Wednesday, April 17, 2024
HomeNewsConstitutional outrage? No, the way to a good, clean Brexit

Constitutional outrage? No, the way to a good, clean Brexit


THE government is to prorogue Parliament to enable a new legislative agenda to be announced by the Queen shortly before the UK leaves the EU, deal or no deal, and outside the WA/PD. That seems to be the position, although theories abound as to whether Boris and Cummings are in fact playing games and may betray the Brexit referendum result even now (by settling for the EU-agreed WA/PD without the backstop).

The fury of the Remainers is a wonder to behold, the deepest irony being their appeal to democratic sovereignty. This short prorogation is a ‘constitutional outrage’ which obviates Parliamentary scrutiny and sovereignty, they say. Remainerdom, of course, is hell bent on the UK remaining in the EU and its trajectory towards 2025, which will be a step change towards a federal state of Europe, an irreparable giveaway of national Parliamentary sovereignty and an acceptance of non-democratic regulation, control and management by the Brussels technocratic machine. That’s what makes the doublespeak of the Remainers so breathtaking. Boris, we hope, and the Brexiteers are all about ‘taking back control’ and restoring Parliamentary sovereignty.

Philip Hammond, acting as cheerleader for the Remainer movement across the parties, has protested about Parliament’s exclusion from the chance of blocking Brexit. This is the same Hammond who is planning to avoid a democratic re-selection process in his safe seat of Runnymede and Weybridge with the help of a closed meeting of chums on the executive committee. Thus he hopes to avoid almost certain defeat in a full meeting of all the members since his recent antics to thwart Brexit and work with EU officials have, not surprisingly, alienated the membership. Mr Hammond has the face to appeal to democracy and constitutional outrage at the same time as hoodwinking his local party! Nice one, Phil.

How many hardline Tory MPs are even now seeking to operate similar circumnavigations of local democracy is hard to guess, but it is surely a fair number. If Boris is to fight a General Election with such a large body of Remainers hostile to his programme, he will perpetuate his problems. If he is serious, he will need to shake the tree free of this shrivelling fruit, as Patrick Benham-Crosswell argued here or else make his manifesto bomb-proof against liars who erode confidence in the democratic process.

Ironically what Remainerdom seeks is a permanent prorogation of Parliament and simply wants to use it one final time in order to dissolve it for good. Speaker Bercow of course fulminates and shouts about constitutional outrage, to which we can only say that he is a uniquely qualified practitioner of constitution-wrecking outrages and the national expert on how to enact them.

By contrast Boris is planning only a shorter version of John Major’s 1997 prorogation, and Major too is showing signs of doublethink madness. Proroguing Parliament is a legitimate and legal process, unlike Bercow’s seizure of power, an entirely rogue coup. Professor John Finnis QC wrote a compelling article in which he rejected maverick Bercow’s Parliamentary hijacking and proposed a two- or three-week proroguing of Parliament to allow a no-deal Brexit. 

This ensures at least that ‘no deal’ is kept on the table, and given the intransigence of Macron, Verhofstadt, Barnier, Juncker and the keepers of Brussels’s holy dogmas and practices makes it likely. The WA, as is so well known, puts us under EU controls, and allows economic annexation of our national waters and a region. It curtails Parliamentary sovereignty under ECJ jurisdiction only, with no appeal outside that.

Confidence that the prorogation is designed in preparation for no-deal/clean break Brexit was implied in Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay’s signing the ‘commencement order’ to trigger end of EU law on 31 October. This order sets in stone the plan to leave on 31 October and should would make a modified WA PD impossible, since that entrapment depends on ECJ jurisdiction controlling what the UK can do and what it cannot prevent being done to it economically. Barclay’s order has been signed, it is done.

As TCW has said, through such experts as Ruth Lea and John Longworth, ‘no deal’ really means lots of sector-by-sector deals, and the government could buffer bad outcomes financially, for example to farmers, until the bump was stabilised. Businesses will be finding ways to do this themselves, as Alan Polain explained in some detail on this site yesterday. 

Remainer naysayers need to remember that Uncle Sam is keen to deal with us and not take over our waters, regions or economic controls, while Macron revels the prospect of in a ‘historic economic vassaldom’ for the UK.

This news of a short prorogation to recover full Parliamentary sovereignty augurs well for a good clean Brexit – let’s hope it does – or Boris’s own words about the UK’s vassalage will surely come back to haunt him.

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Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw
Timothy Bradshaw is a Theological lecturer and Anglican clergyman

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