime minister’s withdrawal agreement is less economically damaging than crashing out of the EU without a deal, but there would be a hit to national income from less trade, foreign investment, productivity and migration.

Even if Mrs May’s agreement is ratified by the UK parliament, the NIESR report said there was likely to be little scope for chancellor Philip Hammond’s promised Brexit “deal dividend” because of so much uncertainty over the eventual trading relationship between the UK and the EU.


http_%2F%2Fcom.ft.imagepublish.upp-prod-eu.s3.amazonaws.png
http_%2F%2Fcom.ft.imagepublish.upp-prod-eu.s3.amazonaws.png (30.79 KiB) Viewed 168 times
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
animist
Posts: 6477
Joined: July 30th, 2010, 11:36 pm

Re: In or out?

#3902 Postby animist » December 2nd, 2018, 9:37 am

Alan H wrote:The coming crisis
Thus the Prime Minister tours the country to garner the support of ‘the people’ for her deal – rather in the format of a General Election campaign - the idea apparently being that some stage-managed media events will lead to a mass campaign of letter-writing to MPs. But this can only underscore that the people are not actually getting a say, because Theresa May will not countenance another referendum. Why? Because the people have already spoken in 2016. So why do the tour? Because now the Brexit deal has been done, and must be explained to the public. But what is to be explained, unless people didn’t already know this in 2016? In which case, how can they have already spoken on it?
So I’m certainly not saying that my predictions are any more likely to be right than anyone else’s. But I am certain that if May’s deal is voted down then it is the terrain of political crisis to which we are heading, and it will make the ‘business as usual’ charade of this week’s news totally irrelevant.
as I may have said already, for a very long time the only real question has been whether the Remainer Tory MP contingent can summon the will to vote together to defeat the hard Brexit which Theresa May espoused in the Lancaster House declaration. Why have they taken so long, and will they at length manage to do this?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 23700
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3903 Postby Alan H » December 2nd, 2018, 12:47 pm

Our politicians once told the truth, now voters are treated as children
In normal circumstances, the opposition would expose the government’s evasions. But we have no opposition. Conservative leaders do not tell the truth about the economic consequences of leaving the single market. Labour’s leaders don’t enlighten us either. Instead, they give us a lie as shameless as anything Johnson put on the side of a bus and pretend we can have a jobs-first Brexit. Equally, May is determined that freedom of movement must stop at all costs. As is the supposed internationalist Jeremy Corbyn. Neither the government nor the official opposition has begun to prepare the electorate for hard choices or found it in themselves to admit that hard choices exist. They have put maintaining their ramshackle coalitions above basic truth-telling.

Politicians play with fire at their and our peril. They have so lowered the bar of public life that one day a British Trump will skip over it with ease. If “the only grownups in the room” treat the voters like children for long enough, they will eventually throw a tantrum.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 23700
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3904 Postby Alan H » December 3rd, 2018, 12:17 am

Things are looking up at last! Revealed: Brexit legal advice could sink Theresa May
Britain would be trapped “indefinitely” in a customs union with Brussels if MPs back Theresa May’s Brexit deal, according to leaked details of the attorney-general’s legal advice, which the government has suppressed.

Senior ministers say the prime minister is refusing to publish the advice because it contains a stark passage that makes clear the UK could end up locked in a “backstop” arrangement with the European Union.

In a letter to cabinet ministers last month, the contents of which have been disclosed to The Sunday Times, Geoffrey Cox declared: “The protocol would endure indefinitely.” The government’s top law officer ruled that the only way Britain could escape the backstop would be to sign a new trade deal, which could take years. But he warned Britain could remain trapped if those talks collapsed.

The details — confirmed by three serving cabinet ministers and the former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab — will enrage Eurosceptics and are likely to harden opposition to the deal. More than 100 Tory MPs have already signalled they will oppose their own government in the crunch vote on December 11 that has left May’s premiership hanging by a thread.

Tomorrow Cox will give a statement to parliament outlining the government’s legal position in an effort to win over MPs. No 10 is expected to publish a summary of the advice but not the letter itself — a move senior ministers believe will lead to the Speaker, John Bercow, declaring the government in contempt of parliament.

Ministers say the written legal advice is far bleaker than the account Cox will give in the Commons and the verbal assessment he gave the cabinet in October. A cabinet source said: “The legal advice is very bad, which is why they don’t want anyone to see it.”

Cox’s letter was so sensitive that numbered copies of the paper were taken from ministers after they had read it. “The letter was not allowed to leave the room,” a minister said.

Raab, who resigned as Brexit secretary last month, confirmed: “The legal position is clear. The backstop will last indefinitely, until it is superseded by the treaty setting out our future relationship, unless the EU allows us to exit.

“The EU has a clear veto, even if the future negotiations stretch on for many years, or even if they break down and there is no realistic likelihood of us reaching agreement. That’s my view as a former international lawyer, but it is consistent if not identical with all the formal advice I received.”

The revelations came as:

● Cabinet ministers said they would meet this week to finalise a plan B to replace May’s deal if she loses the big vote

● Tory aides predicted May’s plan B would be to call a general election with her nationwide tour to sell the Brexit deal as a dry run

● Sam Gyimah, the universities minister who resigned on Friday, called for a second referendum

● A YouGov poll for the People’s Vote campaign showed support for remaining in the EU at 55%, the highest level by the polling company since the 2016 referendum

● Writing in The Sunday Times today, the former Brexit secretary David Davis calls on the government to abandon May’s deal and make a no-deal Brexit official government policy

● Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, backed the prime minister, but still refused to back the deal publicly

MPs voted on November 13 to demand the legal advice be published in full, something the prime minister has repeatedly ruled out.

In his speech to the cabinet and in his statement on Monday, Cox will make a “political” rather than a “legal” argument that the EU does not want the backstop either because it might be sued by firms in Ireland that would lose out to those in Northern Ireland if the backstop came into force.

Downing Street has publicised Cox’s ruling that article 50, the process by which the UK is leaving the EU, does not allow the backstop to become permanent, but has downplayed his more explosive legal conclusions.

A cabinet minister said: “Article 50 cannot be used on a permanent basis. Geoffrey made the case, politically, that it’s not likely to be sustainable for infinity. But it is also true there isn’t a clear exit mechanism, and that’s what people are bothered about.”

The Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who backs the Best for Britain campaign for a second referendum, said: “This is more proof that the prime minister is trying to bounce parliament into voting for her deal without giving [it] all the information. She must release the legal advice, untouched, in full, so that MPs can make informed choices.”

The Democratic Unionist Party is set to defy May and sign a joint letter with Labour, the Lib Dems and the Scottish National Party asking the Speaker to call an urgent Commons debate on the government’s refusal to publish the full legal advice given to the cabinet by the attorney-general.

A senior government source said they expected him to do just that tomorrow: “Bercow will do some grandstanding. He’ll probably write to the cabinet office saying we must publish the advice in full.”
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 23700
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3905 Postby Alan H » December 3rd, 2018, 12:36 pm

The silence and lies behind Britain’s Brexit mess
Politicians have been quiet or untruthful to voters since the 2016 referendum campaign

On December 11 the House of Commons will hold its “meaningful vote” on the Brexit deal of Theresa May, the UK’s embattled prime minister.

It looks as if a majority of MPs will reject the deal, though for many different reasons. In this way, Britain risks being plunged into what Professor Chris Grey, in his latest blog, terms “an unprecedented political crisis”.

Other Europeans may wonder how a country widely admired for its pragmatism and moderation can have ended up in such a mess. I should like to offer some thoughts.

First, the British tradition of political restraint and common sense is sometimes exaggerated. Sir Lewis Namier, an eminent historian, once described 18th-century England as “an aristocracy tempered by riots”.

During the last century, the absence of large communist and fascist parties in the UK disguised the extent to which the country was divided along class lines and frequently gripped with political strife and industrial conflict.

Second, the rejection of Mrs May’s Brexit deal, if it happens, will expose the profoundly flawed nature of the UK’s June 2016 referendum on whether to withdraw from the EU.

For sure, Britons voted Leave by roughly 52 per cent to 48 per cent. However, no specific version of Brexit was put to the electorate. Neither in mid-2016 nor subsequently has there been a majority, in parliament or society, for a particular form of Brexit.

“The result is that the prime minister now presides over both a divided cabinet and Conservative party. Those divisions also extend to parliament and, indeed, the country as a whole,” Professor Anand Menon and his colleagues write in an analysis, “Cost of no deal revisited”.

Third, although Remain supporters now hold a lead over Brexiters, the electorate’s views on EU membership have not changed much over the past two and a half years, as can be seen in this useful chart on the website of whatUKthinks.org.

There is therefore no overwhelming momentum behind the calls for a second referendum on Brexit. Of course, this could change in the event of deadlock in the House of Commons and a threat to Mrs May’s premiership.

Fourth, and most important, the Conservatives, opposition Labour party and much of the general public all suffer from a delusion about UK-EU relations known in the Brexit lexicon as “cakeism”.

This term derives from the breezy pre-referendum statement of Boris Johnson, the pro-Leave former foreign secretary, that, with regard to cake, he was “pro having it and pro eating it”.

As the Brexit talks progressed, EU negotiators used the word “cake” to describe British attempts to keep the benefits of EU membership after Brexit, but avoid the obligations.

An appetite for cake is not limited to Mr Johnson and other Conservatives. The Labour party’s official position is that any Brexit deal must deliver the “exact same benefits” that the UK enjoys now in the EU single market and customs union. Yet this is incompatible with the promise of Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s leader, to curb freedom of movement after Brexit.

In short, withdrawal from the EU involves difficult policy choices and trade-offs, about which British politicians have been silent or untruthful to voters, both in the 2016 referendum campaign and afterwards.

The unsettling question, to which there is not yet an answer, is what price the country may have to pay for this silence and these lies.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 23700
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3906 Postby Alan H » December 4th, 2018, 2:13 pm

This Brextit thingy is all going tickety-boo, isn't it? Government prepares to ration ferry space under no-deal Brexit
Theresa May’s cabinet is drawing up plans to ration space on ferries carrying vital supplies to Britain, as ministers prepare for a no-deal Brexit that could leave supermarket aisles devoid of some foods.

Chris Grayling, transport secretary, has warned the cabinet that trade on the key Dover-Calais route could be cut by up to 87 per cent in the event of a disorderly exit, as checks and customs controls are introduced in France.

The pro-Brexit Mr Grayling has written to colleagues seeking approval for the chartering of ships, or space on ships, to operate on alternative routes, bypassing likely blockages in the Strait of Dover.

He has also requested cabinet approval to increase the capacity at three ports with trade links with the EU but with considerably longer journey times: Ramsgate, Sheerness and Immingham.

In any event there would be a sharp reduction in ferry traffic between the UK and the EU, meaning that vital industrial components and medicines would be vying with salads for scarce space in trucks and on ships.

“Perishable goods like salads and vegetables won’t make it on to ‘DfT Seaways’,” said one official. “Some foods will run out in the supermarkets — it will be a bit like the USSR.” The UK imports 30 per cent of its food from the EU.

The cabinet will discuss no-deal planning on Tuesday, with Stephen Barclay, the new Brexit secretary, urging the prime minister to escalate preparations amid signs that MPs will reject her Brexit deal. Britain is scheduled to leave the EU next March.

Eurosceptic Conservatives believe Mrs May will unveil detailed contingency planning — including the emergency ferry services — if she loses next week’s vote, as part of a move to step up pressure on MPs to change their minds in a second vote.

“Undoubtedly you will see more Project Fear,” said one. But Michael Gove, the pro-Brexit environment secretary in charge of food supplies, said on Sunday of a no-deal exit: “While it’s not as a bad as some have argued, it is economically, clearly, going to cause hurt.”

Mr Grayling told the BBC on Monday that he had been given assurances by the French authorities that they would keep freight flowing across the Strait of Dover after Brexit, but that he was making all necessary contingency plans.

Mrs May’s team held two meetings last week to consider how Britain would overcome disruption to the Dover-Calais route, which Whitehall officials estimate could take around six months to overcome.

Because of the shortfall in capacity, Whitehall officials say that Cobra — the government’s emergency committee based in the Cabinet Office — would oversee planning. It also managed the government’s response to the 2000 fuel crisis.

The Treasury is said to have argued that market forces should determine what products were allowed on to ships, but other ministers argued that rationing of space would have to be conducted centrally.

Medicines, vital foodstuffs and chemicals for treating water supplies would be the first priority, but there has been fierce debate about what the other priority goods should include.

“It’s gearboxes versus pâté,” joked one official. “The government would have to choose and that’s why the government would have to own the shipping capacity.”

Industrial components, including those used in “just in time” production processes including car plants, could be given priority, while Mr Gove’s team accept that perishable goods like salads, vegetables and meats could lose out.

“There is a question about whether the ships and the ports would have enough refrigeration capacity in any case,” said one official involved in no-deal planning at Mr Gove’s department.

James Hookham, deputy chief executive of the Freight Transport Association, said it was clear from official briefings that the government would use additional ships to supply essential goods on a strictly controlled basis.

“The NHS need to ensure that it can receive medical supplies from private contractors. Companies would be instructed where to present their vehicle loads [for NHS delivery] with strict instructions over which vessels to approach and with what consignments.”

However, Mr Hookham said there was no way Mr Grayling’s plan could make up for lost capacity. “There are 55-60 sailings and crossings a day on the Dover straits. So two or three ships making emergency sailings on what would be much longer trips [than Dover-Calais] will not make much difference.”

A DfT spokesperson maintained the deal negotiated by the UK government would protect international trade and keep freight moving at our borders.

“However, as a responsible government we continue to work closely with a range of partners on contingency plans to ensure that trade can continue to move as freely as possible between the UK and Europe.”
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 23700
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3907 Postby Alan H » December 5th, 2018, 12:07 am

Twas a good day in Parliament today: Triple blow for PM as government is found in contempt, ordered to publish full legal advice and MPs are given more powers over Plan B
The Prime Minister has suffered a string of major blows in the commons today after her government was found in contempt of parliament and ordered to publish the full legal advice on Brexit.

It was a triple blow for Theresa May after MPs were also given more powers over a plan B if her deal is not voted through the Commons.

Earlier on in the day, an EU legal advisor said that the UK can stop Brexit without the permission of the European Union.

In dramatic scenes at Westminster, the Government bowed to pressure to publish the “final and full” legal advice to Cabinet on the deal after MPs voted by 311 to 293 that its failure to do so amounted to contempt.

It is the first time in modern history that any Government has been found in contempt and means the highly sensitive advice provided by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will be published, in contravention of long-standing practice.

Sir Keir Starmer said the finding of contempt was a “badge of shame” for the government.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 23700
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3908 Postby Alan H » December 5th, 2018, 7:26 pm

Raab's threats to ignore Grieve amendment threaten constitutional crisis
Dominic Raab told the Today programme this morning:

"I think the Grieve amendment was predictable but what we need to understand is that resolutions of parliament pass as politically have some impact, but they are not legally binding."


Oops!

Extreme-Irony.gif
Extreme-Irony.gif (248.89 KiB) Viewed 19 times
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 23700
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3909 Postby Alan H » December 6th, 2018, 1:03 am

50 simple chunks of reality to help MPs in these difficult times.

1. The Withdrawal Agreement (WA) is not up for renegotiation
2. The Political Declaration (PD) might be tweaked cosmetically
3. The future relationship will be negotiated during the transition period
4. There will be no transition without the WA
5. The will be no WA without the Financial Settlement
6. A backstop cannot be unilaterally ended or it is not a backstop
7. There will be no WA without a backstop
8. The PD is not a deal on the future relationship
9. The PD is wish list, not binding
10. The PD leaves huge, crucial questions entirely open
11. The level of access to EU markets and programmes is dependent on the level of alignment to EU rules UKGov is willing to commit to.
12. UK restrictions to Freedom of Movement will be directly reciprocated by EU27 for UK citizens
13. Frictionless trade is impossible outside the Single Market and a Customs Union.
14. Neither the Single Market or a Customs union are enough alone for frictionless trade
15. Single Market membership requires Freedom of Movement, whoever is negotiating it
16. EFTA membership is technically very difficult to combine with membership of a Customs Union
17. EFTA/EEA membership requires acceptance of Freedom of Movement.
18. EFTA or EEA membership means very little influence and no formal control over Single Market rules.
19. Adjusting the PD to include EEA+CU would not eliminate the need for a backstop.
20. A New EEA pillar with a customs Union would not be off-the-shelf, and would need to be negotiated.
21. Negotiations on any future relationship may fail.
22. UKGov has explicitly ruled out being in the Single Market, making this a hard, not a soft Brexit.
23. Labour has implicitly ruled out being in the Single Market by not accepting FoM or EU State Aid rules that are required fro membership of it
24. No Deal is a certain national catastrophe
25. There is no such thing as a “WTO Deal”
26. The UK already trades extensively with non-EU countries
27. The projected economic benefits of new trade deals are very small in comparison to Single Market Membership
28. There are, in practice, no EU tariffs on goods from the poorest countries in the world
29. The WA does not protect all rights for EU Citizens in the UK or UK Citizens in the EU.
30. It does not allow either groups to live “exactly as before”.
31. UKGov has complete control over its policy towards non-EU migration
32. It is impossible to enter the UK, except across the IE/NI border, without having your passport checked.
33. Article 50 can be revoked, certainly with EU27 agreement, probably unilaterally.
34. Article 50 can be extended, with EU27 agreement.
35. The EU27's priority is to avoid a chaotic no deal Brexit while not crossing their red lines
36. EU27 will not negotiate a future relationship that crosses their red lines.
37. EU27 are likely to agree to an extension for a Ratify V Remain Referendum
38. EU27 are by now largely ambivalent about which one is chosen
39. EU27 are unlikely to grant an extension for more messing around with obvious route to a solution.
40. EU27 are unlikely to grant an extension and will not reopen the WA just due to a change of government
41. Reviewing a previous decision using the same method that decision was based on is not undemocratic
42. Proceeding with Brexit will not heal divisions
43. There is no problem that being poorer helps.
44. All versions of Brexit will leave the UK poorer.
45. EU Member States are unlikely to allow UK rejoin for many years, possibly decades
46. UK would retain it’s vetoes, opt-outs, and rebate if it remained a member of the EU
47. No responsible Government or Parliament could allow No Deal
48. MPs should not vote for any deal they believe to be bad for the country.
49. UKGov can choose to try to stop a No Deal Brexit at any time before it happens.
50. If No deal happened, it would be because the Government had chosen not to stop it, and considered that appalling harm to the UK and its population was worth it for their own political ends.

There was a big factual error in the first version of this thread, so it has been redone from point 15 onwards. Apologies to those who commented on or RT'ed any points from the original.

As @syrpis points out, 47 should really have added to it “if nothing is agreed and no action is take we leave on 29 March with a (catastrophic) no deal.”
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

User avatar
Alan H
Posts: 23700
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: In or out?

