It’s one day to D-Day – and the Grieve Cabal has let the cat out of the bag. Today, they will publish their ‘Amendment’ – and their choice, allegedly, is to give “The People” (that’s us stupid, uninformed idiots) another vote: either for Ms May’s despicable WA or to stay in the EU!
Yesterday I surmised that these Tory wreckers (you can find a list here) might have the silent support of Ms May. Today it’s become obvious: this is another way to get Ms May and the EU the deal which will bind us to Brussels and which will wreck our Constitution, forever. But then again – if we become the first EU vassal state, we don’t really need Parliament any longer, do we!
So what is this Grieve & Cable proposal all about? The text will be published today, and we’ll make it available to you here once we have it.
Apparently, they will propose that, should Ms May be defeated tomorrow, ‘Parliament’ will take over the ensuing Brexit negotiations with Brussels by allowing backbench MPs to table legislative proposals and amendments (see here). In other words – Parliament no longer scrutinises Bills and Legislation submitted by the duly elected Government but will itself initiate Legislation. Stephen Glover in the DM writes about the dangers of this ‘Coup’, calling it a constitutional outrage:
“Britain famously has an unwritten constitution. On the whole it has worked pretty well over the years, evolving to address political developments and challenges. It’s not, though, set in stone. But what a group of MPs is now plotting is nothing less than a constitutional coup which, if successful, could change the way in which we have been governed for well over a century.”
He writes that the Grieve Cabal is not ‘asserting Parliamentary Sovereignty’ but reneging on their pledge to honour our Brexit vote as set out in the Manifesto on which they were elected in 2017.
Nikki Da Costa, Director of Legislative Affairs at 10 Downing Street from September 2017 to November 2018, describes how this would work:
“[…] you would need to target the ‘arrangement of public business’, and further empower the backbench business committee, you might target government control over daily business, and you would look at empowering backbenchers to programme bills. […] If passed the Government retains the title of executive but loses the power that goes with it. Given the lack of a majority following the June 2017 general election, the reality would be that Parliament would be able to legislate at will with just a handful of Conservative or DUP rebels. There would be no stability and such changes would likely expedite a general election.”(my bold)(source)
Here’s another ‘take’ on this Grieve&Cable ‘Bill:
“If Theresa May loses tomorrow’s crunch vote, authority for drawing up a new negotiating blueprint could pass to a panel of senior backbenchers […] The liaison committee, which is dominated by Remainers by a margin of 27 to nine, would be charged with coming up with a proposal supported by MPs. The Prime Minister would then be required to go to Brussels to negotiate for it […] The dramatic move would mean tearing up the Commons rule book – giving backbench MPs the power to propose legislation instead of the Government. A Cabinet minister described it as a ‘copper-bottomed, bullet-proof plan to sink Brexit which relies on the fact the Government has no majority and the Speaker will bend the rules’ […] A source close to the move said the changes to the standing orders of the House of Commons would be temporary and would be reversed after Brexit. A leading figure behind the move added: ‘This is not a wholesale reordering of the British constitution. It would be a one-off surgical strike and afterwards things would go back to normal.”
One cannot but be flabbergasted by this wide-eyed stupidity! Do they not know that once a precedent has been created it cannot be wished away? Do they not know that the EU has said categorically and repeatedly that there won’t be any negotiations? Mind you, they do seem to be a bit worried in Brussels because they seem to become more willing to grant an Article 50 extension. So no surprise when we read this morning that the EU is ‘prepared’ for such extension – see here and here:
“Given the opposition within the UK to Mrs May’s negotiated Withdrawal Deal, EU leaders are expecting an imminent request from London to extend article 50. European Council president Donald Tusk is ready to convene a special leader’s summit as soon as the UK requests the extension. An EU official said: “Should the Prime Minister survive and inform us that she needs more time to win round Parliament to a deal, a technical extension up to July will be offered.”
If this happens then we can envisage extension after extension to Article 50 because MPs, not the Government, will drive the necessary Legislation, and the EU negotiators have of course got to give them time, generously – because the longer we are tied to the EU the firmer their grip on us will become.
This additional, last-minute analysis of May’s deal by actual experts, the formidable Martin Howe QC amongst them, emphasises forcefully why MPs must vote against May’s WA, planned coup or not. They scrutinise the role of the proposed Joint Committee (buried in an annexe to the 585-WA) whose remit is to ‘settle disputes’. It makes my blood run cold – and because the article is behind a paywall, I shall quote at length:
“The committee can be chaired by two unelected civil servants, who can meet or even correspond in secret to make “binding decisions” on the UK and EU, […] Civil servants can be appointed to the committee, meetings will be considered to be “confidential” and any minutes or the agenda can be kept secret, it states. […] meetings can happen as little as once a year while legally binding decisions can be taken simply by an “exchange of notes” between the two co-chairmen.
The agreement states the committee’s decisions “shall be binding on the Union and the United Kingdom, and the Union and the United Kingdom shall implement those decisions. They shall have the same legal effect as this Agreement.”
Martin Howe QC, a leading expert in EU law, told The Daily Telegraph: “The Withdrawal Agreement contains a presumption of secrecy regarding the proceedings of the Joint Committee. Unless Parliament were to legislate to constrict or control the activities of the UK representative on the Joint Committee, a civil servant could wield very substantial legislative powers without oversight from Parliament. This is a matter of great concern.” (My emphasis)
Indeed it is!
While the Wreckers plot (have they actually read the 585 pages?), while May still rushes about trying to sell her WA, while journalists now write that her ‘deal’ is better than no Brexit, omitting the “No Deal-WTO Brexit”, thus singing from May’s own hymn sheet, while others point to the threatened Constitutional Coup, I wonder who actually are the ‘thick, uneducated’ people here: the wrecker MPs, the Remainers and the Remain journalists – or us?
I am rather worried that, the grandstanding, the “sound and fury” of the Wreckers and Remainers notwithstanding, frightened MPs may well vote for May tomorrow – and hand us over to the EU in perpetuity.