Important vs Urgent vs Important AND Urgent – Fighting Brexit

There are a number of campaigns challenging the results of the 2016 referendum plus the recently announced NCA (National Crime Agency) investigation.

The issues that these campaigns are focused on are without doubt very important.

The various challenges have yet to get over the first, and very high, hurdle – will the court admit the challenge? Indeed one or more has been rejected by the courts at least once.

However, we have to prioritise the IMPORTANT and the URGENT.

If we are to neutralise or even mitigate the effects of the attack on our democracy, we need to prevent the forces of darkness pushing the UK into an uninformed Brexit – that is URGENT.

It is IMPORTANT that we prevent this happening again in the future. But if we fail to prevent the corruption of the 2016 referendum from dictating the immediate future of the UK, we will lose not just a battle but a campaign, and possibly the war.

Even more URGENT is the need to lobby our parliamentarians, persuade them to base their decisions on what is Best for the UK and support those parliamentarians who are prepared to take the position articulated by Edmund Burke in 1774:

“Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

The will of the people is what it is on the day, it is neither immutable nor unchangeable. As David Davis said in 2012: “If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy.”

Nobody voted for a future that impoverished the UK and its citizens, weakened its social services, its NHS, it social cohesion, its own union of nations – far from all that, the Leave campaigns promise was that the UK would be better off outside the EU.

This is why it is URGENT that we fight the self-serving and supposedly idealogical arguments from Theresa May and others.

The Leave campaign’s economist, Patrick Minford, said that Brexit would mostly eliminate UK manufacturing and increase wage inequality. He advocated a transition of around 10 years to help industry “adjust”.

Patrick Minford told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee in 2012: “It is perfectly true that if you remove protection of the sort that has been given particularly to the car industry and other manufacturing industries inside the protective wall, you will have a change in the situation facing that industry, and you are going to have to run it down.”

He echoed this in a piece in The Sun, writing: “Over time, if we left the EU, it seems likely that we would mostly eliminate manufacturing, leaving mainly industries such as design, marketing and hi-tech. But this shouldn’t scare us.”

Politicians and campaign groups must use the tools they have been provided with to prevent the self-immolation that the UK (Theresa May) seems intent on.

Once we have turned back this existential threat to what makes the UK great, we can then address the failings in the Union and the democratic system we rely on.

Some 1,500 lawyers have backed The People’s Vote campaign including some who have advised The People’s Challenge:

Sir David Edwards KCMG PC QC FRSE – Former European Court of Justice Judge and co-author of the Three Knights Opinion commissioned by The Peoples Challenge.

Helen Mountfield QC – Lead Counsel for our successful challenge to the Government’s intended use of Royal Prerogative to trigger Article 50 and a co-author of the Three Knights Opinion.

John Halford – Partner at Bindmans LLP who led our Article 50 challenge and the teams that produced The Knights Opinion and Millions in the Margins Advice.

Jolyon Maugham QC – Triggered the pre-action letter that led to The Peoples Challenge to the Government’s use of Royal Prerogative to make the Article 50 notification.

Between now and 29th March persuading our parliamentarians to take decisions based on what is Best for the UK and its people is both URGENT and IMPORTANT.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Democracy, People's Challenge, The Millions in the Margins, The Three Knights, What is Best for the UK?, What Is Best for UK | Tagged , ,

A vote of no confidence in the Government is not as simple as it sounds.

There has been a lot of talk about Labour forcing a Commons vote of no-confidence.

The no-confidence motion that Jeremey Corbyn has tabled is largely symbolic. The government doesn’t have to provide time for it to be debated and the motion won’t, of itself, trigger a General Election or force Theresa May to resign.

If it is debated and passes, Theresa May’s authority will be reduced, but as her authority already seems to be around zero, will that make any difference?

Tabling a vote of no-confidence in the government is another thing.

However, what that has meant since 2011, when the Fixed Term Parliament Act received Royal Assent, is very different to what it meant in the past.

