Why the Great Repeal Bill will, in truth, be the Great Whitehall Power Grab

20th March 2017

My post today at the FT on how the Great Repeal Bill will turn out to be the Great Whitehall Power Grab – and why there is no alternative to this.

With added Voltaire, and some Henry VIII.

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On Brexit, the SNP and Sinn Féin have been waiting and preparing the whole time

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14th March 2017

Theresa May and her government have had a good Phoney War over Brexit.

They have won the parliamentary votes, even if they lost a court case.

They have played to the gallery – the Brexit-supporting press and the Brexit-supporting backbenchers – getting the easy cheers.

They have had no meaningful opposition in parliament from Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, or from anybody else.  The Lords have surrendered.

So far, Brexit must seem like a doddle.

But yesterday, the Scottish First Minister made her move.

Now we wait for Sinn Féin’s move.

The SNP and Sinn Féin have been watching and waiting and preparing the whole time.

The SNP and Sinn Féin have thought hard about how to exploit this political opportunity.  Only a fool would underestimate either entity.

So soon the proper politics of Brexit will begin, with the UK government facing skilled and determined politicians taking full advantage of the power and leverage presented by the government’s policy of a ‘clean’ (ie, hard) Brexit.

And this is all in addition to the politics of UK’s negotiations with EU27.

The political Phoney War is coming to an end.

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Brexit Diary – one hurdle surmounted, but another gets more awkward

14th March 2017

Yesterday the Bill to enable the Prime Minister to make the Article 50 notification passed both Houses of Parliament.  The parliamentary page for it is here.

The Bill should soon have royal assent, if it has not already.  (Contrary to urban myth, royal assent is not given by the monarch personally, but on their behalf.)

The Bill has not been amended from the version first presented by the government.  In essence, the Bill places the government in the position it was in before the High Court ruled that it would be unlawful for the notification to be made without parliamentary approval.

(My Jack of Kent post yesterday on MPs as ‘delegates’ not ‘representatives’ is here.)

But as that obstacle to Brexit falls away, another very much came into view yesterday – not an obstacle as such to Brexit but to a ‘hard Brexit’.  This, of course, was because of the the speech of the Scottish First Minister.

This can be read here.  The First Minister announced that there will be an independence referendum when the Brexit proposals become clear.

The (intended) effect of this speech is to place UK government policy on a wire.  If the outcome of Brexit is too ‘hard’ then there will be an independence referendum for Scotland which may support independence.

(My piece on the constitutional context of the speech is at the FT.)

The one immediate effect of the speech is that the buzz about an Article 50 notification being sent this week has been quashed – the notification will now be sent by the end of this month.

Brexit continues to be fascinating.

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Brexit Diary: May in Copenhagen, Davis in Parliament, negotiation style, parliamentary votes, Ireland, etc

This is a round-up of recent Brexit news and commentary.  Commentary is grouped under the relevant “dimension” of Brexit.

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Brexit news

Prime Minister’s statement in Copenhagen of 10 October 2016

Next Steps in Leaving the European Union, statement by Brexit Minister David Davis to House of Commons, followed by debate

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The UK/EU relationship dimension

 Britain’s Brexit delusions, by Paul Taylor at Politico

Britain’s raucous negotiating style will not help Brexit, by Alan Beattie at FT

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The parliamentary dimension

Brexit means Brexit, but Parliament is Parliament. MPs must vote on how we leave, by James Kirkup at Daily Telegraph

On the sidelining of Parliament: The Brexit Secretary’s statement to the Commons, by Professor Mark Elliott at the Public Law for Everyone blog

Guardian editorial – The Guardian view on Brexit negotiations: MPs matter

Parliament should be central to Brexit, not marginal, by me at FT

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The Northern Irish dimension

This Brexit plan will divide Britain and Ireland once more, by Diarmaid Ferriter at Guardian

 

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