Is our hard won Brexit Flextension about to go up in flames as Boris Johnson tries to block Parliamentary scrutiny and debate once again?

Having been defeated 3 times in the Commons in his attempts to call a General Election, Boris Johnson is now going for a 4th attempt.

This time he is tabling an amendment to the Fixed Term Parliament Act for a General Election on 12th December.

The Government has also tabled a complex business motion to limit the time available to debate the Bill and the amendments that can be made to it. All in order to rush it through with the minimum of scrutiny. Sound familiar?

The current EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill will be lost, unless specifically carried over to the new Parliament, and the work done to ensure there was time to analyse and debate it fully will have been wasted.

The hard-won 3-month Brexit “Flextension” will also be largely wasted.

If Parliament votes for an early General Election, there will be a 5-week campaign period leading up to the General Election.

The new Parliament will then be summoned by proclamation of the Queen in Council. Boris Johnson has promised that this will happen before 23rd December. So there’ll be no problem there, will there?

Not forgetting that successful candidates in the General Election do not become MPs until the new Parliament has been summoned and they are sworn in as MPs.

There will need to be another Queen’s Speech (with its associated debate), the election of a new Speaker and the reconstitution of the various select committees.

Normally, and admittedly you can hardly call these times ‘normal’, Parliament would be in recess from about 20th December until around 7th January.

So it is quite conceivable that under these circumstances, the 3-month extension would only provide 3 weeks of Parliamentary time before the UK is up against the next deadline.

So instead of focusing on the greatest crisis the UK has faced since 1939 (or even on all that urgent fix-the-country business which was the excuse for proroguing Parliament and for the farcical last Queen’s Speech that HM had to deliver), vast amounts of time will be taken up with an election campaign.

A classic example of tribal party politics versus the national unity the country needs at least as much as it did in 1940.

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support, apart from the sheer time and effort involved, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.

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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.

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

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, Brexit, Democracy, Parliamentary Sovereignty, Political Integrity, What is Best for the UK? | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Boris Johnson attempts to use up even more precious Parliamentary time. Why can’t the opposition parties see this?

So Boris Johnson said that Parliament has run its course, needed a new session and attempts to illegally prorogue it for 5 weeks. He is then slapped down by the Supreme Court but then prorogues it for an “acceptable” period.

All this wastes weeks of Parliamentary time.

He now says that Parliament has run its course and there needs to be a General Election.

A GE will waste 5 weeks or more of precious Parliamentary time and leave the Government in power but not subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.

Why can’t the LibDems and SNP not see that all the PM is doing is burning Parliamentary time so as to push the UK up against another deadline and bounce it into a Brexit deal which will impoverish the UK and its people ultimately leading to a catastrophic No-Deal Brexit?

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support, apart from the sheer time and effort involved, 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 (please 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 best for our country: what is 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.

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

Posted in Brexit, Democracy, Parliamentary Sovereignty, Political Integrity, The Millions in the Margins, What is Best for the UK? | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

An open letter to M. Macron President de la Republique

This is the English Translation of the letter that I sent to M. Le President de La Republique, Emanuel Macron, on behalf of The People’s Challenge (original French is included below the English).

Mr President,

I’m writing you this open letter to express the views of a group of concerned UK citizens.

Media reports suggest that you are only inclined to grant a very short (15 day) extension to the Article 50 period, even though Boris Johnson’s letter, required by the law voted by Parliament, asked for an extension to 31st January 2020.

This would have implications: refusal of a request from the UK’s Sovereign Parliament, an attempt by the EU to override the UK’s due constitutional process, it would also frustrate UK Parliamentarians’ ability and duty to ensure that the UK’s constitutional requirements are fulfilled.

The negotiations between the UK Gov. and the EU 27 have largely been carried out “in the tunnel”. That, combined with the enabling legislation the UK Gov. is proposing, demands that the UK ‘s sovereign Parliament has sufficient  time to scrutinise very closely the bill that the Gov. is tabling.

That scrutiny has to include whether the bill complies with constitutional law, whether it complies with commitments to our friends in the EU27, and whether it protects, in law, the rights of UK citizens and residents at Brexit day and into the future.

To curtail this scrutiny, and thus the UK Parliament’s ability to comply with its constitutional requirements, would be seen by many, including UK citizens who are friends of the EU, as an unwarranted and unreasonable imposition by the EU on the Parliament and people of the UK.

Mr President, I share your concern about what is going on in the UK. We are by no means alone, you and I, many others are also seriously worried. But your, mine and their feelings don’t change the situation.

I would ask you therefore to support a long extension of the Article 50 process so that the UK’s Parliament and people can reflect on the now better-known consequences of Brexit. This will also enable the EU to move forward with its own priorities without the distraction of UK domestic politics.