The Fixed Term Parliament Act was introduced to provide a more stable parliamentary environment for a coalition government. As a consequence it also protects a minority government. It also removed the prerogative that the Monarch had, on advice from the Prime Minister, to dissolve Parliament and call a General Election.

The no-confidence procedure was significantly modified by the introduction of the FTP Act:

  1. A vote of no-confidence in the government, using the form of words prescribed in the FTP Act, has to be passed;
  2. If a confidence motion, again using a prescribed form of words, has not been passed within 14 days of the no-confidence vote, Parliament is dissolved and a General Election is called.

What does the Fixed Term Parliament Act say must happen after the no-confidence vote and ahead of a confidence vote held in following 14 days?

The House of Commons Public Admin & Constitutional Affairs Committee says it is not defined.

https://houseofcommons.shorthandstories.com/pacac-no-confidence-motions-FTPA/index.html

The Act provides no guidance on what happens during the 14-day period following a FTP Act no-confidence motion being passed. The Clerk of the House says that what happens during this period is a matter of politics, and not of procedure.

The 14 days allow time for confidence in the government to be re-established. Whether through a change in personnel, policy or party is a matter for the political process.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmpubadm/1813/181309.htm

It is possible that the DUP and/or the ERG could vote against the government in the no-confidence vote and then, having extracted commitments from the government, support the government in the confidence vote.

So it doesn’t look as if a Commons no-confidence vote will unlock the door to No 10 in the short term.

A People’s Vote on what is Best for Our Country may well be the surest way to secure those elusive keys.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, Brexit, The People's Challenge, What Is Best For Our Country, What is Best for the UK? | Tagged , , , ,

Theresa May’s rainbows and unicorns

In her speech on 9th January 2017, i.e. nearly 2 years ago, at the Charity Commission annual meeting, the Prime Minister promised that her government would have a “comprehensive, wide-ranging plan” to split from the EU.

“A plan to build a country where wealth and opportunity are shared; where all of us, no matter what our background, play by the same rules; and where future generations enjoy the same opportunities from which their parents have benefited throughout their lives.”

“I will say more about this plan in the coming weeks. I will talk more about our plans for economic reform, our plans to build a Global Britain and our ambitions to build a more united country.”

OMG, how time has eroded these statements – I can hear Prof Brian Cox explaining entropy!

From the top:

“comprehensive, wide-ranging plan” is now clearly risible. There was no plan at all, and the sorry result is not her government’s plan but Theresa May’s so-called solution – an attempt to placate all camps in her party. This has not attracted support from anyone except loyal Tories supporting the party (literally at any cost) and those who value their political careers more than the good of the country;

“A plan to build a country where wealth and opportunity are shared…” now looks more like “we’re all poorer (cost of living, sorry state of the exchange rate of the pound, inflation…) and our shared opportunities have diminished even before Brexit has actually happened (businesses and financial markets closing down or moving away from the UK, even food crops rotting in UK fields)”;

“…where all of us, no matter what our background, play by the same rules…” – one word, “Windrush”;

“…where future generations enjoy the same opportunities from which their parents have benefited throughout their lives.” How long have you got? Loss of freedom of movement, uncertainty about UK citizens’ business interests and property in EU27 countries, recognition of UK professional qualifications in the EU27, ease of working (whether temporarily or permanently) in the EU27, threat to easy accumulation of pension rights acquired throughout the EU27…

“I will say more about this plan in the coming weeks.” No! Over time, less and less has been said about this Utopian fantasy. For good reason: because that’s exactly what it was. UK citizens were being promised something that was undeliverable, and we now have a clear idea of what the outcome of the “plan” would be – more dystopian than Utopian.

How much worse it is, even at its best, than EU membership. It would cost dearly, leave us subject to many rules but with no voice in the decision-making process, abdicating our key role in the development and future of Europe. And for what?

Brexit, before it’s even happened, has dealt body blows to our beleaguered NHS, farmers who grow our food, people whose work it is to keep us safe, employment prospects all over the country as well as losing us institutions and organisations that contribute to our national prestige (EU Youth Orchestra, EU drug approval body…).

“…our ambitions to build a more united country.” Even when she said this, it was clear that Brexit was dividing the country, not uniting it.

The situation for Scotland (which clearly voted to remain, and had been made promises at the time of its own independence referendum about what continued membership of the UK would mean), for Northern Ireland (where a peace achieved after centuries of conflict and bloodshed is now threatened by the let’s-try-to-placate-everyone “solution” being proposed), and even for friends, neighbours and families divided on the issue – all these show the “ambitions” as the hogwash they are.

And then of course there are the EU27 citizens, who in fact are net contributors to the UK economy and have skills we are already missing, who are leaving the UK because they’re being made to feel unwelcome.

Plus there are the UK citizens who live in Gibraltar, of course. The situation with Spain has been delicate for decades, and they have been sold down the river because their circumstances just don’t fit in with the “plan”.

This also applies to any number of other UK citizens (no one knows how many), whether with personal or business interests in the EU27, resident there or with plans to be so. There are many ramifications to their situations which are just too varied and inconvenient for the negotiators on either side to deal with. These people are going to be losing rights without even the courtesy of this being acknowledged.

In 2016, nobody warned that it would be like this. Leaving the EU was supposed to be as easy as pie, new trade deals in a heartbeat, the whole of the rest of the world at the UK’s feet…

What’s being offered is nothing like what people voted for in 2016. And as TM herself is so fond of saying, “I want to be very clear about this”: it is an offer. We do not have to accept it. It’s now time to have a vote on what’s on offer… or not on offer. And the options to be voted on must be based on What is Best for Our Country a question which must include an option to continue to be a member of the EU.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Brexit, Meaningful Vote | Tagged ,

Wolchover – The missing mandate

Over the past several months a number of attempts have been made to stop Brexit using a legal challenge. They have all relied on aspects of David Wolchover’s comprehensive article:  “False Mantra of the “People’s Will” – The Case of the Missing Mandate”

None have so far managed to gain permission from a court (UK or EU) to proceed.

The likelihood of being able to proceed with one of the challenges and thus block Brexit has receded to such an extent that David Wolchover says in his article “Litigating Brexit at the eleventh hour”:

However, the outcome of one or other or both of two lawsuits respectively pending before the Divisional Court of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of England and Wales, and the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) may yet force the British government’s hand at the eleventh hour.

Neither could now directly result in an order cancelling the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, but the fall-out if the claims succeed could well change the course of events.

This was written in October 2017, so he could not know that the CJEU would reject the Shindler vs European Commission request for a judicial review as inadmissible on the grounds that the claimants had not been directly affected by the decision to open negotiations, as they were simply preparatory to a final act. They are looking into an appeal but there are very limited grounds available to them.

On Friday (7th December) there was an oral hearing in the High Court seeking permission to proceed with the challenge. Yesterday (10th December) the court refused permission to proceed on much the same grounds as it had done previously – the action was out of time.

The UK in the EU Challenge is looking at an appeal in order to get permission to proceed, but the current High Court term finishes in 10 days’ time on 21st December and the next term starts on 11th January.

If this challenge is successful it will still be for Parliament to decide what to do.

Given that there won’t be a result from the UK in the EU Challenge for some weeks, probably well into the New Year, the key factors are now the ruling by the CJEU that the UK can unilaterally revoke the Article 50 notification and what happens in Parliament now that the Government has scuttled away to find new way to dress up the unacceptable deal it has agreed with the EU.

In reality the government keeps on kicking the can down the road, apparently this is part of Theresa May’s methodology.

Perhaps she should pay some attention to David Davis, who in some previous incarnation seems to have been quite astute:

Project managers who believe that closing down a project will wreck their careers are tempted to carry on in the hope they will have a slight chance of saving their reputations. Both courses carry the risk of disaster for those responsible for a project, but one—abandonment—is often far better for the company.”

New Projects: Beware of False Economies”, published in Harvard Business Review (March 1985)

But perhaps, as Theresa May has already sacrificed her reputation, she considers that the consequences for those who hold her responsible don’t matter one iota.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, Brexit, Meaningful Vote, The Millions in the Margins, The Three Knights, What is Best for the UK? | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

From the Three Knights Opinion to the CJEU ruling on Article 50 – A long year’s journey into light.

Almost exactly a year ago the germ of an idea started to develop at The People’s Challenge, based on the High Court decision in the Miller case and the work our legal team had done for the Supreme Court defence against the Government’s appeal.

If Parliament had to authorise the Article 50 notification of intention to leave the EU, wouldn’t they also have to make a decision to authorise leaving the EU once the terms were known? We sketched an outline of our thoughts and asked John Halford at Bindmans LLP to explore it from a legal standpoint.

During January the legal team started shaping the arguments based on the question. By the time the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Miller case, we had a clearer idea of what was required.

By the time the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill was published at the end of January, the legal team was sufficiently confident on the issues for us to produce briefing documents for MPs and Peers about the requirement for an Act of Parliament once the terms were known.

We continued this work during the progress of the EU (NoW) Bill through Parliament.

In parallel, what was now known as the Three Knights Opinion was being finalised and was ready to be published in mid-February.

Our final briefings to Peers and MPs included the published Three Knights Opinion.

As we know, the EU (NoW) Bill eventually went through in a very brief form and received its Royal Assent on 16th March 2017.

It was clear to us that there would, in all probability, have to be a reference to the CJEU at some point to get a definitive answer on the question of unilateral revocability of the Article 50 notification. The primary reason for this was that it was essential for Parliament and the public to understand what the options were, when it was time to decide whether the withdrawal terms were acceptable or not.

With the legal team, we considered the possibility of mounting a campaign ourselves. It was clear that we were not the people best placed to initiate such a claim, as we may well not have been able to get past the permissions stage. As ever there was also the question of timing.

Our view was that parliamentarians, particularly Westminster MPs, would be best placed to bring such a challenge as they would ultimately have to decide what course to take when the terms of the withdrawn agreement were known.

Nevertheless, we were ready to intervene or assist if we could add to an eventual challenge and offered to do so where it seemed appropriate.

The challenge by Andy Wightman & others was the first that looked as if it had serious “legs” and even so they had a long struggle to get the Court of Session to refer the question to the CJEU.

Also Chris Leslie MP and Tom Brake MP decided to intervene in the case, increasing the number of Westminster MPs. Just as importantly, John Halford at Bindmans and Gerry Facena QC, one of our QCs in the Miller case and a co-author of the Three Knights Opinion, agreed to act for them.

We have already commented on the hearing at the CJEU in Luxembourg and the Opinion written by the Avocat General assigned to the case.

The CJEU’s ruling justifies not only the Opinion written by Sir David Edward QC, Sir Francis Jacobs QC, Sir Jeremy Lever QC and the QCs that acted for us in R (Miller) vs SSExEU, Helen Mountfield QC and Gerry Facenna QC, but also the initiative started nearly a year ago with the support of our backers.

Today’s ruling is not only crucial in the campaign for our Parliament to take back control from an increasingly authoritarian government, it is a stunning example of perseverance and the power that people have when they believe in what they’re championing and work together.

Congratulations and thanks to the named individuals in the case, whether claimants or interveners:

Andy Wightman MSP, Ross Greer MSP, Alyn Smith MEP, David Martin MEP, Catherine Stihler MEP, Jolyon Maugham QC, Joanna Cherry QC MP and Chris Leslie MP, Tom Brake MP;

the two legal teams and above all the thousands of people who helped fund this long journey and make the result possible.

BTW, we are asked from time to time why this wasn’t resolved during the Miller case.

During the hearings in the Miller case, the Government had asserted that once they had triggered Article 50 there was no going back. It was an assertion we were quite prepared to go along with, as it strengthened the arguments in favour of ensuring Parliamentary sovereignty.

 

Note 1. Court of Justice of the European Union.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has one judge from each Member State, assisted by eleven advocates general whose role is to consider the written and oral submissions to the court in every case that raises a new point of law, and deliver an impartial opinion to the court on the legal solution. Although Advocates General are full members of the court, they do not take part in the court‘s deliberations, and the Advocate General’s opinion is not binding on the court.

Although the court reaches the same solution as the Advocate General more often than not, it cannot usually be stated that the advocate general’s opinion has been ‘followed’ in any given case, because the court may have reached the same conclusion via different legal reasoning. The role of Advocate General is created by Article 19(2) of the Treaty on European Union and Articles 253 and 254 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Note 2. The Three Knights Opinion.

The Three Knights Opinion was commissioned by The Peoples Challenge after successfully resisting the Government’s attempt to use Royal Prerogative to trigger the Article 50 notification.

The Opinion’s authors are Sir David Edward KCMG PC QC, Sir Francis Jacobs KCMG PC QC, Sir Jeremy Lever KCMG QC (retired) and the QCs that acted for the People’s Challenge Group in R (Miller) vs SSExEU, Helen Mountfield QC and Gerry Facenna QC.

Sir David Edward QC practised at the Bar in Scotland prior to his appointment as the United Kingdom’s Judge at the European Court of First Instance from 1989-1992 and subsequently Judge of the European Court of Justice from 1992 until 2004. In 2004 he returned to become a part-time judge of the Court of Session in Scotland. He is a Privy Councillor, Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh and an Honorary Fellow of University College, Oxford.

Sir Francis Jacobs QC served as the United Kingdom’s Advocate General at the European Court of Justice from 1988 to 2006, having previously combined an academic career as Professor of European Law at the University of London with practice at the Bar. He is the President of the Centre of European Law at King’s College London and a visiting professor at the College of Europe. He was appointed a Privy Councillor in December 2005 and continues to practice at the Bar.

Sir Jeremy Lever QC is one of the most senior and respected figures in EU and competition law. During his more than fifty years at the Bar he acted in many of the leading cases in the fields of European law, competition law, and regulatory public law, including on behalf of the UK Government, the European Commission and the European Parliament. He is a Distinguished Fellow and Senior Dean of All Souls College, Oxford and in 2003 was knighted for services to European Law.

Note 3. Supreme Court decision in R (Miller) vs SSExEU

The People’s Challenge played a significant part in the arguments in the Divisional and Supreme Courts which resulted in the ruling that the Government was not allowed to trigger the Article 50 notification using Royal Prerogative and it required primary legislation by Parliament because of the implications for UK citizen’s fundamental rights.

 

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, High Court, Supreme Court, The People's Challenge, The Three Knights, What is Best for the UK? | Tagged , , , ,

Referendums should be held when the electorate are in the best possible position to make a judgment. David Davis Nov 2002

There is a proper role for referendums in constitutional change, but only if done properly. If it is not done properly, it can be a dangerous tool. The Chairman of the Public Administration Committee, who is no longer in the Chamber, said that Clement Attlee—who is, I think, one of the Deputy Prime Minister’s heroes—famously described the referendum as the device of demagogues and dictators. We may not always go as far as he did, but what is certain is that pre-legislative referendums of the type the Deputy Prime Minister is proposing are the worst type of all.

Referendums should be held when the electorate are in the best possible position to make a judgment. They should be held when people can view all the arguments for and against and when those arguments have been rigorously tested. In short, referendums should be held when people know exactly what they are getting. So legislation should be debated by Members of Parliament on the Floor of the House, and then put to the electorate for the voters to judge.

We should not ask people to vote on a blank sheet of paper and tell them to trust us to fill in the details afterwards. For referendums to be fair and compatible with our parliamentary process, we need the electors to be as well informed as possible and to know exactly what they are voting for. Referendums need to be treated as an addition to the parliamentary process, not as a substitute for it.

House of Commons Debates (Hansard), 26 November 2002, column 201

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, Brexit, The People's Challenge, What is Best for the UK? | Tagged , | Leave a comment

CJEU Advocate General agrees with the Three Knights Opinion – UK can unilaterally revoke Art. 50

Last winter, following our successful challenge to the Government’s intention to use Royal Prerogative to trigger Article 50, we commissioned an opinion on whether an Article 50 notification could be unilaterally revoked.

That opinion, now referred to as the Three Knights Opinion, said that an Article 50 notification could be unilaterally revoked, provided it was done in good faith and in accordance with the notifying country’s constitutional requirements.

Today an Attorney General to the Court of Justice of the EU said in his Opinion, which the CJEU is likely to follow:

When a Member State has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union allows the unilateral revocation of that notification, until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded, provided that the revocation has been decided upon in accordance with the Member State’s constitutional requirements, is formally notified to the European Council and does not involve an abusive practice.“

Not only does this follow the key elements of the Three Knights Opinion, the full Opinion refers to the Three Knights Opinion and its authors.

This will pave the way for Parliament to take back control from Theresa May and those who are trying to foist a Deal/No-Deal on Parliament and the electorate.

Note 1. Press Release of the Attorney General’s opinion

PressRelease No 187/18 – Advocate General’s Opinion in Case C-621/18

Note 2. Court of Justice of the European Union.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)has one judge from each Member State, assisted by eleven advocates generalwhose role is to consider the written and oral submissions to the court inevery case that raises a new point of law, and deliver an impartial opinion tothe court on the legal solution. Although Advocates General are full members ofthe court, they do not take part in the court‘sdeliberations, and the Advocate General’s opinion is not binding on the court.

Although the court reaches the same solution as the Advocate Generalmore often than not, it cannot usually be stated that the advocate general’sopinion has been ‘followed’ in any given case, because the court may havereached the same conclusion via different legal reasoning. The role of AdvocateGeneral is created by Article 19(2) of the Treaty on European Union andArticles 253 and 254 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Note 3. The Three Knights Opinion.

The Three Knights Opinion was commissioned by The Peoples Challenge after successfully resisting theGovernment’s attempt to use Royal Prerogative to trigger the Article 50notification.

The Opinion’s authors are Sir David Edward KCMG PC QC, Sir Francis Jacobs KCMG PC QC, Sir Jeremy Lever KCMG QC (retired) and the QCs that acted for the People’s Challenge Group in R (Miller) vs SSExEU, Helen Mountfield QC and Gerry Facenna QC.

Sir David Edward QC practised at the Bar in Scotland prior to his appointment as the United Kingdom’s Judge at the European Court of First Instance from 1989-1992 and subsequently Judge of the European Court of Justice from 1992 until 2004. In 2004 he returned to become a part-time judge of the Court of Session in Scotland. He is a Privy Councillor, Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh and an Honorary Fellow of University College, Oxford.

Sir Francis Jacobs QC served as the United Kingdom’s Advocate General at the European Court of Justice from 1988 to 2006, having previously combined an academic career as Professor of European Law at the University of London with practice at the Bar. He is the President of the Centre of European Law at King’s College London and a visiting professor at the College of Europe. He was appointed a Privy Councillor in December 2005 and continues to practice at the Bar.

Sir Jeremy Lever QC is one of the most senior and respected figures in EU and competition law. During his more than fifty years at the Bar he acted in many of the leading cases in the fields of European law, competition law, and regulatory public law, including on behalf of the UK Government, the European Commission and the European Parliament. He is a Distinguished Fellow and Senior Dean of All Souls College, Oxford and in 2003 was knighted for services to European Law.

Note 4. Supreme Court decision in R (Miller) vs SSExEU

The People’s Challenge played a significant part in the arguments in the Divisional and Supreme Courts which resulted in the ruling that the Government was not allowed to trigger the Article 50 notification using Royal Prerogative and it required primary legislation by Parliament because of the implications for UK citizen’s fundamental rights.

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, The Millions in the Margins, The People's Challenge, The Three Knights, What is Best for the UK? | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Article 50 Revocation – The Three Knights Opinion in Luxembourg

On Tuesday (27th November) a group of Parliamentarians led by Andy Wightman MSP put their case to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling that Article 50 is unilaterally revocable.

As well as Andy Wightman & otrs, Chris Leslie MP and Tom Brake MP were represented as Interested Parties. The Legal Team representing them consists of Jennifer Jack of Harper Macleod LLP and John Halford of Bindmans LLP. They instructed a top team of Counsel with expertise in Public and EU Law: Gerry Facenna QC and Anneli Howard, both from Monckton Chambers, Morag Ross QC of Axiom Advocates and Stephen Donnelly of Arnot Manderson Advocates/ One Essex Court.

John Halford led the legal team for The People’s Challenge through our successful challenge to the Government on their proposal to use Royal Prerogative to trigger the Article 50 notification through the production of the Three Knights Opinion, the work on the Legal Milestones on our way to Brexit and our Millions in the Margins work.

Gerry Facenna QC was one of our counsel for our Article 50 challenge, produced the Three Knights Opinion we commissioned with the Three Knights and Helen Mountfield QC and led on producing the Millions in the Margins advice we commissioned.

The written submission made by Chris Leslie MP and Tom Brake MP used the Three Knights Opinion as one of its prime references and Gerry Facenna QC made extensive reference to the opinions and arguments in the Three Knights Opinion when making the oral submissions to the court.

The CJEU’s Advocate General will deliver his opinion on Tuesday 4th December and the CJEU will deliver its conclusions after that, although that may not be until after the meaningful vote on 11th December.

Note 1. Court of Justice of the European Union.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has one judge from each Member State, assisted by eleven advocates general whose role is to consider the written and oral submissions to the court in every case that raises a new point of law, and deliver an impartial opinion to the court on the legal solution. Although Advocates General are full members of the court, they do not take part in the court‘s deliberations, and the Advocate General’s opinion is not binding on the court. Although the court reaches the same solution as the Advocate General more often than not, it cannot usually be stated that the advocate general’s opinion has been ‘followed’ in any given case, because the court may have reached the same conclusion via different legal reasoning. The role of Advocate General is created by Article 19(2) of the Treaty on European Union and Articles 253 and 254 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Note 2. The Three Knights Opinion.

The Three Knights Opinion was commissioned by The Peoples Challenge after successfully resisting the Government’s attempt to use Royal Prerogative to trigger the Article 50 notification.

The Opinion’s authors are Sir David Edward KCMG PC QC, Sir Francis Jacobs KCMG PC QC, Sir Jeremy Lever KCMG QC (retired) and the QCs that acted for the People’s Challenge Group in R (Miller) vs SSExEU, Helen Mountfield QC and Gerry Facenna QC.

Sir David Edward QC practised at the Bar in Scotland prior to his appointment as the United Kingdom’s Judge at the European Court of First Instance from 1989-1992 and subsequently Judge of the European Court of Justice from 1992 until 2004. In 2004 he returned to become a part-time judge of the Court of Session in Scotland. He is a Privy Councillor, Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh and an Honorary Fellow of University College, Oxford.

Sir Francis Jacobs QC served as the United Kingdom’s Advocate General at the European Court of Justice from 1988 to 2006, having previously combined an academic career as Professor of European Law at the University of London with practice at the Bar. He is the President of the Centre of European Law at King’s College London and a visiting professor at the College of Europe. He was appointed a Privy Councillor in December 2005 and continues to practice at the Bar.

Sir Jeremy Lever QC is one of the most senior and respected figures in EU and competition law. During his more than fifty years at the Bar he acted in many of the leading cases in the fields of European law, competition law, and regulatory public law, including on behalf of the UK Government, the European Commission and the European Parliament. He is a Distinguished Fellow and Senior Dean of All Souls College, Oxford and in 2003 was knighted for services to European Law.

Note 3. Supreme Court decision in R (Miller) vs SSExEU

The People’s Challenge played a significant part in the arguments in the Divisional and Supreme Courts which resulted in the ruling that the Government was not allowed to trigger the Article 50 notification using Royal Prerogative and it required primary legislation by Parliament because of the implications for UK citizen’s fundamental rights.

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.

Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.

There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.

To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.

Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.

Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.

Posted in Brexit | Tagged