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Brexit Bunglers Blame Everyone But Themselves For Their Mess

08/11/2016 12:12

There is a desperation from the government and vocal Eurosceptics to rush the process to leave the EU. It is as though they think the public has been duped and they want to push things along before more people are fully alert to the dangers of hard Brexit.

This haste is incredibly irresponsible. The future of the United Kingdom and our relationship with the rest of the world is dependent on good, clear-headed decisions. We are not choosing a new jumper that we can just take back to the shop if we change our minds.

The High Court ruled last week that Theresa May does not have the power to trigger Article 50 alone and it needs to go through a Parliamentary vote. It is quite astonishing that the government defended the case, as it should be obvious to even May that she is not the Queen of Sheba. She is, at best, the Queen of Omnishambles.

It is even more astonishing and outrageous that the government is wasting public money appealing a very clear decision by the High Court, as taking this power from Parliament undermines a key principle of our democracy.

There is so much the government SHOULD be doing at the moment, like fixing the broken and dangerous prison system and ensuring the NHS has the resources it needs to keep citizens alive as we go into the precarious winter months. Trying to smother fundamental legal principles is not a good look for Theresa May, who already has a conviction for contempt of court.

In a Commons debate on Monday, David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, was still recoiling from the High Court's ruling, and showed all the grace of a stroppy teenager made to clean his bedroom. Unfortunately for him, the mess the Tories have made of Brexit already is as daunting as a billion boys' bedrooms brimming with smelly socks.

He told the Commons: "The only means of leaving is through the procedures set out in Article 50, and triggering Article 50 is properly a matter for the government using its prerogative powers. As a result, we will appeal the High Court's judgement at the Supreme Court."

He added: "The core of our argument will remain that we believe it is proper and lawful for the government to trigger Article 50 by the use of prerogative powers."

The royal prerogative Davis refers to dates from the 13th century, when monarchs were all-powerful. A prime minister using this to shape how the UK functions in the third millennium would make our democracy a laughing stock of the world. It would also jeopardise Brexit as could subsequently be deemed illegal and void.

Responding to Davis, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Keir Starmer said: "The High Court ruled that the prime minister is acting unlawfully in seeking to use prerogative powers to invoke Article 50. The court had to remind her that only Parliament can make and repeal laws.

"The government has approached its task in the wrong way, and its approach is now unravelling. I'm afraid to say it is unravelling in the most divisive and ugly way. In the aftermath of the High Court judgement we saw a series of appalling personal attacks on the judges, including the suggestion that they were enemies of the people."

Alluding to the need for MPs and the wider public to know the government's general aspirations for a Brexit deal, the former Director of Public Prosecutions Mr Starmer also said: "The future relationship of the UK with our EU partners is at stake. The future relationship of the UK with the world is at stake. The prime minister simply cannot keep all of this to herself. The government needs to act in the national interest, to build a consensus."

Absent from the Commons debate but interviewed in India, Theresa May did not rule out calling an early general election to allow her to push through Article 50. However, the reality is, if this were to happen each party's manifesto would have to outline what THEY would seek in Brexit negotiations. This would be at odds with the current line of the government, that it is critical to keep its cards close to its chest.

Brexiteers are accusing Labour of trying to scupper Brexit, but there is no evidence of that. Labour has clearly said it would not vote against Article 50. The only party that appears to be scuppering Brexit is the Tory Party. David Cameron fled from leadership before triggering Article 50, Leave campaigners within the party had no Brexit plan, Boris Johnson refused the poisoned chalice of leading the party through Brexit by exiting the leadership race, and May has made a mess of things by trying to limit Parliamentary involvement. By pursuing the appeal to the Supreme Court she is merely prolonging the shambles.

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