Hopefully this will lead to a resolution of the current Brexit crisis which is better for both the UK and the EU.

Yours,

Grahame Pigney

The People’s Challenge

 

M. le Président,

je me permets de vous écrire cette lettre ouverte pour exprimer les sentiments d’un groupe de citoyens UE inquiets.

Les médias nous proposent la possibilité que votre inclination est de donner au RU une très petite (15 jours ?) extension à la notification Article 50, même si la lettre de Boris Johnson, requise par la loi votée par le Parlement du RU, a demandé une extension au 1er janvier 2020.

Cette action engendrerait plusieurs  conséquences : un refus d’une demande du Parlement souverain du RU, un essai par le UE de s’imposer sur ce Parlement souverain, et une frustration de son devoir et de son droit de satisfaire correctement les règles constitutionnelles du RU.

Les négociations entre le gouvernement du RU et les EU27 ont procédées largement « dans le noir ». Avec ceci, et la législation proposée par le gouvernement pour régulariser la situation en RU, il faut absolument que le Parlement souverain du RU ait le temps qu’il faut pour examiner minutieusement le projet de loi du gouvernement.

Cet examen doit comprendre : si le projet de loi est conforme à la loi constitutionnelle, à nos obligations à nos amis de l’UE, s’il protège dans la loi, les droits des citoyens et résidents du RU au moment du Brexit et pour l’avenir.

Couper court à cet examen, et donc frustrer le droit et devoir du Parlement d’honorer son rôle constitutionnel, paraitrait a beaucoup de gens, citoyens RU bons amis de l’UE inclus, une imposition ni nécessaire et ni raisonnable par l’UE sur le Parlement et le peuple du RU.

Vous avez, monsieur le président, ma sympathie quand a la consternation a ce qui se passe au RU. Vous et moi, ainsi que beaucoup d’autres, partageons cette frustration. Mais nos sentiments, tant les miens que les vôtres ne changeant pas la réalité de la situation.

Je vous demande donc de favoriser une longue extension à la notification Article 50, pour que le Parlement du RU puisse réfléchir les conséquences du Brexit qui sont maintenant plus claires.

Ceci permettrait aussi au UE d’avancer ses autres priorités sans la distraction de la politique interne du RU.

Dans l’espérance que ceci amènera à une résolution de la crise Brexit du moment et à un avenir plus propice pour tous les citoyens européens.

Vous avez mes salutations distingues,

Grahame Pigney

The People’s Challenge

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support, apart from the sheer time and effort involved, 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 (please 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 best for our country: what is 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.

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

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, Brexit, Parliamentary Sovereignty, People's Challenge, The Millions in the Margins | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Boris keeps trying to bounce Parliament into ignoring the detail of his deal, he failed on Saturday will he succeed today?

Is Boris’s bounce getting a little less bouncy?

Well, here we are, over 3 years after the referendum. And Boris seeks to bounce Parliament into an agreement to his ‘great new deal’ in less than 3 days!

Why? Because he said he wouldn’t ask for an extension, which he’s now had to do. Why wouldn’t he do that? Because he said he wouldn’t!

It’s a completely manufactured deadline now. Parliament has required him to ask for an extension, and as it’s Parliament’s will (thus the UK’s constitutional will), the EU’s going to grant it: a country can’t be thrown out of the EU against its expressed will, leaving the EU without a deal can only be the UK’s decision.

So what is our illustrious PM up to? We have plenty of proof that he’s always up to something, after all. What’s he angling for?

His own political ambition, of course – he’s been working to get the keys to No 10 for years, and is still aiming for the ‘Titanic success’ (Johnson’s own words) of Brexit. If he gets it, that’s what he’ll have for sure.

To get there, he needs plenty of support from the Right of his party, the ones who interpret ‘take back control’ as handing it to a demagogue in No. 10. And he needs to peddle the ‘Parliament v. the people’ argument.

Events have proved conclusively that Parliament is in control, is the ultimate arbiter of what becomes law in the UK, upheld as necessary by the UK courts.

And how does Johnson think that MPs get to be MPs? They are elected – by people. Let’s not forget, the election mechanism is governed by the ‘Representation of the People Act’.

So, more manufactured arguments.

He’s trying to create an alternative reality based on his own constructs, for his own ends, not for the best interests of the UK.

But Parliament is clearly not deceived, unlike the ‘popular’ press, apparently. We should not be deceived either.

Did he really say ”Trust me, I’m Boris”? Who could suspend disbelief to that extent?

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support, apart from the sheer time and effort involved, 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 (please 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 best for our country: what is 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.

You can follow us via our blog, on Twitter @PeoplesChalleng and our Facebook page.