#3910 Postby Alan H » December 6th, 2018, 8:08 pm

I drafted article 50. We can and must delay Brexit for a referendum
Every EU state would agree to extend article 50 for a people’s vote on a bad deal or the one we’ve got

People once dreamed of a Brexit that would give Britain more control and free us from paying anything to Brussels, while opening up the prospect of huge new trade deals and “the exact same benefits” we have today as EU members.

Now, in the cold light of a Brexit dawn, we have a withdrawal agreement that will see the European court handing down rulings binding on the UK for years – if not decades – to come, with us trapped in a backstop deal from which, as the attorney general has confirmed, there is no unilateral escape. Meanwhile we would face endless negotiations to create what would only ever be second-class access to Europe’s markets and, lest we forget, a £50bn divorce bill.

Little wonder that the government has had to look for other arguments to support the deal. What it has hit on is that an alternative to its Brexit is an even worse Brexit. It talks up the prospect of a “no-deal” option – of jammed ports, grounded aeroplanes and emptied supermarket shelves – with the same relish that bad parents use when trying to scare their children into bed with tales of monsters.

But we now know that the idea that this choice – a bad deal or no deal – is as much a fantastical nightmare as the earlier promises about Brexit were a dream.

This week the advocate general of the EU’s court of justice published advice to the court about the revocability of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU under article 50 of the EU treaty. He has confirmed that we have an absolute right to change course and take back our withdrawal notification without paying any price – financial or political.

I admit this is something of a specialist subject for me: I was secretary general of the European convention that drafted the article. I have always believed that nothing in it restricted our rights as a full EU member to change our minds, stay in and keep all our current rights, privileges and opt-outs: Margaret Thatcher’s budget rebate, John Major’s exemption from joining the Euro, Theresa May’s opt-in to the European Arrest Warrant and Europol.

I was not, therefore, particularly surprised that the advocate general advised the court in the way he did. The full court could disagree, but such reversals are rare.

Even as the court was confirming that staying in the EU was an option, the idea that we might slide out without a deal was being cleared from the table. Dominic Grieve and Chris Bryant, in different parties but both experts on parliament and the constitution, came together to list six further ways in which parliament could put the brakes on any attempt to pull the UK out with no deal. The defeat of the government on the procedural amendment tabled by Grieve provides a guarantee that MPs will have a proper say over what happens next.

The long and the short of it is this: the idea that no deal is either a credible threat in frightening MPs, or that it is the default option if we reject the deal have both been killed off. There is no bar on parliament preventing no deal and no responsible government would ever want to force the country into it, when it knows it is so easily stopped.

The real debate now is between leaving under the humiliating terms of the proposed withdrawal agreement, with no certainty about the eventual permanent relationship, or staying with our current rights as full members, with a voice, a vote and veto.

So the choice is between a bad Brexit deal and sticking with the deal we have in the EU. And it’s a choice for the people. I don’t think it would be right for parliament to just vote to stop the Brexit process. The people started this with their vote and they must make the final decision.

Almost certainly that will require some extension of the article 50 deadline beyond 29 March. The treaty is very clear about this – it can be done but requires unanimity among all EU states. If our purpose in asking for an extension was to allow time for a referendum, there is no doubt that all would agree. Brexit would be bad for everyone, though obviously worst for us.

And that leads me to one more, final, Brexiter fantasy, that we would ask for an extension to negotiate a “better” Brexit. For that there is no enthusiasm in any European capital. Dreams of a Norway-for-now-or-ever are just that – dreams.

The deal we have been offered is not what was promised and it’s not nearly as good as the deal we’ve got in the EU, but it’s the only Brexit offer on the table.

Today was the day the terms of the debate changed because, if MPs and ultimately the British people, think it’s a bad deal, we know we can reject it without fear.

• Lord Kerr drafted article 50 and is a former UK ambassador to the EU
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?


Return to “Miscellaneous Discussions...”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests