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Lawyers for Britain on the poisonous choices ahead

Martin Howe QC has written an article on the choices facing Parliament with regard to ratifying Mrs May’s agreement (as amended) or extending the Article 50 deadline, the Trojan ass beloved of Remainiacs.

Essentially, he sees the worst option as approving Mrs May deal with its indefinite nature, subjugation to the ECJ as an arbitration mechanism and no exit clause (but I think a suitably-phrased Act of Parliament and, in the event of any nonsense from over the water, a few well-aimed cruise missiles as an ultimate fallback would do). I fail to see the disadvantage of breaching such a bad treaty, President Trump is a great one for saying that this arrangement is screwing us, so screw it and if you don’t like it, tough.

A short extension would be a nonsense as the European ‘Parliament’ will take a break from rubber-stamping or worse, gilding (never ‘gelding’ it seems) the legislation put before it so that elections may be held, and it is needed to ratify the final Withdrawal Agreement. It would give three weeks for more procrastination and delay (which is the whole point of Mrs May’s premiership, in case anyone hasn’t noticed).

As Mr Howe notes of the FFC:

The Prime Minister’s statement to the House of Commons on 26 February 2019 opened the door to a “short, limited extension to Article 50 not beyond the end of June” if the House again rejects her deal on 12 March. She thereby abandoned her commitment, repeated in the Commons more than 100 times, that the UK will leave the European Union on 29 March 2019.

Without any apparent consciousness of the irony, she told the House that she would stick by her commitment to hold a vote on extending Article 50 “as I have [stuck by my] previous commitments”.

Mr Howe sums up the advantage of a 21 month extension over Mrs May’s ‘deal’.

A long extension of 21 months would have the same practical result as the “implementation” period in the deal, except the UK would be much better off than under the deal because we would still have a vote and representation in EU institutions and the European Parliament.
Unlike the deal, we would be free to leave on 1 January 2021 without being trapped in the “backstop” Protocol.
Our financial liabilities during the 21 month extension would be the same as under the deal, but unlike the deal, we would have no obligations afterwards.
Unlike under the deal, we would not be subject to indefinite ECJ jurisdiction after 2020.

As Mr Howe notes:

When you want to get someone to do something by threatening them, the normal protocol is that you threaten them with something which is worse than the thing you want them to do. However, in this case, it is the other way round. The ‘threat’ is manifestly more advantageous in every way than the thing the threatener wants the threatened to do (vote for the Theresa May deal).

Would an extension be granted by the EU?

… there are severe difficulties in the way of getting such an extension in the first place. The EU is wary of the problems which would be created by holding the European Parliament elections in the UK. The Conservative Party should be not simply wary, but alarmed across the board, at such a prospect, since a decimation of the Conservative vote in the face of Nigel Farage’s reinvigorated Brexit party cannot be ruled out. And if the Brexit party establishes itself with a big vote in the European Parliament elections, it will not go away and will be a real vote-splitting problem for the Conservatives in by-elections and at the next general election – an even greater problem than UKIP was in the past.

The EU may well not be willing to agree to an extension. It only takes one member state to veto it.

So this is where the Conservative Party has taken the country, to a point where threats of something better that a final outcome are being deployed with a view to getting the worst possible deal for the UK? And our best hope may well be another EU member government deciding to put a stick in the spokes of the extension? Could, say, nice Mr Orban be our saviour? We might see just how far the euroscepticism of some European politicians will take them.

14 comments to Lawyers for Britain on the poisonous choices ahead

  • John B

    What magic will happen during an extension of whatever period, that has not happened in the last two years?

    An extension is just prolonging the agony in the hope that everyone is so worn down they will meekly accept what is determined by those who want the UK permanently ensnared in the EU either as a continued full member or some hybrid worst of all Worlds attachment.

    Guy Fawkes, call your office.

  • Pat

    Mention is made of the potential damage Mr. Farage’s Brexit party might do to the Conservatives. I think this is right.
    But there is also the potential of a resurgent UKIP taking white working class votes from Labour.
    We are cursed to live in interesting times!

  • Lord Chthon of Wundagore Moyntain

    No Deal will destroy the UK economy so any talk of it being the best option is insanity.

    Don’t forget that we literally have the most incompetent politician in the history of the Earth as Transport Secretary, a man who has cost the taxpayer £500 million.
    Grayling should be forced to pay us back the $500 million, same with Boris and his stupid garden. Pay. It. Back.

    The most viable solution is for Northern Ireland to rejoin Ireland (only opposed by old loons and the mentally retarded) thus ending the problem of the backstop, and to abolish the state pension, thus freeing up the income of those who actually work (the young) to spend money in the economy.

  • Flubber

    “No Deal will destroy the UK economy so any talk of it being the best option is insanity.”

