Brexit Diary: recent news on the “high politics” of Brexit in Westminster and Whitehall

(These Brexit Diary posts collect recent news and commentary.)


Today’s Brexit diary contains recent news on the “high politics” of Westminster and Whitehall.

Brexit is not inevitable, says former civil service chief, Guardian, 27 August 2016

Few things are inevitable in human affairs, and this was a statement of the obvious by O’Donnell.  This observation, however, was useful as a peg to hang the civil service stories below.

The following two links are also not really news: the government’s long-standing position is that Article 50 can be triggered without a parliamentary vote.  This contention will be tested by the High Court in October, with a likely Supreme COurt hearing in December.

Theresa May will trigger Brexit negotiations without Commons vote Telegraph 27 August 2016

Theresa May ‘acting like Tudor monarch’ by denying MPs a Brexit vote Guardian 28 August 2016

The following links are news.  What is significant is that there is still no settled government position on the shape of Brexit.  There can be no surprise that in the absence of such a policy, splits are emerging.

Theresa May calls Brexit meeting amid reports of single market split Guardian, 28 August 2016

Chancellor blamed as cabinet splits over single market Sunday Times, 28 August 2016

The prime minister tells civil servants to “get on” with implementing a policy which does not exist yet:

Theresa May tells pro-EU civil servants to get on with the job of delivering Brexit Telegraph 28 August 2016

The prime minister also tells her cabinet to come up with a Brexit policy:

Theresa May, the Brexit enforcer, orders her Cabinet ministers to come up with blueprint for EU exit Telegraph 28 August 2016

And already the civil service (on whom the success of Brexit will depend) are being attacked for not implementing a policy which does not exist yet:

Whitehall must not try to block Brexit Telegraph, 28 August 2016


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5 thoughts on “Brexit Diary: recent news on the “high politics” of Brexit in Westminster and Whitehall”

  1. I am surprised that no one has challenged the Brexir result through the courts. It is a fact that both sides received public money to operate their campaigns and both sides, to a greater and lesser degree deliberately misinformed us, the public. The question ‘ can public money be used to deliberately deceive’ should be tested.

    1. As the referendum was, as law, non-binding and advisory, it follows that there is little which can be challenged as such. As long as the statutory scheme of the Referendum Act was complies with, then there is little a court could order. This contrasts with, for example, elections where candidates are elected to seats, where the return can be challenged.

  2. Steven Baker MP (Wycombe) is quoted today in The Sun. I’m sure you don’t read it and I can’t bring myself to post the link!

    I dare say the judiciary will be next to be singled out. This is very worrying rhetoric.

    “Tory MP and former Conservatives for Britain chair Steve Baker said “any official working to oppose our exit from the EU should be summarily fired”.”

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