To all thinking MPs – there is a way out of this mess

The government are trying to railroad Parliament with a quicky “Notification of Withdrawal” bill. MP’s need to force Theresa May into giving the people a Ratification Referendum. 

They can do this as the “price” for agreeing to trigger Article 50 and would clearly be DEMOCRACY IN ACTION.

Now that the Supreme Court, as anticipated, has confirmed that parliament must sanction the triggering of Article 50 Theresa May has quickly presented a “Notification of Withdrawal” Bill to allow Article 50 to be triggered. A simple Yes/No question forcing MPs into a corner — it would be a brave MP that voted NO (there are a few and they are brave).

The Government are now saying that MPs will get a vote on the deal but their plan is for MPs to have a choice between the deal as negotiated or leaving the EU without a deal — really no choice at all.

Rather than trying to vote the Notification of Withdrawal Bill down MPs should instead extract a price for voting Yes and the price should be a new referendum to ratify the exit terms. Have the Bill amended to include this ratification step at the end of negotiations.

If a ratification referendum becomes part of UK law it will be very difficult for the EU to argue against the UK’s right to this option. This is explained in the blog: “UK don’t trigger Article 50 without ability to stop the process”.

Jolyon Maugham is currently seeking confirmation from the European Court of Justice that the UK can indeed unilaterally stop the withdrawal process triggered by the Article 50 (2) notification.

A number of eminent individuals are of the opinion that the process can be stopped. Jean-Claude Piris, a former director-general of the Council of the European Union’s Legal Service, maintains that Article 50 is not for ever and the UK could change its mind” (FT 01/09/2016).

The steps would be:

a50-plan-3

If positioned correctly a referendum at the end of the process would give legitimacy to the deal if MrsMay really can get “all of our favorite things” in a new deal but, and this is key, would also allow the UK to stop the Article 50 exit process and stay in the UK if the deal is not acceptable.

It is time for our MPs to step up and fight for our country.

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To all thinking MPs – there is a way out of this mess

 

MP’s need to force Theresa May into giving the people a Ratification Referendum. This would clearly be DEMOCRACY IN ACTION.

They can do this as the “price” for agreeing to trigger Article 50.

Now that the Supreme Court, as anticipated, has confirmed that parliament must sanction the triggering of Article 50 I expect Theresa May has quickly presented a “Notification of Withdrawal” Bill to allow Article 50 to be triggered. A simple Yes/No question forcing MPs into a corner — it would be a brave MP that voted NO (there are a few and they are brave).

The Government are now saying that MPs will get a vote on the deal but their plan is for MPs to have a choice between the deal as negotiated or leaving the EU without a deal — really no choice at all.

 

Rather than trying to vote the NoW bill down MPs should instead extract a price for voting Yes and the price should be a new referendum to ratify the exit terms. Have the Bill amended to include this ratification step at the end of negotiations.

If a ratification referendum becomes part of UK law it will be very difficult for the EU to argue against the UK’s right to this option. This is explained in the blog: “UK don’t trigger Article 50 without ability to stop the process”.

Jolyon Maugham is currently seeking confirmation from the European Court of Justice that the UK can indeed unilaterally stop the withdrawal process triggered by the Article 50 (2) notification.

A number of eminent individuals are of the opinion that the process can be stopped. Jean-Claude Piris, a former director-general of the Council of the European Union’s Legal Service, maintains that Article 50 is not for ever and the UK could change its mind” (FT 01/09/2016).

The steps would be:

a50-plan-3

If positioned correctly a referendum at the end of the process would give legitimacy to the deal if MrsMay really can get “all of our favorite things” in a new deal but, and this is key, would also allow the UK to stop the Article 50 exit process and stay in the UK if the deal is not acceptable.

It is time for our MPs to step up and fight for our country.

MP’s need to force Theresa May into giving the people a Ratification Referendum

They can do this as the “price” for agreeing to trigger Article 50. This would clearly be DEMOCRACY IN ACTION.

Once the Supreme Court, as anticipated, confirm that parliament must sanction the triggering of Article 50 I expect Theresa May to quickly present a Bill to allow Article 50 to be triggered. If I am right it will be a simple Yes/No question forcing MPs into a corner — it would be a brave MP that voted NO (there are a few and they are brave).

The Government are now saying that MPs will get a vote on the deal but their plan is for MPs to have a choice between the deal as negotiated or leaving the EU without a deal — really no choice at all.

Obviously Mrs May has to appear to accept the “nuclear option” of leaving without a deal — but her clever ruse is unlikely to fool any of the EU negotiating team. We will end the process with a poor deal and everyone knows it.

The Brexit extremists want to leave at any cost and it is up to those opposing such a catastrophe to ensure that the UK has a way back from disaster.

I suggest that instead of trying to vote the A50 bill down MPs should instead extract a price for voting Yes and the price should be a new referendum to ratify the exit terms. Have the Bill amended to include this ratification step at the end of negotiations.

If a ratification referendum becomes part of UK law it will be very difficult for the EU to argue against the UK’s right to this option. This is explained in the blog: “UK don’t trigger Article 50 without ability to stop the process”.

Jolyon Maugham is currently seeking confirmation from the European Court of Justice that the UK can indeed unilaterally stop the withdrawal process triggered by the Article 50 (2) notification.

A number of eminent individuals are of the opinion that the process can be stopped. Jean-Claude Piris, a former director-general of the Council of the European Union’s Legal Service, maintains that Article 50 is not for ever and the UK could change its mind” (FT 01/09/2016).

The steps would be:

If positioned correctly a referendum at the end of the process would give legitimacy to the deal if MrsMay really can get “all of our favorite things” in a new deal but, and this is key, would also allow the UK to stop the Article 50 exit process and stay in the UK if the deal is not acceptable.

It is time for our MPs to step up and fight for our country.

Who is stoking the racists fires?

What has Theresa May got against EU migrants? Why is she peddling lies about the impact of migration? A look at post-truth politics Theresa May style.

Theresa May has a history of blaming migrants and immigration for the UK’s economic decline.  Rather than explaining the truth i.e that EU migration has had a hugely positive impact allowing the UK to expand it’s workforce by 2.1m without displacing the jobs of UK natives*, without affecting wage levels, helping to keep inflation in check** and contributing a net £12.2 b to the HMRC a year Ms May seems hellbent on “blaming the immigrants”.

I think we are now seeing Ms Mays true colours and in her now infamous “If you are a Citizen of the World you are a Citizen of Nowhere” speech she once again blamed immigration for taking jobs:

or – and I know a lot of people don’t like to admit this – someone who finds themselves out of work or on lower wages because of low-skilled immigration, life simply doesn’t seem fair.

Theresa May 5/10/16 Conservative Party Conference

and Theresa May has made stopping EU FoM a red-line in the upcoming negotiations with the EU even , it would appear, at the the cost of loosing our membership of the Single Market.

There is plainly a large proportion of the electorate against immigration in general and against the Free Movement of workers into the UK in particular.  However as @Tony_nog explains in his excellent blog When is a Majority not a Majority?  Brexit and Korean Restaurants  there is no way that anyone can suggest that there is a majority in favour of stopping FoM at the expense of loosing our trading position with the EU – and it has been made very clear to all that the UK cannot have both.

So why has Theresa May taken this somewhat extreme position?

If one looks at her behavior over the past few years,  it does begin to show a pattern.

2013

Claiming EU Migrants are “benefits tourists”

In April of this year Theresa May, when Home Secretary,  claimed that these EU migrants are “benefit tourists”.  When pressed by the EU for evidence of this claim it came to light that in fact there was  no evidence to back these claims as the British government keeps no figures on how many European Union nationals claim welfare payments in the UK.

2014

Suppressing good news on immigration

It is now being reported that Theresa May tried very hard to suppress any positive findings in a 2014 report on EU migration. Theresa May faces accusations from within government that she tried to remove evidence about the positive impact of immigration on the British economy from a critical report that was published before the EU referendum.

2015

Blaming immigration for pushing thousands out of work

Again whilst Home Secretary, at the Autumn Tory party conference, Theresa May claimed that immigration is pushing thousands out of work, undercutting wages and bringing no economic benefit to the UK.

These are just not the facts, as any number of studies show.  These claims are debunked in the blog Freedom of Movement isn’t the problem

2016

Failing to support David Cameron in EU negotiations on Freedom of Movement of Workers

A new book, All Out War: The Full Story of How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class, by Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman, claims May refused to support Cameron’s hardline approach to negotiations with EU leaders and rejected his plans to ask for an “emergency brake” on immigration – a stance Cameron described as “lily-livered”.

Cameron’s director of communications, Sir Craig Oliver, says in his exposé of Downing Street that the former prime minister’s advisers used the nickname “Submarine May” because she never came to the surface to support his efforts. In his book, Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story of the EU Referendum, published in the Mail on Sunday, Cameron’s chief spin doctor says the prime minister pleaded with May to “come off the fence” about Brexit.

Foreign students overstated by tens of thousands 

The Times revealed this week 13/10/2016 that Ministers hide report on migrant numbers . The Home Office, after years of claiming that “tens of thousands a year” of foreign students fail to leave at the end of their course.  This has led to calls, from Mrs #nomandateMay in particular, for a crackdown on this abuse of the system. In fact only 1 per cent of international students break the terms of their visa by refusing to leave after their course ends, a secret government study has found – around 1,500 per year.  A problem perhaps but hardly the issue to headline with at party conferences etc.

The research threatens to undermine Theresa May’s case for a crackdown on foreign student recruitment and calls into question past estimates that put the figure far higher. Official statistics have been used to suggest that tens of thousands of foreign students “vanish” each year after finishing their degrees, but the latest study would suggest that the true figure is 1,500.

The Home Office, which commissioned the analysis, disputed that it was conclusive and said that the work was “not completed”. It has refused to share the study with other Whitehall ministries and rebuffed requests from The Timesto release it, including under the Freedom of Information Act.

Ministers hide report on migrant numbers 13th Oct 2016

Keeping immigration numbers high

Rudd failed in bid to exempt students from migrant curbs. Students are included in the Migration numbers which has the effect of overstating the immigration problem.  It has been revealed that Amber Rudd, the current Home Secretary tried to have students removed from net migration figures, enabling them to avoid the crackdown on migrants, but was over-ruled by Mrs #nomandateMay.  Someone wants immigration to continue to be the big issue.

The prime minister has taken a hard line against the home secretary and university lobbyists

Amber Rudd made a failed attempt to persuade Theresa May to remove students from the Conservatives’ pledge to reduce annual net migration below the tens of thousands, say allies.

The home secretary is understood to have raised the possibility in initial talks with the prime minister about her brief during the summer. Mrs May rejected the plea, demanding a fresh crackdown as part of a wider drive to reduce non-EU migration.

Ms Rudd duly announced a consultation on further restrictions in her speech to the Tory party conference flagging “tougher rules for lower-quality courses”. As well as tighter rules restricting what work students’ family members are permitted to do, the consultation is understood to be targeting institutions.

Options include the introduction of minimum course fees for international students and a levy on these fees to subsidise bursaries for British students, according to Home Office sources. More radical ideas include setting limits on how many international students are permitted to attend a college or university according to their success in ensuring graduates return home and do not overstay.

As home secretary Mrs May was repeatedly thwarted in her attempts to restrict numbers of foreigners travelling to Britain to study

Rudd failed in bid to exempt students from migrant curbs 13th Oct 2016

How fanciful would it be to suggest that the June plebiscite is being hijacked to satisfy a personal vendetta?

 

Myths debunked in this link

fom-myths

Other sources

* “Despite anecdotal evidence, we found little hard evidence that the inflow of accession migrants contributed to a fall in wages or a rise in claimant unemployment in the UK between 2004 and 2006.”
http://ftp.iza.org/dp3756.pdf
** Immigration
Annual net migration from Europe has more than doubled since 2012, reaching 183,000 in March 2015. Immigration from the European Union is currently boosting the workforce by around 0.5% a year. This has helped support the economy’s ability to grow without pushing up wage growth and inflation, keeping interest rates lower for longer.
https://woodfordfunds.com/economic-impact-brexit-report/

Arranging a Soft Landing for the UK from the EU exit negotiations

An approach to EU Exit negotiations where everyone (Leavers, Remainers, HMG and Parliament) all get a say and can stay on board with the process.

The courts have decided that parliament must sanction the triggering of Article 50.  This may be challenged by HMG in the Supreme court but it would seem much more sensible for the Government to agree to an approach to the negotiations that avoids the need for further legal challenges.

The recommendation, as supported by the House of Lords Select Committee for the Constitutionis to enshrine a democratic withdrawal process into law creating, say, the A50 Bill.

EU exit negotiation steps

The steps would, in summary, be:

  1. Act of parliament  (the A50 Bill)
    •  setting out the exit process i.e. steps 2-4
    • importantly making the exit conditional on UK ratification of the deal
  2. Checkpoint 1
    • before A50 notification — is there really a deal?
    • if not then STOP the exit process at this point
  3. A50 notification followed by Exit negotiations
  4. Checkpoint 2
    •  is the deal acceptable to the UK?
      • if YES the continue to Exit
      • If NOT acceptable to UK (or indeed the EU) then Stop the exit process.

The Leavers get their A50 trigger and Exit negotiations.  The Remainers get a safety-net in that the UK will get the opportunity to ratify the exit deal before the end of negotiations.

If the deal is a good one there will be a majority to Leave, if the deal is poor then the assumption is that it will not get ratified and the UK does not leave the EU.

What would a UK ratification look like?

At the end of the negotiations their would be a democratic decision (either a Parliamentary vote or a 2nd referendum)  to ratify the Exit deal or not.

The UK will decide whether or not to continue with the exit terms negotiated.

If the UK decides that the exit deal if preferable to staying in the EU then the UK ratifies the deal and leaves.

Should the democratic decision of the UK be that the deal on offer is not in the UK’s best interests then the UK would be able to withdraw it’s notification.

To argue against this the Leave camp would have to say that they want to leave even if the deal is poor and even though Parliament (or the electorate) think it is a bad deal.  I suspect only the most extreme of Leavers will still be shouting to Leave at this point.

Is it possible for the UK to withdraw it’s notification?

I still think it is massively important to ensure that the UK has a way of stepping back from the EU exit process, even after the EU has been properly notified of the UK’s intention to leave through Article 50 (2). Obviously this requires that the UK’s A50 notification to leave can be withdrawn.  I think it is, especially if the UK incorporates the ratification step into an Act of Parliament.

Who else thinks that the A50 notification can be withdrawn?

Sir David Edward told the House of Lords in May 2015** “It is absolutely clear that you cannot be forced to go through with it if you do not want to: for example, if there is a change of Government.” and the UK would remain in the EU.

Lord Kerr, the man who wrote Article 50 says we may be able to stop Brexit 

Richard Corbett MEP @rcorbettmep in his excellent and thought provoking blog : Truths and myths about the months to come  says:

  • It is unclear whether the article 50 process can be revoked once it is triggered. The treaty is silent on the question. But the balance of legal opinion is that it can be, provided it is before the two-year deadline. It must also be a genuine request, and not a device to re-set the two-year countdown.
  • Similarly, if an article 50 agreement reached in 2019 sets a date of, say, 2022, for departure, can the UK change its mind between those two dates? There is greater legal uncertainty here, but politically it is likely that a change of mind about leaving would be accepted, whereas change of mind simply on the terms or timetable would not.

Jean-Claude Piris, a former director-general of the Council of the European Union’s Legal Service, is author of ‘If the UK Votes to Leave’ maintains thatArticle 50 is not for ever and the UK could change its mind” (FT 01/09/2016).

He argues that:

  • … the Article 50 procedure provides for notification by the interested state only of its “intention” to leave. Formal notification of that intention would be made to the European Council, comprising the heads of government of the other 27 member states. In law, the word “intention” cannot be interpreted as a final and irreversible decision. Legally, you may withdraw an intention, or change it, or transform it into a decision. …  by: Jean-Claude Piris

Summary

If we have a UK ratification checkpoint enshrined in our A50 Bill it will be very difficult for the EU to argue against the UK’s right to this option. This is explained in the blog: “UK don’t trigger Article 50 without ability to stop the process

It may be necessary for us to get to the brink, look over the edge and only then realise what a stupid idea leaving actually is. With this approach, when the time came, the UK would be able to step back from the brink.

*********************

References

* HoL Select Committee on the Constitution report – The Invoking of Article 50 12th. Sept 2016

** The EU Committee of the House of Lords considered this question in its report on “the process of withdrawing from the European Union” published on 4th May.

Richard Tunnicliffe also discusses this in his blog site in an article Negotiation Brexit — Shades of Article 50 @howshouldwevote.

MPs must unite to stop Theresa “nomandate” May

no-confidence-9

We need a “No Confidence” resolution in Parliament to stop Theresa May railroading the UK into a hard Brexit without a democratic mandate. It is time for the Commons to unite against this horror show and put the UK back on track.

After the CPC16 debacle it is clear that the PM and her Ministers have moved into very scary and shameful territory.  The racist and xenophobic theme of the conference with “If you are Citizens of the World you are Citizens of Nowhere” and the call to “Name and Shame” companies employing too many foreigners this new leadership (?) team have gone too far.

Theresa May made it abundantly clear that the Government will insist that the Freedom of Movement (FoM) of EU Migrants must be stopped as part of any EU exit deal.

The EU have made it crystal clear that the UK will not be allowed to retain membership of the EU Customs Union (Single Market) if they do not maintain the FoM rights for EU Migrants.

These are red-lines for both parties.  If the Government continue with their stated strategy the UK will, in all likelihood, have to lose it’s Single Market membership.

There has never been a “clear vote” or “mandate” for the UK to leave the EU without a sensible, workable deal. It is  very unlikely that there would have been a majority for this option if presented on June 23rd.

More importantly it was not presented or voted upon. It is the Government’s stated intention to proceed with this strategy.

More importantly, there has been no vote that has been taken to establish if such a deal is acceptable and  yet our Government is saying that they will negotiate with these pre-conditions and they do not need to ask the people or parliament before they trigger a process that they will not be able to stop.

Theresa May has no mandate to do this, we have effectively had a takeover by UKIP dressed up as Conservatives. This cannot be allowed to happen.

If the Government could demonstrate that there is a majority in favour of this kind of deal then so be it however they have not and cannot.  June 23rd did no such thing and just saying it did does not help.

Opposition, now is your time.

We now know that the Government plan to trigger Article 50 in March 2017. Before then the Government must be held to account. It is unlikely that any grass-roots movement can mobilize quickly enough to stop the madness that was unleashed in Birmingham this week.

Thus it can only happen if the opposition parties unite in a common cause to save the UK.

Labour, SNP, UUP,  LibDem, Greens, SDLP, Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru and Independents have 317 of the 326 votes required for a majority.

A united opposition must call and carry a No Confidence resolution in HM Government.

317 is not a majority, another 9 votes would be required so the No Confidence motion will need to be worded in such as way that enough (11+) of the sensible Conservatives are compelled by a sense of honour to support the good of the UK rather than the extremist views of their current leadership.

Suggested wording could be:

The House of Commons resolves “That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government ability to negotiate a exit deal with the EU that would be in the best interests of the UK. By making the withdrawal of the rights of EU Migrant workers under the  Freedom of Movement (FoM) Directive a mandatory requirement they have excluded the types of deal that would allow the UK to retain membership of the EU Customs Union (Single Market).  The remaining options were not voted upon in the EU Referendum and have never received a mandate from the UK electorate or the members of this House.”

Such wording would force moderate Conservative MPs to support the motion or support Hard Brexit i.e. they would have to decide if they are to act in the Best Interests of their Party or their Country.

I find it inconceivable that they would all be capable of supporting an option that is so obviously flawed as a Hard Brexit.

And then?

A successful No Confidence resolution would  force an early general election to be held within 25 days.

The Opposition will need to remain united through the election to ensure that the Conservatives do not win a majority if they persevere with their current stated positions on the pre-condition of scrapping the FoM rights. At the very least deals will need to be made at a local level but hopefully a coalition to renew the UK could be formed.

Renewal Government

Stopping the Tories will not solve the underlying problems.  There are real problems that will need to be addressed. There are also misconceptions, such as the unfair demonizing of EU Migrants, that will also have to be addressed.

The Renewal government will be in a position to hold sensible, constructive discussions with our EU partners to fix issues that are surely there.

Time for leadership

This is the time for our opposition leaders to show what they are made of: Jeremy, Nicola, Tim et al are you up to the challenge?

Theresa May has no mandate to do this#NoMandateMay