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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Mailvox: behind the Brexit theatrics

An update on the latest from our Brexit insider:

UK Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has issued his latest legal guidance on the documents that Theresa May brought back from Strasbourg last night. The legal risk remains unchanged. As expected, Theresa May simply continued her ‘failure theatre’.

There is no method for Britain to exit from the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement unilaterally if there are simply “intractable differences” between Britain and the EU. Since the reason that we are leaving the EU in the first place is due to “intractable differences”, of course those differences are not going to be resolved in the matter of the Irish Border. The Attorney general said the “legal risk remains unchanged” and the “fundamental circumstances remained the same”

Theresa May was attempting to obtain something that would allow Geoffrey Cox to change his advice and recommend the approval of the Withdrawal Agreement, using some sort of codicil, which was given the name ‘Cox’s Codpiece’. The Attorney General was adamant that everything within his codpiece should be in good working order.

Britain can still use the 1970 Treaty of Vienna to cancel any international agreement, regardless of whether that agreement includes a exit clause. Remember that the most fundamental principle of English constitutional law is that no parliament may bind a future parliament.

The Labour Party’s finance spokesman, effectively the #2 guy in the party, said yesterday that the priority is to defeat the government. The Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party, upon whom Theresa May depends for the existence of her government, said just now that they will vote against the Withdrawal Agreement. The European Research Group of Conservative Party Brexit supporters, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg will also vote against the Withdrawal Agreement.

So, my prediction is that this evening, Theresa May will be defeated by a similarly huge margin to her defeat in January.

The Labour Party could then legitimately call another ‘no confidence’ motion to dissolve the government, but that would not be successful. No one wants a general election. There is also no mechanism to involuntarily remove Theresa May prior to December 2019. She would have to be persuaded to step down, and there is no indication that she would agree. Fortunately, complete paralysis is a good situation at the moment because the legal default position is ‘no deal’.

During the vote Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons tonight, Brexit supporters will move an amendment to rule out a second referendum. This is calling the bluff of the ‘People’s Vote’ campaign, who decided not to move an amendment to have a second referendum. They decided this because there simply isn’t the support in the Commons for another vote. It is likely that Theresa May will support the ruling out of a second referendum because that has always been her position.

This is a clear indication that the Remain supporters know that their position is weakening. National opinion polling has ‘no deal’ at 44% and ‘remain’ at 30%, with presumably a large slice of ‘don’t know’ in the middle. Almost no one wants Theresa May’s deal.

Although Theresa May cancelled the votes on ‘no deal’ and ‘delay’ scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday respectively, I suspect these votes will nevertheless happen. The House of Commons will reject the concept of ‘no deal’ and ask for a delay. The EU will then refuse an extension because the UK doesn’t have a plan to achieve agreement to the Withdrawal Agreement, and therefore we will have ‘no deal’. The House of Commons just doesn’t want to be the ones that actually choose ‘no deal’.

UPDATE: 14 MPs have switched sides to support Brexit in our time!
Sky News: 14 MPs have switched sides and will vote for Theresa May’s deal. She now just needs to persuade another 102 MPs to change their opinion to get her deal approved. i.e. She still needs a miracle. The atmosphere in the chamber is being described as “funereal”. The last rites of the Conservative Party.

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31 Comments:

Blogger Steve March 12, 2019 9:55 AM  

Although Theresa May cancelled the votes on ‘no deal’ and ‘delay’ scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday respectively, I suspect these votes will nevertheless happen.

Your England correspondent is the only person I've seen reporting that the votes are cancelled. Everyone else is proceeding on the understanding that they'll go ahead.

The EU will then refuse an extension because the UK doesn’t have a plan to achieve agreement to the Withdrawal Agreement, and therefore we will have ‘no deal’

This would be great, but the more likely scenario at the moment is the EU will agree to an extension, which will be used to further soften up the British people for a second (rigged) referendum presenting a false choice between two different flavours of Remain.

The EU has form here, forcing its client states into repeat referenda until they obtain the "right" answer is what they did to Ireland and others.

More importantly, perhaps, is that Parliament is facing complete institutional failure over Brexit. This is their biggest crisis of legitimacy since the Rump Parliament, and much as they want to put the populist genie back in the bottle, there's no way back to the cozy pre-2016 bipartisan consensus.

Blogger MendoScot March 12, 2019 10:04 AM  

The House of Commons will reject the concept of ‘no deal’ and ask for a delay. The EU will then refuse an extension because the UK doesn’t have a plan to achieve agreement to the Withdrawal Agreement, and therefore we will have ‘no deal’.

This is the part that puzzles me. The hysteria over "no deal" always struck me as part of Project Fear that even the Remoaners didn't believe. The real motivation, I thought, was to push through a deal so bad that the UK would want to rejoin the EU at some time in the future.

But why does it matter? Bad EU deal or WTO rules, a future Parliament can still vote to rejoin. Do they know that the EUreaucrats won't allow that to happen? I would have thought that they would love the thought of the UK crawling back to beg for reentry on much less favourable terms.

Blogger Dave Dave March 12, 2019 10:06 AM  

I don't see any reason why this particular Brexit deal will get significantly more votes than the previous. Those votes don't magically create themselves, and the reality is that nobody is satisfied with May's horrendous deals. It will fail, and the only deal will be No Deal.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia March 12, 2019 10:20 AM  

Thanks to Vox and the Brexiteer analyst for sharing. This missives are the clearest description of what's happening, while all the mainstream discussions seem right around the edges but are murky in the middle.

To use a football analogy, the remainers/"a bad deal is better than no deal" coalition are down 3 nil in stoppage time. They're passing the ball around aimlessly, in the few instances they have it.

It's over.

Blogger Glaivester March 12, 2019 10:20 AM  

This would be great, but the more likely scenario at the moment is the EU will agree to an extension, which will be used to further soften up the British people for a second (rigged) referendum presenting a false choice between two different flavours of Remain.


The problem is that if Brexit is delayed past May, there will be a lot of populist Brits in the EU Parliament, especially from the Brexit Party.

Blogger The Kurgan March 12, 2019 10:37 AM  

Hmmmm I’m with Steve on this one.
And hope I am very very wrong.

Blogger MendoScot March 12, 2019 10:40 AM  

So Cox has published his opinion, which is says

14. For these reasons, there is no doubt, in my view, that the clarifications and amplified obligations contained in the Joint Instrument and the Declaration provide a substantive and binding reinforcement of the legal rights available to the United Kingdom in the event that the EU were to fail in its duties of good faith and best endeavours.

but concludes:

19. However, the legal risk remains unchanged that if through no such demonstrable failure of either party, but simply because of intractable differences, that situation does arise, the United Kingdom would have, at least while the fundamental circumstances remained the same, no internationally lawful means of exiting the Protocol’s arrangements, save by agreement.

Blogger James Dixon March 12, 2019 10:50 AM  

> The EU will then refuse an extension because the UK doesn’t have a plan to achieve agreement to the Withdrawal Agreement, and therefore we will have ‘no deal’.

Either that or they will offer extension terms that will not be acceptable to Parliament. In either case, no deal happens.

The only hope for those opposing Brexit is that the EU will offer extension terms that, while terrible, are not so bad Parliament can't agree to them. I don't see that happening, but I've been wrong before.

Blogger Stilicho March 12, 2019 10:56 AM  

Rather reminiscent of that other time a British PM was rushing off to the continent to appease belligerent Germans (who were seeking a pan-European empire that time too) and ensure "peace in our time". Banks or tanks, Germany keeps playing the same game.

Blogger Teleros March 12, 2019 11:05 AM  

Steve wrote:This would be great, but the more likely scenario at the moment is the EU will agree to an extension, which will be used to further soften up the British people for a second (rigged) referendum presenting a false choice between two different flavours of Remain.

It's not actually the EU that has to agree, but the heads of state of each EU member state except for the UK. They also have to be in complete agreement. If just one of them - eg Orban - were to vote no, then no extension would be permissible. So whilst I think it unlikely that there'd be anyone voting against an extension, it wouldn't simply be down to the Eurocrats.

MendoScot wrote:But why does it matter? Bad EU deal or WTO rules, a future Parliament can still vote to rejoin. Do they know that the EUreaucrats won't allow that to happen? I would have thought that they would love the thought of the UK crawling back to beg for reentry on much less favourable terms.

The Eurocrats would love the UK to rejoin after Brexit, because we'd (a) lose the rebate we get as a current member, and (b) have to adopt the Euro. You might be able to get enough public backing to work around the lack of the rebate, but adopting the Euro in place of the Pound Sterling just isn't going to happen, and yet it's something the EU would have to insist on.

As to "Project Fear", I think that harks back to the Scottish independence referendum, where it appeared that a similar campaign by Westminster won the day by scaring Scots into voting to remain in the UK rather than be out of the UK, EU & damn near everything else. The Brexit vote was only a 4% difference, they think, so if we double down on talk of utter ruin then enough old and working class oiks will dutifully vote the way we tell them to.

No, once we're out we're out, and the Remoaners, globalists and other traitors know it.

Blogger MendoScot March 12, 2019 11:17 AM  

"Mr. Juncker has signed this Joint Instrument assuring Brexit in our time!"

She won't resign, tho'.

Thinking about the incoherent behaviour of pretty much all involved, something occurs to me - Dilma Rousseff's impeachment and Lula da Silva's imprisonment over corruption charges. As they say, in politics it's not the crime, it's the coverup that brings you down.

That the EU is hugely corrupt is a given, even without their refusal to publish the obligatory audits. There are a lot of rich, powerful people with their fingers in that juicy pie. An uncontrolled unravelling of the cosy EU relationship with the UK's mandarins might bring to light a lot of dubious, or frankly illegal, practices. Just as it did in Brazil after Dilma and Lula's fall.

I like this model because it would explain the odd and self-destructive behaviour on all sides - Conservative and Labour, UK and EU. Even Cameron's resignation - he knew that the knives would be out for him after the referendum clusterfuck, so put the blindly ambitious technocrat in to take the heat, and deliver a Brexit designed to keep all the profiteering under wraps.

Hard Brexit will be a disaster, just not the one that they are predicting publicly.

Another reason to keep pushing for the 29th.

Blogger James Dixon March 12, 2019 11:17 AM  

> Rather reminiscent of that other time a British PM was rushing off to the continent to appease belligerent Germans (who were seeking a pan-European empire that time too) and ensure "peace in our time". Banks or tanks, Germany keeps playing the same game.

Heh. I told my wife this morning "In fact, as far as I can tell, the only thing May has accomplished with her negotiations is indelibly link her name with Chamberlain in
British history."

Blogger linesy March 12, 2019 11:25 AM  

Leave as in leave. It's what we voted for. Give it to us now. We have suffered much worse in our history than this. Besides we have a nation of rotund Jabba the Huts that would benefit from less food being available (allegedly) under a no deal. I work in international trade regulation, anecdotally our companies particularly engineering ones are flooded with non EU orders, bring it on and let's watch from the sidelines as Druncker and his creepy crew drive the EU into the ground.

Blogger pyrrhus March 12, 2019 11:40 AM  

It will be a beautiful thing for Britain to leave with no EU trade agreement and watch Germany and France plunge into outright depression...I will throw a party for my friends to celebrate.

Blogger pyrrhus March 12, 2019 11:56 AM  

As Martin Armstrong has repeatedly pointed out, Brexit is an absolute necessity because the EU Cabal hates Britain, and particularly its free and open financial markets, and plans to tax them out of existence. Draghi has destroyed the European bond markets, and the stock markets aren't much better, with short selling being banned in many cases..And the fact that Britain has the strongest economy in Europe is a continual irritant for the EU's rulers, who have a visceral hatred for the British anyway.

Blogger Jab Burrwalky March 12, 2019 12:31 PM  

So, I follow Euro news more than U.S. news (which I should probably be ashamed of, but our social trends tend to follow theirs for some weird reason) but I am a bit confused by all the Brexit deal business. Would someone care to enlighten me? In particular:

What would be the difference between a "Deal" Brexit and a "No Deal" Brexit, and aside from a second referendum, is there anything that would keep the U.K. from leaving the EU at this point?

Blogger James Dixon March 12, 2019 12:42 PM  

> What would be the difference between a "Deal" Brexit and a "No Deal" Brexit...

One has a signed deal detailing future relations, the other doesn't. No deal throws a lot of existing agreements in the dumpster, as with Britain no longer in the EU they're no longer valid.

> ...and aside from a second referendum, is there anything that would keep the U.K. from leaving the EU at this point?

They could agree to an extension, but as I said above, I don't see that happening. The Brits reporting conditions on the ground there say a second referendum would result in Brexit being confirmed by a bigger margin than the first time. Make of that what you will.

Blogger Cecil Henry March 12, 2019 12:45 PM  

Brexit demonstrates the complete lie that is democracy and the hostility of the political class.


From a woman PM strongly against Brexit now allowed to lead the Brexit cause without a peep of outrage at the absurdity from the MSM or other politicians, to worrying more about what Brussels and Merkel think about the plan than the British people, it is a confirmation that giving up your power to a 'legislative body' is just a form of slow enslavement.

Blogger John Best March 12, 2019 1:01 PM  

So long as the DUP support leaving the EU there will be no deal with the EU. No retreat, no surrender!

Blogger Steve March 12, 2019 1:07 PM  

What would be the difference between a "Deal" Brexit and a "No Deal" Brexit

"No-deal Brexit" - we actually leave the EU and can make our own laws and trade with whoever we want to

"Deal" - we leave the EU on paper but agree to still get bossed around by Brussels and have to pay them at least £40Bn for the privilege. In reality it's like being put into a shame cube, with none of the benefits of leaving and all of the costs of remaining - as if we'd cancelled our gym membership but still had to pay a hefty fee every month with no right to use the facilities or even join a competing gym, and the gym demanding a share of the equity in our house as punishment for daring to leave.

Blogger Cecil Henry March 12, 2019 1:32 PM  

They're all traitors. And should be punished severely for everything they've done to destroy Europe and its people


Tony Blair has been secretly trying to help Macron force the UK to remain in the EU and thwart Brexit.



https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/10/tony-blair-secretly-advising-emmanuel-macron-brexit-former-pm/


Blogger weka March 12, 2019 3:08 PM  

Pipes and drums, pipes and drums. Next marching season the lads need to show Brussels how it is done.

Blogger MendoScot March 12, 2019 3:23 PM  

242-391

Still bad defeat.

Blogger Crew March 12, 2019 4:22 PM  

@24: Yeah

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-47547887

She needs to convince another 149 ...

Blogger VFM #7634 March 12, 2019 4:25 PM  

@20 Steve

No-deal is clearly a no-brainer -- except for globalists, of course.

Blogger C-Speaks March 12, 2019 7:39 PM  

Unfortunate for Britain that they had to send a remainer PM to negotiate their withdrawal in the first place but hopefully a no deal scenario plays out well for them over time. It may be a major spur for other EU-sceptic countries to trigger withdrawals too.

Blogger weka March 12, 2019 8:58 PM  

Lea ing on March 29 is a soft brexit. Invading brussels is a hard brexit.

Blogger SemiSpook37 March 13, 2019 3:35 PM  

So, the vote is in, and no deal is narrowly defeated by a margin of 4 votes, 312-308.

A couple of caveats:

1. It is being bandied about this is a "non-binding" resolution, but May said she will "abide" by this decision (whatever that means), and
2. The vote to extend Article 50 in the European Parliament must be unanimous, so it's entirely possible this gets torpedoed on the other side.

It's not over yet, but the question is where do things stand after all of this grandstanding?

Blogger wahr01 March 14, 2019 9:20 AM  

@28

"The vote to extend Article 50 in the European Parliament must be unanimous"

Time for MEP Farage to strike down Treason May with the sword he got from a strange woman in a lake.

Blogger James Dixon March 14, 2019 10:36 AM  

> It's not over yet, but the question is where do things stand after all of this grandstanding?

Exactly where they stood before:

“I am against every extension — whether an extension of one day, one week, even 24 hours — if it’s not based on a clear opinion of the House of Commons for something,” said the European Parliament’s chief Brexit official, Guy Verhofstadt. “Please make up your minds in London, because this uncertainty cannot continue.”

Blogger James Dixon March 14, 2019 10:40 AM  

Folks need to understand that the EU bureaucrats, being idiots, think that a no deal Brexit will inflict the most pain on Britain, and is there for their best option to punish them for leaving. Short of convincing them to stay, they actually view it as their best option.

They really don't understand either Britain or the true situation at all. A no deal Brexit is actually the best possible outcome for Britain.

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