    This is just fear-mongering bullshit. Subservience to a decaying trade bloc intent on its own destruction is insanity.

    As for our politicians in general, do you think huckstering the country into an eternal slavery trap is going to produce a stable environment going forward? It would be a green light to a slow but inexorable path to civil breakdown. You cant ask people to pay taxes and obey laws and then demonstrate that voting is no longer recognised nor respected. You tell people they’re slaves and they will rebel.

  • Sam Duncan

    “What magic will happen during an extension of whatever period, that has not happened in the last two years?”

    Precisely. Howe makes an extension sound good, but there’s no guarantee that anything would be any different (another) two years down the line than it is now. Did anyone but the most pessimistic Brexiteer seriously think we’d still be arguing about whether to leave almost three years after the vote?

    “No Deal will destroy the UK economy so any talk of it being the best option is insanity.”

    No, thinking that the reunification of Ireland is “viable” is insanity. Using the threat of renewed republican violence against Brexit was despicable, but there is nothing in this life more certain than that loyalists wouldn’t take being forced under the rule of Dublin lying down. If you want to take a sledgehammer to the fragile peace in Ulster (there are more walls in Belfast today than in 1997*), that’s the perfect way to do it.

    *Isn’t it funny, by the way, that the prospect of a wall on the USA’s southern border is the worst thing that anyone has ever suggested, and the walls on Israel’s border make it more evil than Nazi Germany, but the walls in the middle of Belfast are never even talked about?

  • Mr Ecks

    Lord Whatever–PdeH’s rules prevent me from expressing what I really think of you. Other than to observe how low an intellect you have be to swallow Project Fear bullshit or any of the lying cockrot spewed by Treason May and her gang.

  • staghounds

    “You cant ask people to pay taxes and obey laws and then demonstrate that voting is no longer recognised nor respected.”

    Au contraire, your Masters made it clear that the vote would be evaded on the first day after the results. Even I figured it out.

    Why is everyone acting so shocked?

  • Flubber

    Why is everyone acting so shocked?

    Because the breaking of the social contract is such a significant step. And for something as shite as the EU…

  • Zerren Yeoville

    Geoffrey Cox’s mission to Brussels to try and extract something legally binding with regard to the backstop is a hopelessly quixotic piece of windmill-tilting absurdity. He has not been able to do anything to prevent the imminent closure of what is probably the largest employer in his own constituency – Appledore Shipyard – so why should any more success be expected from his backstop efforts? Theresa May might as well have sent the late ‘Geoffrey from Rainbow’ instead.

    If the Withdrawal Agreement goes through, the UK will end up in the backstop with the EU still controlling everything. Guaranteed. The Withdrawal Agreement is tantamount to putting our neck into twenty-seven separate nooses, with each individual EU country getting its own rope to pull.

    Macron has already said that he intends to push the UK into the backstop unless the UK agrees to let the EU continue destroying what’s left of the British fishing industry. What happens when Spain decides that, unless the UK comes up with a firm timetable for handing over Gibraltar, ‘it’s backstop time, amigos!’

  • Paul Marks

    Do not agree to the “deal” of Mrs May – which keeps the rule of the European Union over the British people.

    And do not “extend Article 50” – what is delay supposed to achieve? If the managers of Big Business have not prepared for independence yet, after almost THREE YEARS, then they do not deserve their telephone number salaries.

    Just GO, just LEAVE the European Union.

    If the politicians do not carry out the vote of the people for independence of June 2016 they had better not knock on doors again – for the British people will have every right to slam the door in the face of such politicians who will (by their treachery) have revealed democracy to be a sham.

  • Sean

    It would be great if the Poles remember what the UK did for them on the 3rd of September 1939 and veto any extension – no?

  • Mr Ed


    It would be great if the Poles remember what the UK did for them on the 3rd of September 1939

    It was the right thing to do, albeit it turned out to be quite hopeless for Poland until 1989, and then again there was Yalta. Still, if a disappointed Polish government were to veto any extension as a symbolic snub after Yalta, either way you dice it, it would be fine.

    It is acts or omissions like these that will let the people of the Visegrad bloc know the true mettle of their leaders.


    Your constant scepticism appears to be borne out. I am a bit surprised at how blatant Mrs May is about it. She could at least pretend to be trying, rather than just being trying.

  • Geoffrey Cox … has not been able to do anything to prevent the imminent closure of what is probably the largest employer in his own constituency – Appledore Shipyard (Zerren Yeoville, March 4, 2019 at 9:22 pm)

    It is quite normal for political power to be of little real effect in resisting negative market events.

    If only it were as ineffectual when resisting positive market events.

  • staghounds

    I’m not a skeptic, I’m a believer- in what people DO, not what they say.

    From the very start, none of the people in a position to make Brexit happen have behaved as though they want to follow the people’s expressed will.