A Very Good Brexit Deal but a Constitutional Challenge Looms

-edited

A deal has been reached. Jean-Claude Juncker opposes an extension. A constitutional challenge to the deal is underway.

Juncker Does Not Back an Extension

European Commission President and the EU have reached a deal. European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker opposes and extension. That is not his call but it is what I expected..

In the video, Juncker says he is happy for a deal but sad to see the UK go.

Reasonable Deal

Those who say this is May's deal warmed over are simply wrong.

Constitutional Challenge and Other Details

The Guardian Live Blog discusses a constitutional challenge, DUP opposition, and other details.

Jean-Claude Juncker has tried to help sell the new Brexit deal in the face of opposition from the Democratic Unionist party by pouring doubt on a further Brexit extension in the event of it being rejected.

Juncker said he was “ruling out” a prolongation, although the issue is solely the remit of the heads of state and government. “If we have a deal, we have a deal and there is no need for prolongation,” he added.

Constitutional Challenge

Campaigning anti-Brexit QC Jolyon Maugham has now lodged his petition at the court of session in Edinburgh, which essentially tries to ban parliament from debating the new Brexit deal, on the basis that it is illegal, and which he anticipates will be heard tomorrow.

Maugham believes that the deal contravenes s55 of the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018, which states that it is “unlawful for Her Majesty’s government to enter into arrangements under which Northern Ireland forms part of a separate customs territory to Great Britain”.

With the detail of Boris Johnson’s new deal still emerging, lawyers insist that s55 is “crystal clear” and that any form of differentiated deal for Northern Ireland will contravene it.

Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, has already cleared time for an emergency hearing in the court of session at noon on Monday 21 October, where he could issue court orders forcing Johnson to send a letter to the EU asking for an extension to article 50 until 31 January as per the Benn Act.

Boost to Johnson

Johnson Likely Has the Votes

Sir Oliver Letwin will back deal

Sir Oliver Letwin, who had the Conservative whip withdrawn over his rebellion on a no-deal Brexit vote, has said he will back the Prime Minister's deal on Saturday, calling it "admirable"

No Deal Says DUP

These arrangements will become the settled position in these areas for Northern Ireland. This drives a coach and horses through the professed sanctity of the Belfast agreement.

For all of these reasons it is our view that these arrangements would not be in Northern Ireland’s long-term interests. Saturday’s vote in parliament on the proposals will only be the start of a long process to get any withdrawal agreement bill through the House of Commons.

Another Referendum?

I think it is unlikely, but how would it turn out?

Eurointellience frames it this way:

for those who are still holding out for a second referendum, and who believe that it could easily be won: the problem with most of the polls is that they confound a person’s position on Brexit - Remain vs Leave - with how they would vote in a second referendum. We know a lot of Remainers who believe that the first referendum results needs to be respected, and who would vote no in a second referendum.

A ComRes poll for Channel 5 news produced a more granular survey, and came up with a 50-42 split in favour Leave under a concrete 2nd referendum setting.

When they asked the question whether the 2016 referendum results should be honoured, the response was 54% in favour, and 32% against. It is one poll only - and the numbers are probably going to swing backwards and forwards. But we should be under no illusion that public opinion on Brexit has shifted since the referendum. We see no signs of that.

All's Well That Ends Well

Except nothing has ended.

I suspect all the MPs who lost Tory party membership will regain the whip (membership) if they vote for the deal. That makes passage more likely, but not guaranteed.

There are about 22 Labour MPs who want Brexit and that would likely be enough to offset the 9 DUP votes. This is my guess, Eurointelliugence thinks passage falls short.

If it does pass, legal challenges loom. And Benn is likely to modify the legislation requiring Johnson to seek an extension if it doesn't pass.

Final Irony Coming Up?

One possibility is that if the legal challenge wins, a hard Brexit might happen, which Johnson could blame on Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Remainers.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (65)
No. 1-14
avidremainer
avidremainer

If Maugham wins this would be too funny for words. Rees-Mogg would then be responsible for scuppering the agreement. If and it is a big, the government go down in flames in the Scots courts it will also show that the Brexit leaders are incompetent fools. Guess what I am hoping for.

caradoc-again
caradoc-again

What no one mentions is the brewing conflict in eastern Mediterranean as Turkey becomes more aggressive. It sees substantial oil and gas off Cyprus and a chance to reinstate older boundaries from before WWI. Syria is just the start.

The EU army may see action much sooner than expected to help Greece. Greeks more likely to turn to Russia.

A belligerent Turkey see no one to oppose them. Russia sees a weak western Europe.

Should shooting start we get to see what the EU is made of. Only hope GB keeps well out of it. We've spilt too much blood already.

Would like to see a full disengagement of military across EU mainland. Too costly and will be increasingly risky.

If there is yo ge a replay of the 1930s watch that area.

davebarnes
davebarnes

A "great deal" would be to scrap Brexit and remain in the EU. And, join Schengen.

krage
krage

So Boris surrender to EU and agreed to leave Northern Ireland in EU customs union "de jure"... shame... shame...

Quatloo
Quatloo

EU leaders have unanimously approved it, so now it is up to Parliament

Onni4me
Onni4me

Looking at this mess - or is it a charade? - me thinks it's not over until it's over. Too many moving pieces on the table. My bet is on the hard Brexit.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

The real story today is the ambassador to the EU has now flipped in his testimony to congress. One by one people that Trump hired are coming to the conclusion they dont with to go down with the ship the way Cohen, currently serving jail time for perjury, did.

Deep Purple
Deep Purple

It is the NI-only backstop with a few cosmetic gimmicks. No wonder that the unionist refuse it again. I am curious about Scottish Tories, the ERG and the rebels but there is no majority even if all of them go for it. It is highly likely to fail.

I have to admit that I did not expect Juncker to come out against extension. However, that is his personal opinion, very far from any official statement on the part of the EU. If that is all, then the opposition will aim for rejection in the Commons.

BaronAsh
BaronAsh

Things moving forward for sure. Leaving aside that many of the people insisting that there were no negotiations going and that Boris was just lying and bluffing etc. now have egg on their face (not that any of them will admit it), I can't help wondering:

If it passes, fine, all done and dusted presumably. But if it fails, and then the EU refuses to grant and extension, is it not the case that, just as Juncker said this morning, they can begin negotiations on November 1st which will unfold during the two-year transition period during which everything remains pretty much the same. So I am beginning to think that as long as the EU says 'No' to an extension, that whether or not the UK Parliament passes the deal, the exact same thing will happen on November 1st either way.

In which case Boris will be proved right again, for he has been repeating to all and sundry for a while now: 'we will be leaving the EU on October 31st, deal or no deal.'

Seems like he's a much more skillful and gutsy pol than most thought....

ksdude69
ksdude69

Eurointelligence............must be the lying public mouthpiece that only spews its opinion and crams it down your throat as if it were the truth. Sounds familiar.

Herkie
Herkie

I have replies from Avid and Deep Purple I can't see. I am not ignoring you guys, just can't see your posts this morning, will have a look when they are available.

caradoc-again
caradoc-again

I dont trust politicians and I dont trust Johnsson not to have signed something important away. It needs very careful scrutiny.

Perhaps it being kicked into touch by Parliament may be the best outcome for a clean break on Oct 31st.

Labour might have some use.

Yancey_Ward
Yancey_Ward

I think Johnson has likely done all he could to deliver Brexit. He came up with a deal, and if that deal is shot down by the Remainers, then they will get all the blame for a hard Brexit. Again, the only way to stop Brexit is to replace Johnson, or revoke Article 50, and it increasingly looks like Remain doesn't have the votes to do either one of these.

Now, as for the courts- I wrote the other day that the UK lead court would not balk at declaring Brexit illegal if push came to shove- any legal argument will be grasped at, so I expect the court to rule the deal is illegal, and after that that hard Brexit is also illegal for some other reason. The reasons will always change as each is knocked down. This isn't about the law at this point- it is all politics.

My prediction is that Parliament will pass the agreement this weekend, and that the court will rule it illegal, which will probably be fixed by the same Parliament majority also revoking the law under which the court is planning to base its judgment. Then a Remainer will file some other suit under some other law, and we will go through it again.

I think the key development today outside the deal itself was Juncker ruling out the 3 month extension. He would not have said that if he wasn't sure was speaking for the EU council.

djwebb1969
djwebb1969

Hmm, it's not actually as good as it looks. It prepares Northern Ireland to be handed over to the RoI about ten years hence. It agrees to align UK regulations with the EU, albeit this is only in the Political Declaration and Johnson may try to limit the scope of that. It fails to include an upfront acknowledgement that access to our fisheries will not be bartered in the deal agreed over the next two years, although it does say the UK is an independent coastal state. It agrees to never tax EU pensions - as if it's any of their business how we tax our citizens. It agrees to allow the EU court years of supervision of EU citizens' rights in the UK. It agrees that we will join an EU army or take part in military affairs in some way. It hands over £39bn for nothing, really. To be honest, it won't be clear if this was a great deal for Great Britain (albeit pushing Ulster out of the Union) until the final trade deal is reached in a year or two's time. My hunch is that in hindsight this deal will be looked at as crap.