Ed – The author of this article is our correspondent Septimus Octavius.
Politics has rarely been more interesting in the UK than it is now. A curious situation has now arisen in the House of Commons where there are currently almost as many opinions about Brexit as there are Members of it. Some want a referendum, but amongst these, there are almost infinite complex and deep divisions as to exactly what questions would be asked and what rules would be applied as to required majorities. Some people want a Norway style surrender, but it is difficult to see how such a thing could be negotiated with the EU in place of the provisionally agreed document, and there are comparatively few of these, and even they cannot agree on the extent of any “plus” factor. One or two actually want to use the power given by the ECJ to revoke the Article 50 Notification, but most MPs want to keep their seats, and most do not want to go down in history as the ones who stamped so nastily on democracy.
Some want to seek an extension of the Article 50 period, but that would have to be agreed by all 28 members of the EU, and most MPs are actually bright enough to understand that more time would not add anything.
Quite a few MPs on the “Leave” side are now openly proclaiming the benefits of leaving without a deal. One MP alone really wants the provisionally agreed document to be approved, but a few others pay lip service to it with a view to keeping in her good books.
Notably, the tiny number of MPs who choose to comment on the legal position grudgingly concede that the UK is on tramlines to a no deal exit on 29 March 2019; even these, however, usually qualify this by saying this is “just” the legal position, as if the law did not matter.
The crucial point, of course, is that the law DOES matter, because it dictates what MUST happen. In 2017, by Act of Parliament, the UK Government was statutorily mandated to give the Article 50 Notification. The effect of Article 50, which is a rule of EU law, is that in the absence of a Withdrawal Agreement coming into force before that moment, the UK is Released from the Treaties of the EU at 11.00 p.m. UK time on 29 March 2019. As I have sought to emphasise on numerous previous occasions, there is, as a matter of historical statutory record, a clear Parliamentary majority for no deal!
What is, or was until very recently, so amusing about the Westminster frolics is the assumption by all concerned that the UK Parliament was sovereign; of course, it is NOT! The UK is subjugated to the EU, and EU law trumps UK law every time until we escape. One of the main reasons people voted to leave was to RESTORE sovereignty to the UK Parliament.
This is the significance of Article 50 being a rule of EU law; as such, it COMPLETELY OVERRULES anything the UK Parliament can do; and Article 50 makes NO provision for the revocation of a Notification.
Unfortunately, as a result of a dedicated conspiracy between arch Remoaners and EU institutions, the ECJ has recently ruled (surprise surprise) that the UK can unilaterally revoke the Article 50 Notification. It is well worth savouring the delicious corruption this ruling so magnificently displays. The ECJ has NEVER previously authorised a nation state in the EU to do something of significance in EU law regardless of all the other member nations, because so to do is entirely contrary to everything the Treaties of the EU dictate; but there is NO APPEAL from decisions of the ECJ, so it is entirely free to act as unlawfully as it likes. OF COURSE, the EU would LOVE the UK to revoke the Notification! Hence this odd judgement.
Both Labour and the Conservatives fought the 2017 Election on Manifesto pledges to uphold and act upon the 2016 Referendum result. So what? Millennia have shown that you cannot trust politicians!
Fortunately, I come back to my starting point. Although there are many hazy and shifting Venn diagrams in the equation, there is no clear majority for anything; so thank the Lord! Let us pray that Article 50 will indeed run its course and the UK shall make good its escape at “exit day”!