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

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, Brexit, Democracy, NoDeal, Parliamentary Sovereignty, The Millions in the Margins, What is Best for the UK? | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Not everybody thinks that a “hurry up and get it done” Brexit is in everyone’s Best Interest.

The chair of the Bundestag’s foreign affairs committee, Norbert Röttgen, a senior member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, has been Tweeting over the past few days on the new Brexit Deal and the parliamentary situation in the UK.

It helps to provide a useful insight into some of the reasons that Germany seems a lot more inclined to accept a long extension to the Art. 50 process. There is an understanding that ultimately the deal needs to go back to the people.

And that the backstops needed are not just the diplomatic/trade ones contained in the Withdrawal Agreement but a parliamentary backstop is needed to close the backdoor to a NoDeal Brexit.

And that to achieve a settled solution for the UK to debate and decide on the long-term solution, a long extension should be granted, allowing the EU to get on with other important issues. Germany was inclined to give a significantly longer extension last time for exactly this reason. But France, largely driven by domestic pressures, disagreed.

It’s good to see such a pragmatic view being expressed. Clearly not everybody thinks that “hurry up and get it done” is in everyone’s Best Interest.

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support, apart from the sheer time and effort involved, 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 (please 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 best for our country: what is 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.

You can follow us via our blog, on Twitter @PeoplesChalleng and our Facebook page.

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

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, Brexit, Democracy, Parliamentary Sovereignty, Political Integrity, What Is Best For Our Country, What is Best for the UK? | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Boris Johnson’s three Brexit letters to EU: Boris Johnson makes it clear he thinks that he is more important than Parliament’s sovereignty

Boris Johnson has sent three letters to the EU relating to an extension to article 50, after he was forced to do so by the so-called Benn act. The first letter was the legally mandated request for a three-month delay to Brexit, which Johnson has not signed. There is a covering letter from Tim Barrow, Britain’s ambassador to the EU, explaining the point of the previous letter. A third letter was sent from Johnson saying he does not want an extension. Here are the three letters, plus a fourth in which Johnson petitioned peers and MPs to back his deal.

Unsigned letter to Donald Tusk, president of the European council

Dear Mr President

I am writing therefore to inform the European Council that the United Kingdom is seeking a further extension to the period provided under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, including as applied by Article 106a of the Euratom Treaty. The United Kingdom proposes that this period should end at 11 p.m. GMT on 31 January 2020. If the parties are able to ratify before this date, the Government proposes that the period should be terminated early.

Yours sincerely,

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Covering letter from Tim Barrow, Britain’s ambassador to EU

Dear Secretary-General,

As the United Kingdom Permanent Representative to the European Union, I invite your attention to the following matter.

Attached is a letter sent as required by the terms of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.2) Act 2019.

In terms of the next steps for parliamentary process, Her Majesty’s Government will introduce the necessary legislation next week in order to proceed with ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement.

I would be grateful for your acknowledgement of receipt of this letter.

Sir Tim Barrow

Johnson’s personal letter to Tusk

Dear Donald

It was good to see you again at the European Council this week where we agreed the historic new deal to permit the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on October 31.

I am deeply grateful to you, President Juncker and to all my fellow European leaders for the statesmanship and statecraft which enabled us to achieve this historic milestone. I should also register my appreciation for Michel Barnier and his team for their imagination and diplomacy as we concluded the negotiations.

When I spoke in Parliament this morning, I noted the corrosive impact of the long delay in delivering the mandate of the British people from the 2016 referendum. I made clear that, while I believe passionately that both the UK and the EU will benefit from our decision to withdraw and develop a new relationship, that relationship will be founded on our deep respect and affection for our shared culture, civilisation, values and interests.

We will remain the EU’s closest partner and friend. The deal we approved at last week’s European Council is a good deal for the whole of the UK and the whole of the EU.

Regrettably, Parliament missed the opportunity to inject momentum into the ratification process for the new Withdrawal Agreement. The UK Parliament Representative will therefore submit the request mandated by the EU (Withdrawal) (No.2) Act 2019 later today.

It is, of course, for the European Council to decide when to consider the request and whether to grant it. In view of the unique circumstances, while I regret causing my fellow leaders to devote more of their time and energy to a question I had hoped we had resolved last week, I recognise that you may need to convene a European Council.

If it would be helpful to you, I would of course be happy to attend the start of any A50 Council so that I could answer properly any question on the position of HM Government and progress in the ratification process at that time.

Meanwhile, although I would have preferred a different result today, the Government will press ahead with ratification and introduce the necessary legislation early next week. I remain confident that we will complete that process by 31 October.

Indeed, many of those who voted against the Government today have indicated their support for the new deal and for ratifying it without delay. I know that I can count on your support and that of our fellow leaders to move the deal forward, and I very much hope therefore that on the EU side also, the process can be completed to allow the agreement to enter into force, as the European Council Conclusions mandated.

