Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Supreme Court Decides.

Done a fair bit of work for Welsh media today following the judgement by the Supreme Court that the prerogative power on its own is insufficient to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and that legislation is required to give the necessary authority for this step to be taken. Must admit I am totally relaxed about this, personally. I did think there was a case for accepting the earlier High Court judgement, not bothering the Supreme Court. In the event, a 8-3 split in the judges opinion suggest it was reasonable of the Govt to proceed with its Supreme Court appeal. Obviously a finely judged opinion.

The Gov't will fully respect the Supreme Court judgement (if is Britain after all ) and a bill will be introduced (maybe this week) to legislate to allow the Gov't to invoke Article 50 before end of March. The judgement was 96 pages long and will need careful assessment before any bill can be introduced. Should make crystal clear that this bill will not be about the principle of the UK leaving the EU. That decision was taken by the British people on June 23rd.

From my Welsh perspective the Supreme Court's ruling that relations with the EU and other foreign affairs matters are reserved to the UK Gov't and Parliament, and not to devolved institutions is also very significant. The judgement was clear that the devolved parliaments do not have a veto on the UKs decision to withdraw from the EU. I agree absolutely with that and expected it.

I'm looking forward to seeing the bill. The aim will be to keep it simple to limit scope for mischievous amendments. Bt there will surely be amendments tabled by those who do not accept the 23rd June decision. The SNP are telling us they intend to table 50 amendments - to a bill they have not yet seen!!  Publicity gimmick that deserves nil publicity. My guess there will be less than a handful of amendments.

Back to my Welsh hat. I expect and very much hope that the UK Gov't will work closely and consrtuctively with the devolved Governments, but there can be no veto. The people decided that the UK should leave the EU, and that is what is going to happen. Today's Supreme Court judgement makes no difference to that at all.

No comments: