60 Tory MPs demand clean break from the EU

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60 Tory MPs demand clean break from the EU
« on: November 21, 2016, 10:27:52 PM »

Principles of Political Economy by John Stuart Mill
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“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.” 
― John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy Quotes by John Stuart Mill

Heavyweight Brexiteers go public as 60 Tory MPs demand clean break from the EU The Union flag is seen flapping in the wind in front of one of the faces of the Great Clock atop the landmark Elizabeth Tower that houses Big Ben at the Houses of Parliament Credit: AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Principles of Political Economy Quotes by John Stuart Mill
3 quotes from Principles of Political Economy: ‘War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed...

Ben Riley-Smith
Harry Yorke
19 November 2016 • 12:26pm
Sixty Tory MPs including seven ex-cabinet ministers have demanded Theresa May pulls Britain out of the single market and customs union amid fears her Brexit stance could be watered down.
Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith, John Whittingdale and Theresa Villiers are among leading Eurosceptics to put their names to the negotiation demand.
The politicians have gone public through The Sunday Telegraph amid concerns that pro-EU figures in the Cabinet are fighting to soften the Government’s Brexit position.
Eurosceptics said only the cleanest Brexit can fulfil the country’s referendum call to “untie ourselves from EU shackles and freely embrace the rest of the world”.
However critics warned leaving the single market and customs union would establish barriers to trade that were not voted for in the referendum.
 PM: Brexit plans are 'on track' Play! 00:30

The decision to go public with the call coincides with the relaunch of the European Research Group, a new pro-Brexit Tory body that will keep up pressure on the Government.
It will produce new thinking and policy ideas for Britain’s future after Brexit as well as being a constant reminder to ministers of the strength of euroscepticism on the Tory backbenches.
It came as senior Tory MPs called on the Government to drop its appeal to the Supreme Court over whether it has the power to start Brexit talks without a vote from MPs.
Ministers are seeking to overturn a High Court ruling that demanded Mrs May get approval from MPs and peers before triggering Article 50, the mechanism for starting Brexit negotiations.
However many inside Government are expecting another defeat and there are concerns that the waiting time – a judgement is not due until January – is an unnecessary delay.
Owen Paterson, a former environment secretary who backed Brexit, joined calls from senior pro-EU Tories to drop the appeal on Saturday.
 Brexiteers react with fury to "outrageous" court decision Play! 01:43

“I'm not a lawyer and I'm not an expert on this but ... I wouldn't have a bet on the Government winning this one,” Mr Patterson said, adding it is “not good to have a confrontation with the courts.”
In a separate development, Labour MPs are under pressure to be more supportive of Brexit after research revealed how many of their constituencies voted to leave the EU.
Some 137 Labour MPs saw their seats back Brexit in the referendum – more than half the party’s total – according to analysis by the Brexit Alliance think tank.
Leading figures campaigning to keep close trading links with the EU such as Ed Miliband, the former Labour leader, and Yvette Cooper, the former home secretary, saw their constituents overwhelmingly back Brexit.
There is a major Cabinet split over whether Britain should pull out of the EU single market, a tariff-free trade bloc, and customs union, which allows goods to cross borders without customs checks.
Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis – dubbed The Three Brexiteers – are said to be far more open to leaving both than Philip Hammond, the Chancellor.
Michael Gove, the former justice secretary  Credit: Adam Gray / SWNS.com
Eurosceptics say staying in the single market means continuing to be bound by European Court of Justice judgements while remaining in the customs union all but stops the UK signing free trade deals.
Number 10 has repeatedly said no decision has been taken and the choice is not “binary”, suggesting they could seek to retain benefits of both agreements while opting out of overall membership.
In a bid to force the Government’s hand, 60 Tory MPs have backed the statement: "The UK must leave the European Economic Area [EEA] and the Customs Union."
Seven former cabinet ministers backed the call including five who served under David Cameron – Mr Gove, Mr Duncan Smith, Ms Whittingdale, Ms Villiers and Mr Patterson – and two who served under John Major: Peter Lilley and John Redwood. Eleven Labour, DUP and Ukip MPs also backed the call.
John Whittingdale,  the former culture secretary Credit: Nick Edward
Steve Baker, chairman of European Research Group, said: “A vote to remain in the EEA or the Customs Union is a vote to be powerless over trade and domestic regulation and therefore poorer than we otherwise can be.
“The UK is ideally positioned to catalyse a new global trading system which works for everyone by promoting free and fair trade and defending against predatory practices.”
In a piece for The Telegraph’s website, Suella Fernandes, the Tory MP for Fareham helping run the group, says pulling out of the customs union is the only way to fulfil the Brexit vote.
“When the British people voted to leave the European Union on 23 June, most of my Parliamentary colleagues and I took it as an instruction to untie ourselves from EU shackles and freely embrace the rest of the world. We now wish to ensure that the will of the people is fulfilled,” she writes.
 Corbyn calls for transparency over Brexit plans Play! 01:01

“As was made clear in the referendum campaign, remaining in the EU’s internal market, like Norway, or in a customs union like Turkey is not compatible with either of these commitments and doing so would frustrate the will of the electorate.”
However Joe Carberry, co-Executive Director of Open Britain, said: “The inevitable consequence of leaving both the Single Market and the Customs Union is erecting barriers to trade with our closest and largest partner.
"Those calling for us to do so, need to provide evidence rather than bluster that it will actually increase trade, boost growth and create jobs. Expert opinion, which I know has gone out of fashion, suggests otherwise."
'Britain must untie itself from EU shackles by using Brexit to leave the customs union'
Suella Fernandes Tory MP and vice chair of the European Research Group

19 November 2016 • 12:24pm The Union flag is seen flapping in the wind in front of one of the faces of the Great Clock atop the landmark Elizabeth Tower that houses Big Ben at the Houses of Parliament Credit: AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Mansion House’s elegant temple portico stands boldly at the heart of the City of London as an emblem of Britain’s trading heritage: at the crossroads of the Roman roads of Cheapside, Cornhill and Poultry, facing the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England. It was a fitting backdrop for the Prime Minister’s speech this week setting out her steadfast passion for the British people to set their own rules on international trade policy, forging new and dynamic agreements with old allies and new partners alike, as we leave the European Union.
In order to realise the Prime Minister’s vision of a nation exporting goods and services around the world, open for international business, supporting emerging markets and spreading the benefits of economic growth, Britain will need to liberate itself from the burdens of the customs union. Only in leaving will we truly be a beacon of international free trade.
That is because the Common External Tariff which binds members of the Customs Union prevents Britain from creating her own bilateral free trade agreements with non-EU countries. JCB, for example, cannot sell its machinery tariff-free from India to the UK no more than can Tata from the UK to India. The result is that, ever since 1973, Britain’s trade has pivoted from global to European – all negotiated on our behalf by the EU Trade Commissioner. Not only did the policy wreck the ports of Glasgow and Liverpool which were on the wrong side of the country, but it denied Britain any chance to set her own rules on trade.  
What this also means is that the UK is subject to a far more protectionist trade policy than she would have chosen herself, raising prices for consumers.  The Common Commercial policy means that we pay more for our food and clothes because of the disproportionate influence of French farmers and Italian textile firms. Once we leave the customs union, we will be free to buy food, clothes and commodities at world prices and trade with partners of our choosing, reflecting the particular strengths and features of our economy. This has been calculated as benefitting each household by over £500 a year.
Britain needs to trade beyond the EU because if we want to foster enterprise, jobs and innovation in the UK, we need to start selling more than we buy.  In 2015 the UK’s trade deficit on trade in goods and services with the EU was £69 billion, while the surplus with non-EU countries was £30 billion. The EU still has no agreements in place with major states like the USA and China. We can increase our exports to the rest of the world, but only if we are outside the Customs Union.
Indeed, when the British people voted to leave the European Union on 23 June, most of my Parliamentary colleagues and I took it as an instruction to untie ourselves from EU shackles and freely embrace the rest of the world. We now wish to ensure that the will of the people is fulfilled. As was made clear in the referendum campaign, remaining in the EU’s internal market, like Norway, or in a customs union like Turkey is not compatible with either of these commitments and doing so would frustrate the will of the electorate.
We have a bright future as a fully independent, sovereign country; as a friend, ally and partner with our European neighbours. When the British people in their wisdom voted to take back control it was incumbent on us as MPs to do just that. That is why I am pleased to have the support of more than 60MPs, working to support the Prime Minister in her objective of making the British people’s will a reality.     Brexit is a golden opportunity for Britain. We can lower barriers and encourage investment. We can be the first big country to entirely open our markets  – something so far only seen in smaller states like Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand. If we become the first country to have a completely open economy then we can truly make Brexit work for everyone.

Brexit means Britain can be an even greater ally to our European friends
Dominic Raab

20 November 2016 • 8:45pm

 Winston Churchill Credit: Evening Standard/Getty Images/Evening Standard/Getty Images

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As Winston Churchill observed, 'attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference’. It’s time, on all sides of the Brexit debate, to stop carping and unite to deliver the best deal for Britain. Sure, a vocal but dwindling minority of diehard Remain MPs and unelected peers will continue to predict doom and try to trip Brexit up. But they are pitting themselves squarely against the popular mood.
According to YouGov, the public is now committed by three to one to respecting the referendum, however they voted, and making Brexit work. In Scotland, that view holds too, by 2:1 – with an even larger proportion of Remain voters resolved to seeing Brexit through, than across the rest of Britain. Just 30% of Scots back Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP in seeking to frustrate the process.
During the roller-coaster of Brexit negotiations, this growing moderate majority needs to be guardians of the nation’s blood pressure, avoiding over-reacting to every bump along the way. Take the economic good news last week. Somehow, record employment data, dipping inflation and Google’s announcement of £1bn of fresh investment in the UK was eclipsed by media furore over a fake memo by Deloitte, dressed up as a critical review of the government’s Brexit preparations. It was a classic triumph of tittle-tattle over what really matters. 
Similarly, we risk missing positive political developments. For all the understandable concerns around the US election, President Trump offers Britain the opportunity of a free trade deal shunned by Barack Obama, as well as presenting (more regrettably) a key role in shoring up our European allies within Nato. And last week, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, publicly signalled her flexibility on free movement, a significant diplomatic move before formal Brexit talks - or German elections - have even begun.
The new president wants to put the UK front of the queue  Credit: JAY LAPRETE/AFP/Getty Images/JAY LAPRETE/AFP/Getty Images
As more and more Remainers make their peace with the referendum result, we Brexiters need to avoid sounding miserly. At home and on the continent, we’ve left people in little doubt as to what we’re against. They are less clear about what we’re for.
I support the 60 Conservative MPs who have said publicly Britain should leave the customs union, because we can’t deliver on the Prime Minister’s ambition to end free movement and the jurisdiction of the European Court, or make Britain a global leader in free trade, without doing so. But, we also need to set out a positive and optimistic vision of the UK’s relationship with the EU after Brexit – for the British people, and our European friends. 
What should we offer Brussels?
Britain’s ambition should be to prove we can be an even better European neighbour, freed from the fetters of the flawed political club. Let’s start talking the language of friendship with a greater generosity of spirit. For its part, the Government is wise to avoid drip-feeding its negotiating stance into the public domain, which would just offer critics - at home and on the continent – a target for their daily sniping.
Equally, the Prime Minister has committed to spelling out the high-level principles guiding our negotiating strategy by the New Year. That will be crucial to communicating a compelling, positive offer we can take to Brussels. What should that package include?
Our top negotiating priority should be to avoid new barriers to trade – based on rational, economic and mutual self-interest. We shouldn’t just be taking this message to European governments. UK politicians and business leaders should be permanently touring Europe, speaking to industry, business groups and unions, making the case for maintaining our current trading ties, and avoiding the harm that protectionist measures would inflict on UK and – disproportionately - European profits and jobs.
We need to be equally clear, with diplomatic brows duly furrowed, that we take no solace from the fact that applying the EU’s external tariff would bring in £8bn more to the UK than the EU in tariff revenue. It’s not what we want. Brussels would have to force us into such a retrograde move.
We can stand side by side with Eastern Europe against Vladimir Putin Credit: REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov/Pool/File Photo/REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov/Pool/File Photo
Second, as a net contributor to EU justice and home affairs cooperation, Britain should offer to maintain - and enhance - our commitment to collaborate on security matters. From data-sharing to joint policing investigations at Europol, departing the EU is no bar to operational law enforcement cooperation. We must leave our fellow Europeans in no doubt that Britain is loath to abandon them in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris. Likewise, we stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with our Baltic and Eastern European allies in the face of the increasingly bellicose Russian president, Vladimir Putin - whatever President Trump does. 
Third, ruling out acceptance of EU free movement hardly precludes sensible reciprocal arrangements on immigration. We can offer visa waiver for tourism and business trips, flexible terms to allow recruitment of top European talent by UK companies and a permit system for skilled labour. Between open-door immigration and pulling up the drawbridge, there is ample scope for a deal that preserves UK national control over the volume of immigration, as well as the sensitive rules on skills eligibility, welfare entitlements, residence conditions and security checks. 
The public has seen with its own eyes that the referendum forecasts of economic Armageddon, if they voted for Brexit, were partisan propaganda. They now yearn for some unity of purpose to make the best of Brexit, and mitigate the real risks and genuine uncertainty that are inherent in the process. According to ComRes, two-thirds of Britons feel positive about Britain’s post-Brexit future. Meanwhile, a survey this month by US consultancy Synechron found 72% of UK bankers believe London will still be the financial centre of Europe in five years’ time. Forget the media froth, there is quiet but growing confidence that the UK will thrive outside the EU. 
Britain is strong enough to withstand the economic buffeting of Brexit, and we should be confident enough to make a generous overture to our European friends. Now, we need a positive attitude and a united front, reaching out across the overwhelming majority who want to make Brexit work, however they voted back in June. With a Churchillian dose of stubborn optimism, we can grasp the kind of deal most people want - and see Britain go from strength to strength. 
Dominic Raab is the Conservative MP for Esher & Walton
Note: If I had to design a mole to undermine Brexit  I could not do better than come up with Booker.  All his wish to within the EEA would do is not only lock  us into the EU by stealth but provide future opportunities for our overwhelmingly quisling political class (quislings in the service of the EU)  get slotted into a United States of Europe which is the way the EU is going. Far from being complex leaving the EU could and should be simple, viz: 
Step 1. We invoke the leaving provisions of the Vienna Convention on Treaties which would have the UK out of the EU in around three months.

Step 2. We adopt the WTO rules which are a ready made trading template.

Step 3  We negotiate treaties with anyone including the remnant EU as and when we choose .

Job Done. rH 
We as a nation are completely unprepared for the staggering complexity of Brexit
Christopher Booker 

20 November 2016 • 8:00am

Brexit: so many moving parts that few can keep track of them all

There has been no neater comment on where we have got to on Brexit than the two pictures on the cover of the current Private Eye. The first, labelled “Then”, showed that grandiose bus hired by the Leave campaign, carrying the claim that, by pulling out of the EU, we could give an extra £350 million a week to the NHS. The second, captioned “Now”, showed a burned-out, windowless bus stuck in a field, going nowhere.
Our progress towards invoking Article 50 does indeed look ever more of a shambles. The real problem, as it has always been, is that so few people really understand the incredible complexity of what a successfully negotiated Brexit would involve. Neither side in the referendum campaign was remotely prepared for it: the Remainers because they relied on their absurd Project Fear to ensure that the problem would never arise;  the Leavers by deliberately refusing to work out any practical exit plan, believing that they could wing it on vapid little make-believe slogans like the one blazoned over the side of that silly bus.
But five months later, here we are with the general debate no further forward or better informed, except for the dawning realisation by ministers that it really is turning out to be far more complicated than any of them ever realised, and that we have nothing like enough civil servants to cope with it all. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, continues to keep her cards almost invisibly close to her chest, except for insisting that we must continue trading fully “within” the single market (because anything else would be a disaster) while staying hung up on how this could be made compatible with her wish to “control immigration”. This tension is why she added last week  that we cannot be hoping for an “off the shelf” solution. PM: Brexit plans are 'on track' Play! 00:30

Whatever she intended that to mean, there is only one way we can hope to achieve a deal which meets her primary requirement. Only if, on leaving the EU, we nevertheless remain within the wider European Economic Area (EEA) can we hope to continue trading “within” the single market much as we do now. But this would also allow us, outside the EU,  to escape from the three-quarters of its its 20,000 laws which cover issues other than trade. It would even, under the “safeguarding” clauses of the EEA Agreement, give us limited control over internal EU immigration.
Whether or not Mrs May would regard this as the kind of “off the shelf” solution she now seems to be rejecting, its other immense advantage would be that it would enable us, in the short time available for these negotiations, to focus on all those countless other issues which will need to be settled as part of our disentanglement from the rest of the EU system of government. Look at the 35 different policy areas set out in the template for a treaty of accession to the EU and we can see just what will have to be unravelled in reverse, in the “Secession Treaty” which will be needed at the end of our negotiations. 
Only six of these 35 cover trade. But our talks will also have to resolve the 29 other areas, such as what is to be done about our involvements in the EU’s common foreign and defence policies, its policies on  justice and home affairs, our relations with the EU’s 27 different agencies ,and a whole host more – including, heaven help us, the unbelievably tricky questions of how we manage to extricate ourselves from the common agricultural and fisheries policies.
All this has so far been scarcely mentioned in the public debate, although it does help explain why some are now suggesting that we may need to recruit 30,000 more civil servants just to cope with all the myriad further issues needing to be resolved, including those ongoing financial commitments to the EU which, over a decade or more ahead, could amount to a staggering £60 billion.
The truth is that, in all directions, we are still hopelessly unprepared for what we let ourselves in for on June 23. And the time left to get our act together is now fast running out.

Second World War victory proves civil service can deliver Brexit, says top ex-mandarin
The Union flag is seen flapping in the wind in front of one of the faces of the Great Clock atop the landmark Elizabeth Tower that houses Big Ben at the Houses of Parliament

Ben Riley-Smith, Assistant Political Editor
19 November 2016 • 9:30pm
Britain's victory in the Second World War shows why the civil service will deliver Brexit despite concerns it is underprepared, a former top mandarin has said. 
In a defiant message to critics, Lord Butler of Brockwell dismissed as "unfair" suggestions that Whitehall is in “chaos” over delivering the vote to leave the EU. 
He told The Sunday Telegraph those warning that civil servants are ill-prepared for Brexit talks are "crying before the milk’s been spilt”. 
“I’ve got pretty good confidence in the civil service. We could organise the Second World War, so I guess we could still organise Brexit,” he said. 
Lord Butler served as cabinet secretary and head of civil service under three prime ministers - Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair. 
His intervention comes after a week of criticism towards the civil service after a leaked memo from the consultants Deloitte said up to 30,000 new hires were needed to deliver Brexit.
The cross-bencher will appear before the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs to discuss the civil service alongside another former top mandarin, Lord Kerslake, on Tuesday. 
Lord Kerslake is expected to take a more critical tone, calling for the Government to “pause” civil servce cuts and asses what skills gaps need to be filled to deliver Brexit. 
 PM: Brexit plans are 'on track' Play! 00:30

However Lord Butler struck a defiant note after days of criticism in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph ahead of the appearance. 
 “This is a very big scale project and people shouldn’t minismise the size of the task. But in the past the civil service has shown itself capable of doing that sort of thing when the call has come,” he said. 
“Some of [the criticism] is unfair. It’s crying before the milk’s been spilt, if that’s the right way of putting it. 
“Understandably ... the Opposition wants to say you were completed unprepared for this, there was no plan. Well there couldn’t be, really, until it happened and then you’ve got to face the task.”
He added: “I don’t think there’s any evidence of chaos. We’re only just building up to the task, it hasn’t happened yet. For people to say already the civil service can’t cope and there’s chaos is not justified.”
 Brexit negotiations should be transparent, Obama says, on last Europe tour as president Play! 01:05

Lord Butler, a former master at University College, Oxford, believes there needs to be a recruitment drive to hire lawyers and trade experts – competencies eroded in the civil service after more than 40 years in the EU. 
However he fell short of calling for a stop to the cuts implemented under David Cameron’s premiership, saying savings in certain areas of Whitehall remain possible.
He also questioned the creation of the Department of International Trade – one of two new departments created by Mrs May when she took office to deliver Brexit. It is headed up by Liam Fox.
Lord Butler said he was generally against “reshuffling the pack of departments” for political reason and voiced concerns over whether its remit should not be part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. 
Taking a markedly different tone, Lord Kerslake called for a “pause” amid fears that the Government could end up rehiring sacked civil servants or “expensive consultants” as it scrambled to prepare for Brexit talks.
 Theresa May pledges to look after 'overlooked' communities in wake of Donald Trump victory Play! 00:47

He suggested that the National Audit Office, the country’s public spending watchdog, is called in to assess gaps in Whitehall expertise after the vote to leave the EU.
 “The Government should pause on civil service cuts until it’s worked through how it delivers the whole task that it has in front of it,” he told this newspaper. 
“Otherwise there’s a risk that you carry on reducing and then find yourself having to employ people back or bring in expensive consultants.
“So I think there is a case to take stock, pause for a moment on the downward numbers and look at that again.”
After discussing Brexit's potential legal hitches, Lady Hale may be wise to quit Article 50 case
Matthew Scott

17 November 2016 • 7:14pm Lord Kerr, Lord Rodger, Lord Mance, Lord Hope,Lady Hale,Lord Phillips (President of the Supreme Court)Lord Brown,Lord Saville,Lord Collins,Lord Walker and Lord Clarke Credit: Heathcliff O'Malley/-
The Deputy President of the Supreme Court, Baroness Hale of Richmond, has come under fire from a number of Brexiteers, including Iain Duncan Smith, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Dominic Raab, over a speech that she gave to Malaysian law students last week.  They have argued that the speech suggests she is biased against the Government's case.
Lady Hale yesterday told the Solicitors Journal that she will “absolutely not” step down (or “recuse” herself) from sitting on the Article 50 appeal next month.  
Most of the now controversial speech amounted to a canter through the short history of the UK Supreme Court. It was doubtless of considerable interest to the students, particularly as it was delivered in Lady Hale's clear and attractive style. She devoted just one relatively short section of the speech to a discussion of the Article 50 case.  She did so partly because, as she put it, it would have been “discourteous” to her hosts not to explain what the case was all about. She summarised both sides' arguments pithily. Had she stopped at that, she probably would have escaped any adverse comment.
But, having summarised the arguments of the claimants (who have argued that the Royal Prerogative cannot be used to invoke Article 50) she said this:
“Another question is whether it would be enough for a simple Act of Parliament to authorise the government to give notice, or whether it would have to be a comprehensive replacement for the 1972 Act.”
Lady Hale may not have appreciated it when she delivered the lecture but it seems that the Government's contingency plan, should it lose the appeal, is to place the simplest possible Bill before Parliament, authorising the Prime Minister to issue the Article 50 notification. Indeed, that is the only conceivable way in which a statute could be passed in the short time available before the Prime Minister's self-imposed March deadline.  
Lady Hale - Deputy President of the Supreme Court Credit: PA
A “comprehensive replacement” of the European Communities Act 1972 would be a far more complex beast that could not possibly be passed in a few weeks.  Should the Court rule that such an Act of Parliament is necessary then Article 50 notification will slip back by many months, and perhaps even years.  Such Government policy as exists would lie in ruins.
So Lady Hale's observation, anodyne though it appears at first reading, is in fact politically explosive.  
It is also very curious because there has so far been virtually no argument in court over the type of Act of Parliament that might be necessary to authorise notification.
The relief sought by the claimants was simply a declaration that “the Government may make a notification under Article 50 (2) only if authorised by an Act of Parliament.” Beyond arguing that legislation of some sort is required to authorise notification, neither of the two leading claimants' written skeleton arguments even mentioned the issue of what sort of legislation that should be, and nor did the Government's response.  Nor (except very obliquely) did the question feature in the oral arguments. Unsurprisingly, because it had not been an issue, the High Court judgment did not address the point either.
Iain Duncan Smith's unfair sniping at Lady Hale's integrity will only stiffen her resolve to sit on the case
Iain Duncan Smith has “accused” her – on the basis of I've no idea what evidence - of having “pro-EU views,” which misses the point entirely. Judges are perfectly entitled to have political views as long as they ensure that they do not interfere with their reasoning.  Such unfair sniping at her integrity will only stiffen her resolve to sit on the case.  She will not want, and still less should she be expected, to step down because politicians demand it. It would be the end of the Supreme Court's independence if politicians had the ability to choose their own judges.
Government lawyers, and particularly the Attorney-General, have been presented with a dilemma.  If they do not object to her presence before the case is heard, they will not be able to cry foul afterwards if they lose the appeal. They could, of course, decide to ignore the clamour from the back-benches and accept that, unwise as she may have been to talk about the case, Lady Hale did not give any objective indication of bias. I suspect that would be the instinct of the bulk of the Government legal team.
 May refuses to condemn media over attacks on Brexit judges Play! 01:09

On the other hand, they could object and invite her to recuse herself on the grounds that she has demonstrated apparent bias. If the views of MPs such as Iain Duncan-Smith and Dominic Raab are representative of Conservative MPs generally, one might expect the Attorney-General to come under considerable pressure to do just that. If she then refused to step down, the prospect of a particularly ugly clash between the Supreme Court and the Government will loom large.
Lady Hale's decision to speak about the case does now appear astonishingly naïve. It was an object lesson in why judges ought not to discuss the details of cases they are about to decide
Lady Hale too finds herself in a difficult position. She will not want to be seen to be capitulating to what she clearly regards as unreasonable demands. On the other hand, her decision to speak about the case in Kuala Lumpur does now appear astonishingly naïve. It was an object lesson in why judges, however careful they try to be, ought not to discuss the details of cases they are about to decide.
The constitutional importance of the Article 50 case can hardly be over-emphasised.  There is no appeal from the Supreme Court's decision.  There is a real danger that Lady Hale's presence on the bench for this case may begin to undermine the high respect in which the Court as a whole is held.  If the Attorney-General invites her to do so then, in this most sensitive, delicate and important of cases Lady Hale would be sensible to accept that she made a mistake and stand aside.  
Matthew Scott is a criminal barrister at Pump Court Chambers
Supreme Court's most senior judge urged to stand down from Article 50 legal hearing over wife's anti-Brexit Twitter posts Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, president of the Supreme Court Credit: Supreme Court
Robert Mendick, Chief Reporter
Laura Hughes, Political Correspondent
18 November 2016 • 10:00pm

The Supreme Court’s most senior judge has been urged to stand down from a crucial legal hearing on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union after it emerged his wife had posted a series of anti-Brexit tweets.
Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, the president of the Supreme Court, was accused by pro-Brexit Conservative MPs of being compromised by his wife’s views.
This case is about a point of law and Lady Neuberger’s views are nothing to do with it.Supreme Court source
The Supreme Court’s code of conduct warns justices to be aware “that political activity” of a close relative could raise concerns over impartiality although a senior source said the judge was “absolutely confident” there had been no breach in this case.
The source added: “This case is about a point of law and Lady Neuberger’s views are nothing to do with it.”
'Mad and bad': Lady Neuberger denounced the EU referendum 
The government has become embroiled in a row with the judiciary after High Court judges ruled that there should be a parliamentary voter before Article 50 is triggered.
Tory MPs, including Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, criticised the judges. Mr Javid said the ruling was an attempt to "block the will of the people". 
Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary, then spoke out attacking the judges' critics after a statement by the Bar Council, which represents 15,000 barristers, urged her to condemn "serious and unjustified attacks on the judiciary".
In a series of tweets, Lady Neuberger, under her maiden name Angela Holdsworth, denounced the referendum as “mad and bad” and dismissed Ukip and Brexit as “just a protest vote”.
Lord Neuberger will preside at the beginning of next month over a four-day judicial hearing that will decide whether the Government can trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, giving notice to leave the European Union without a vote in parliament.
In June, Lady Neuberger, 69, appeared to pre-empt the issue her husband, along with 10 colleagues, must now decide, by retweeting a Remain campaign group’s message: “It seems unlikely that a PM could trigger Article 50 without Parliament’s approval.”
Her public pro-Remain stance prompted criticism from Conservative MPs, who in so doing will reignite a row over the right of politicians to attack the judiciary.
Andrew Bridgen, Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire, said: “I think he [Lord Neuberger] should stand down. This is a crucially important judicial decision for our country and it must be seen to be taken impartially.”
Andrew Rosindell, the Tory MP for Romford, said: “This is embarrassing for the Supreme Court given the seriousness of the upcoming Court case.
“His wife’s views are injudicious and clearly his position is compromised.”
The Supreme Court’s judicial code of conduct states: “They [the justices] will bear in mind that political activity by a close member of a Justice’s family might raise concern in a particular case about the judge’s own impartiality and detachment from the political process.”
The Supreme Court source said Lady Neuberger’s comments could not be construed as ‘political activity’ under the meaning of the code while the legal action did not challenge the referendum result. “This case is about a point of law and Lady Neuberger’s views are nothing to do with it,” said the source.
A Supreme Court spokesman said: “Justices’ spouses are fully entitled to express personal opinions, including on issues of the day. Lady Neuberger’s passing comments on Twitter have absolutely no bearing on Lord Neuberger’s ability to determine the legal questions in this case impartially, according to the law of the land.”
Lady Neuberger, a former BBC producer, is a prolific user of Twitter, having posted more than 3,920 tweets since joining the social networking site in 2013. She has 664 followers.
On May 17, a month before the referendum, Lady Neuberger wrote: “Ukip just a protest vote as, I fear, is Brexit for many.”
A week before the vote, in response to a posting by Robert Harris, the novelist, who bemoaned the referendum as “depressing, divisive and duplicitous”, she tweeted: “I agree. Referenda mad and bad.”

On June 18, she criticised the BBC over its rules on impartiality. “Need for balance can give weight & credibility to the unreliable,” she wrote and then three days after the poll vote, she complained that “too many” voters had been “misled into thinking various grievances would be resolved by leaving. They won’t be.”

As recently as September 6, she posted a link to a pro-Remain newspaper article that questioned the future of a new research institution in the wake of Brexit, declaring: “What a tragedy if this far-sighted project fell victim to Brexit.”
And last month, she expressed fears the “brain drain has begun” as a consequence of the vote to leave.
She has also launched attacks on Theresa May, branding her ‘wrong’ and on November 1, accused the prime minister of jeopardising higher education “by our new nasty reputation & obstinacy of PM in insisting temporary foreign students treated as immigrants”.
In October she retweeted this message: “So many lies, so much ignorance. It’s the poorest will suffer most from Brexit.”
Anti-Brexit campaigners won a High Court battle earlier this month that forces parliament to first vote on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union before Article 50 can be triggered by Mrs May.
<img src="/content/dam/news/2016/04/21/EPT69B-small.jpg" alt="The Supreme Court" width="320" height="320" class="responsive-image--fallback"/>
The Supreme Court Credit: Jeffrey Blackler /Alamy Stock Photo
The Government has appealed that decision and the Supreme Court will begin hearing the case on December 5. Mrs May had intended to invoke Article 50 by March but defeat in the Supreme Court could delay that and might prompt her to call a snap general election.
The Supreme Court ruling is probably the most significant and controversial its judges have had to make since its inception in 2009 and the views of Lady Neuberger will add to the scrutiny ahead of the vote.
Sir Gerald Howarth, Conservative MP for Aldershot and a former minister, said: “I think those who sit in lofty judgement above us need to be exceedingly careful, because if they are to maintain the confidence of the public their impartiality must be unquestioned otherwise they risk damaging the Supreme Court.
“Any perception that they are influenced by others will also be damaging.”

Concern over Lady Neuberger’s outspoken opinions on Brexit and the current Government drew parallels with the case of Lord Hoffmann, then a law lord, who ruled that Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean dictator, should be extradited for crimes against humanity. But the judgment was set aside after it emerged that Lord Hoffmann’s wife had worked for 20 years at Amnesty International, the human rights charity which was a party in the case, and that he was involved in a charitable company linked to Amnesty.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the MP for North East Somerset, said: “This raises the same question as it did with Lord Hoffmann and the President of the Supreme Court will have to think carefully about this matter. 
“It is important that what the law lords said in regard to Lord Hoffmann was not that they thought there was any suspicion of bias, but that his links raised the question of bias.”    
How Nicola Sturgeon could shake up 'cosy consensus' and use Article 50 to wrest back control of Scotland's future
Jolyon Maugham

19 November 2016 • 10:47am15 Comments

 Nicola Sturgeon could take Article 50 case to European court Credit: Reuters
In just over a fortnight the Supreme Court will hear the most important legal case our generation will ever know. The Scottish Government will be there, represented by the Lord Advocate, Sir James Wolffe. But what will he say?
The question at the heart of the case is whether Theresa May can remove rights granted by Parliament without first obtaining Parliament’s permission. That – or so the argument runs – is the effect of triggering Article 50, the mechanism by which we start divorce negotiations with our EU partners. Once the Article 50 process is started, rights will be lost without Parliament’s consent. Rights that cannot be wrenched back.
Although the legal argument is couched in terms of individual rights, it has particular resonances for Scotland – and Wales too which also plans to intervene. It may well be wrong to, as the First Minister put it, “bypass the Scottish parliament and take steps that will involve fundamental changes to the devolution settlement with no proper scrutiny here in Scotland.” But that is precisely what Theresa May intends to do.
Unless. You see, there is one wrinkle in the argument.
When the case came before the High Court in London, it suited everyone to pretend that triggering Article 50 would have the inevitable consequence that we leave the EU. That the bullet, once fired, could not be called back to the chamber. It suited the Pursuers, because it made their legal arguments easier. And it suited the Westminster Government because it removed any legal impediment to them pursuing exactly whatever course they chose to.
The Pursuers pretended. The Westminster Government pretended. There was a cosy consensus. But should the Scottish Government pretend?
We don’t know if an Article 50 notification can be withdraw. What we do know is that a lot of very well placed people believe so. Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, who drafted it, thinks so. So does Donald Tusk, the President of the EU Council. And so does Sir David Edward, former judge of the Court of Justice of the EU. But the only view that matters is that of the Court of Justice itself.
Nicola Sturgeon can explode that cosy consensus. She could instruct the Lord Advocate to seek a reference to the Luxembourg court so that it can answer the question. And she should.
A decision that a notification can be revoked enables Scotland to wrest back control of its future.
If triggering Article 50 doesn’t commit us to leaving the EU, the SNP can hold out a realistic threat, alongside the other opposition parties, of voting down any deal negotiated by Theresa May that ignores Scotland’s interests. Voting down the deal – and here’s the important bit – would mean withdrawing the Article 50 notification and Remaining. ‘Deliver for Scotland what is right,’ Nicola Sturgeon could say, ‘or our MPs will vote against Leaving.”
Will Boris Johnson's 'sunlit uplands' appear? Credit: Rex
And although that vote would almost certainly fall in the House of Commons today, who knows how Brexit will look in two years’ time? It is possible that the “sunlit uplands” promised by Boris Johnson will hove into view – but it may also be that they dissolve to mere mirage.
If in two years’ time the evidence shows that prosperity has deserted the United Kingdom in anticipation of a Hard Brexit, MPs will vote against Brexit. They will vote to Remain because that is what their constituents will demand. And the Brexiteers fear that.
A decision by the Court of Justice that Article 50 can be revoked leaves the door ajar to the whole United Kingdom remaining. But it also gives Nicola Sturgeon a real bargaining chip in her negotiations with Westminster. Deliver what is right for Scotland, protect our interests, or we will vote to keep the whole United Kingdom in the EU.
Nicola Sturgeon has accused Theresa May’s Government of “disrespecting the whole devolution settlement” by taking “a decision of this magnitude and with this degree of impact on our devolved responsibilities… without the Scottish parliament being consulted.” And she is right to demand proper respect for the will of the Scottish people.
And this is how she gets it.
Jolyon Maugham is a barrister in London's Devereux Chambers who initiated the crowd-funded People's Challenge group which launched a legal challenge to Brexit alongside investment manager Gina Miller and hairdresser Deir Dos Santos

Nicola Sturgeon could halt Brexit through ruling in European court, claims barrister behind High Court case Nicola Sturgeon 'right' to say Scotland's voice cannot be ignored Credit: Getty

Simon Johnson
Auslan Cramb
18 November 2016 • 10:01pm
Nicola Sturgeon could lay the groundwork for blocking Brexit by seeking a legal ruling from Europe that the triggering of Article 50 can be reversed, according to a QC who helped frustrate Theresa May’s plan to bypass a vote in parliament. 
Jolyon Maugham argues that the First Minister could “explode the cosy consensus” that the two-year process for leaving the European Union cannot be undone once it has started by seeking a reference to the Court of Justice of the EU.
He told the Daily Telegraph that such a ruling would enable MPs to withdraw the Article 50 notification at a later date if they did not like the shape of the Brexit deal that emerges.
Mr Maugham claims that if Ms Sturgeon won a case in the ECJ, it would leave the “door ajar” for the entire UK remaining in the EU and give her a “real bargaining chip in her negotiations with Westminster.”
He also argues that the First Minister is right to demand Westminster respects the will of the Scottish people, 62 per cent of whom voted Remain, and concludes: “This is how she gets it.”
His intervention came as the Supreme Court confirmed the Scottish and Welsh governments would be allowed to intervene in the ongoing court battle over how the Brexit process should be triggered.
Michael Russell welcomes ruling on Scottish Government involvement in Supreme Court case Credit: Reuters
Mr Maugham initiated the crowd-funded People’s Challenge group, which launched a legal challenge to Brexit alongside investment manager Gina Miller and hairdresser Deir Dos Santos.
Earlier this month they won a controversial case that saw three High Court judges rule that the Prime Minister does not have the power to trigger Article 50, which starts a two-year negotiation process, without the prior authority of parliament.
The UK Government immediately announced plans to appeal against the judgement, taking the case to the Supreme Court.
Michael Russell, Scotland’s Brexit minister, yesterday welcomed the decision to allow the devolved administrations to take part, saying: “We recognise the decision of people in England and Wales to support Brexit, but the views of people in Scotland cannot simply be brushed aside.
Jolyon Maugham says it's possible Article 50 could be reversed
“The Lord Advocate will be making the case on behalf of the Scottish Government and he will set out his arguments to the court.”
The Lord Advocate James Wolffe is expected to argue that Article 50 cannot be triggered without a legislative consent motion (LCM) from Holyrood.
This would allow MSPs to block Brexit, with a majority of members in the Scottish Parliament chamber vigorously opposed to leaving the EU.
However, academic experts have previously said the UK Government is not legally bound to seek LCMs from the three devolved administrations and Mr Maugham argues there is another, more significant “wrinkle” in the Prime Minister’s case.
He writes that before the High Court case it suited everyone to “pretend” that triggering Article 50 would inevitably lead to Britain leaving the EU.
He adds: “We don’t know if an Article 50 notification can be withdraw. What we do know is that a lot of very well placed people believe so. Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, who drafted it, thinks so. So does Donald Tusk, the President of the EU Council. And so does Sir David Edward, former judge of the Court of Justice of the EU.”
He suggests Ms Sturgeon could instruct the Lord Advocate to seek a reference to the Luxembourg court so that it can answer the question, adding: “A decision that a notification can be revoked enables Scotland to wrest back control of its future.
“If triggering Article 50 doesn’t commit us to leaving the EU, the SNP can hold out a realistic threat, alongside the other opposition parties, of voting down any deal negotiated by Theresa May that ignores Scotland’s interests.
“Voting down the deal – and here’s the important bit – would mean withdrawing the Article 50 notification and Remaining.
“And although that vote would almost certainly fall in the House of Commons today, who knows how Brexit will look in two years’ time? It is possible that the “sunlit uplands” promised by Boris Johnson will hove into view – but it may also be that they dissolve to mere mirage.”
Phase out UK carbon tax to avoid importing dirty power from Europe, says think-tank1 Comment
 The carbon tax should be retained only until coal plants have been shut down, Policy Exchange says Credit: AFP
Emily Gosden, Energy Editor
18 November 2016 • 12:01am
Britain will end up importing electricity from polluting power plants in Europe instead of generating it from cleaner and newer plants at home unless it phases out its carbon tax, Policy Exchange has warned.
In a report, the influential think-tank urged the Chancellor to resist calls from manufacturers who want the levy scrapped now and instead keep it until the early 2020s, to ensure that it leads to the closure of the UK’s dirty old coal-fired power plants in favour of new gas plants.
But once the coal plants have shut, by the mid-2020s, Policy Exchange argues the tax will serve little purpose and would simply encourage Britain to import more power from dirtier plants in Europe where carbon taxes are lower.
This could actually increase overall European emissions, while also pushing up UK electricity bills, it warned.
The carbon tax was introduced in 2013 to “top up” European carbon prices and encouraging investment in low-carbon power generation, with the combined level supposed to rise every year to 2030.
The carbon tax was introduced to encourage investment in low-carbon power generation Credit: Bloomberg
However it has been frozen at 2015-16 levels until 2020-21 after lower-than-expected European carbon prices led to concerns it was putting UK industry at a disadvantage.
The Chancellor is expected to set out the fate of the tax in the Autumn Statement. 
Most major energy suppliers are lobbying for the tax to be maintained because it effectively pushes up UK power prices, helping boost the revenues of existing low-carbon plants as well as switching power plant economics in favour of gas instead of dirtier coal.
But critics say it should be scrapped because of its cost to industry and to households, for whom it adds an estimated £36 a year to energy bills. 
Richard Howard, head of energy and environment at Policy Exchange, said the Government should retain the tax "until the early 2020s, to support the Government’s plan to phase out coal generation".
Scrapping it now would "damage policy credibility and undermine the Government’s decarbonisation plans", he said.
However, once coal plants have closed the rationale for keeping it became "considerably weaker", since the tax is not supporting new low-carbon investment, which is reliant on separate subsidy schemes. 
Keeping the tax would mean "European coal and gas generators would continue to have a significant cost advantage over generators in the UK, as they would continue to face lower carbon prices". The UK would therefore import more cheap power on interconnectors, becoming "far more reliant on European power producers".
By contrast, scrapping the tax would see generation "shifted from Europe to the UK", boosting the UK economy.
It would also reduce overall European emissions, since it would result in "new highly-efficient gas power stations in Britain displacing older gas and coal power stations in the rest of Europe", he said.

Telegraph Gavin Patterson: 'The uncertainty is not good for BT. It’s not really good for the country as a whole'
 Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT Credit: Bloomberg Finance

James Quinn
19 November 2016 • 8:00pm
Gavin Patterson rarely breaks into a sweat. As he turns away from the standing-height desk in his wood-panelled and glass-lined office on the ninth floor of BT’s sprawling headquarters on the edge of the City, he looks, as ever, relaxed.
The two-part desk is covered in papers and documents, with pictures of his wife and family at one end. But it is on a powder-blue, three-piece leather sofa, angled in front of a giant television screen, in a corner of his inner sanctum, where he feels most at home. 
Tieless, as usual, with just two shirt buttons undone rather than his once trademark three, Patterson could be forgiven for not being so laid back.
In the past 12 months, the BT Group chief executive has come under fire from all corners of the business firmament for the telecoms giant’s ownership of its Openreach network business. 
In January, a group of 121 MPs put their name to a report entitled “Broadbad”, which alleged some 5.7m Britons could not access the internet. The report was so damning that it sparked this newspaper to launch its “Better Broadband” campaign to lobby for better coverage in rural areas, a campaign which was backed by hundreds of local councils.
At the same time, BT’s rivals have made a concerted effort to highlight what they perceive to be Openreach’s weaknesses, criticising service times and delivery of broadband in difficult-to-reach locations.
All this has happened as Ofcom, the communications regulator, has been undertaking its decennial review into the communications realm, front and centre of which was the ownership of Openreach and whether or not it should remain part of BT. 
At the end of what he admits has been a “turbulent and dynamic” year, Patterson still doesn’t know what the final outcome will be. BT has suggested ring-fencing the business, creating a separate board with an independent chairman, and a series of new processes around budgets and how they are set and allocated. The idea is to put Openreach at arm’s length, and to ensure that it services rivals, such as Sky and TalkTalk, just as much as it does BT. 
Ofcom’s Sharon White, Patterson’s nemesis in the negotiations, has to date stopped short of calling for full separation, but she wants BT to go further, by forcing Openreach’s boss to report to BT’s board, not to Patterson, and to transfer tens of thousands of employees, along with assets and pension risk, to the new entity. 
If the two sides cannot reach a deal, White could take BT to Brussels, and leave it to European regulators to force a new structure on the company. 
Gavin Patterson, chief executive officer of BT Group Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg 
For Patterson, a drawn-out legal spat would not be a good outcome. “I think it would be very disappointing for everybody… I’m determined to do everything I can to avoid that. 
“However, there are red lines that we can’t go beyond.” Although he doesn’t detail them, he is pointing to the issue of reporting lines and the transfer of staff and assets. 
“The case in Europe is a difficult one to make, we think, and it is a point of escalation. I really hope it doesn’t come to that, because it will mean we get caught up in legal battles and that will divert everyone’s attention from getting on with improving service, investing in the future, and improving speeds.”
Negotiations are understood to have been ongoing as recently as last week, and there are some in the process who hope it might be resolved in time for the Autumn Statement on Wednesday. 
At a time when the economy needs everything behind it, to ensure that we’re able to ride out the uncertainty that exists in the Brexit world, we’re sitting here ready to invest £6bn over the next three years and it’s better that we get on and do that.Gavin Patterson
But if that is the case, Patterson is either a very good bluffer, or he truly doesn’t know. “It’s not really within my control. I’d be very cautious in suggesting I set the process.”
He may not be in charge of the timetable, but his argument as to why an agreement should be made sooner rather than later is well constructed, and designed to pull on the heartstrings of a Government whose overriding desire is to make the most of the Brexit vote. 
“At a time when the economy needs everything behind it, to ensure that we’re able to ride out the uncertainty that exists in the Brexit world, we’re sitting here ready to invest £6bn over the next three years and it’s better that we get on and do that.
“There aren’t many companies that are prepared to bet on the UK to that extent,” says Patterson, keenly aware of the power of his pitch. 
“The uncertainty is not good for BT. It’s not really good for the country as a whole. And the investment… investors really do need this certainty to be able to make some of these investments and we need to keep that in mind.”
Central to the negotiations is BT’s pension fund and its £9.9bn deficit, which Patterson admits is a “big issue”.
“Low bond yields mean that the pension deficit is going up naturally, but in a way that’s still manageable.”
Of more concern, he says, is the threat to the pension fund if Openreach is fully hived off. The fund is protected by a Crown Guarantee, stemming from BT’s 1983 privatisation, which protects pensioners in the event of the company going bust. 
Patterson insists it is an arrangement that needs to be maintained. “That again is something the Government can work through and help us with, but we do need to recognise that it is an issue.”
Couldn’t the Crown Guarantee simply be replicated for a separate Openreach? “The Government can do that by primary legislation… but in terms of structuring something that had the ultimate guarantee behind, that would be extraordinarily expensive.”
Even if he is successful, doesn’t he feel that, given the drubbing Openreach has taken, that it will be time for a rebrand? H

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