While it is open to the European Council to accede to the request mandated by Parliament or to offer an alternative extension period, I have made clear since becoming Prime Minister, and made clear to Parliament again today, my view, and the Government’s position, that a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners, and the relationship between us.

We must bring this process to a conclusion so that we can move to the next phase and build our new relationship on the foundations of our long history as neighbours and friends in this continent our peoples share. I am passionately committed to that endeavour.

I am copying this letter to Presidents Juncker and Sassoli, and to members of the European Council.

Yours sincerely

Boris Johnson

Johnson’s letter to MPs and peers

Dear Colleague

I wrote to you on Friday to outline why our new deal allows this country to take back control, get Brexit done and let the country move on.

I have made clear that I do not want more delay. European leaders have made clear they do not want more delay. It is to my great regret that today the House has voted for more delay.

The public want us to get Brexit done so the country can move on. The best thing for the United Kingdom and the European Union is for us to leave with this new deal on October 31.

I will not negotiate a delay with the European Union. I will tell the EU what I have told the British public for my 88 days as Prime Minister: further delay is not a solution.

That is why next week this Government will introduce the legislation needed for us to leave the European Union with our great new deal on October 31.

It is quite possible that our friends in the European Union will reject Parliament’s request for further delay (or not take a decision quickly). In these circumstances, I hope colleagues on all sides of the House will – faced with a choice of our new deal or no deal – support this new deal.

Colleagues, more than three years after the British people voted to leave the European Union, they expect us to finally deliver on our promises. They expect us to get Brexit done, so we can all move on and focus on the people’s priorities.

I will continue to do all I can to get Brexit done on October 31 so the country can move on – and I hope I can count on your support in doing so.

Yours sincerely

Boris Johnson

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The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support, apart from the sheer time and effort involved, 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 (please 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 best for our country: what is 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.

You can follow us via our blog, on Twitter @PeoplesChalleng and our Facebook page.

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

Posted in Brexit | Leave a comment

Monday’s Government motion – same question same answer as PM tries to bulldoze his deal through.

The House of Commons Order paper for Monday contains two different elements of the Government’s attempt to bulldoze the draft Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament.

The first is a repeat of the motion tabled on Saturday, which was amended by the Letwin Amendment as the House of Commons withheld approval of the draft Withdrawal Agreement until the enabling legislation had been debated and enacted.

In accordance with normal convention, it is quite possible that the Speaker will refuse this, as another presentation of a motion that is substantially the same is not usually permitted.

The second is the First Reading of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill. There will be no debate on this, as the First Reading is in effect just reading it into the record. The debates will take place over subsequent days as the Bill passes through the Second Reading, Committee Stage (almost certainly a Committee of the whole House), 3rd Reading before being passed to the House of Lords.

It seems possible that the Second Reading may take place on Tuesday. However the substantive debate will be during the Committee Stage, when the clauses and amendments will be debated in detail.

The Commons will also need to pass a timetable motion on the EU (WA) Bill, allocating time for debate at the various stages. Undoubtedly the Government will try and reduce the available time as much as possible.

All of this may be very confusing for EU27 politicians. Having seen the Benn Bill passed into law by Parliament in the space of a couple of days why can’t the EU (WA) Bill be passed into law in a similar amount of time?

There are several reasons:

  1. The Benn Bill was a very simple bill focusing on a very specific procedural issue;
  2. There was a substantial consensus in both the Commons and the Lords to have it passed;
  3. The EU (WA) Bill affects not only a substantial body of law (not just that resulting from the UK’s membership of the EU) and determines the direction of travel for the UK’s relationship with the rest of the world for the foreseeable future;
  4. Even if everybody agreed that the UK should leave the EU there is no clear vision of what that actually means.

With the limited number of sitting days available to Parliament between now and 31st October, it is very likely that there is not enough Parliamentary time to pass the necessary legislation. This is largely because of the time the Government has wasted in its unlawful prorogation of Parliament and then the nonsensical prorogation before the Queen’s Speech on 14th.

This is something the Government clearly inflicted on itself, and on the nation, in pursuit of its attempt to force through a Boris-Johnson-centric Brexit by stealth and deception, instead of seeking consensus and agreement to unite the nation.

____________________________________________________

The People's Challenge - logoWe value your support, apart from the sheer time and effort involved, 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 (please 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 best for our country: what is 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.

You can follow us via our blog, on Twitter @PeoplesChalleng and our Facebook page.

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

Posted in Article 50 negotiations, Brexit, Democracy, Parliamentary Sovereignty, Political Integrity, What is Best for the UK? | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment