Government Entitled to Ask Queen Not to Give Assent to Brexit Wreckers’ Bills

Devastating argument from Policy Exchange this morning. Sir Stephen Laws QC – who was until 2012 the Government’s most senior lawyer on legislative and constitutional matters – says don’t assume that MPs could engineer a change to the law to postpone or cancel Brexit without persuading Government to acquiesce and participate in securing the change.

Attempting to change the law without the Government’s participation, he argues, could jeopardise fundamental constitutional principles based on centuries of history, especially if the Speaker dispenses with or ignores a rule that gives Government complete control over increases to public expenditure.

Sir Stephen Writes:

“If the Speaker chose to allow this rule to be dispensed with or ignored, that could have unpredictable, and potentially horrific, constitutional consequences. It could raise a question whether the Government would be entitled or might feel required to reassert its constitutional veto by advising the Queen not to grant Royal Assent to the Bill.

How should the Monarch react to such advice? The answer is not straightforward and the prospect of it needing to be considered in a real life political crisis is unthinkably awful. It is a sacred duty of all UK politicians not to involve the Monarch in politics. They have a constitutional responsibility to resolve difficulties between themselves in accordance with the rules, and so as not to call on the ultimate referee.”

If the Speaker and Dominic Grieve are going to vandalise the constitution and overturn established parliamentary conventions, don’t expect the government to just roll over. The Attorney General Geoffrey Cox will be studying this argument closely as no doubt will the Brexit sympathetic Queen. Bercow is only the Prince of Parliament, though he might not want to believe, the Queen still outranks him constitutionally. Grieve isn’t as clever as he thinks he is…

Cox’s Case for the Defence

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has succeeded in significantly livening up the incredibly lengthy meaningful vote debate, giving a typically eloquent and impassioned case for why MPs should support the Prime Minister’s deal while taking aim at those trying to reverse the referendum. May must wish she had a whole Cabinet of Coxes. Whether it actually changes any MPs’ minds at this stage is another matter…

Cox: Backstop Would Be An ‘Instrument of Pain’ For UK and EU

Geoffrey Cox responded to Nigel Dodds with about as compelling case as you can make for the backstop. It rests on Northern Ireland firms having unparalleled access to two giant global markets and EU firms taking the Commission to court if they hold up the progress of moving from the backstop to an FTA. Guido is unconvinced, but it is worth listening to respectable Cox’s considered opinion…

Backstop Eternal

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s advice on the backstop…

“The protocol would endure indefinitely.”

DD: Government Must Release “Complete” Legal Advice

David Davis has added his voice to calls for the Government to release the legal advice they have received on the Irish backstop. Davis told Today that there was “no argument whatsoever” that at the very least the Cabinet should have access to the full information before making their decision on the deal, while rejecting Matt Hancock’s suggestion on Peston last night that Geoffrey Cox answering questions in Parliament would amount to sufficient scrutiny:

“What we must see is the complete legal advice, not a summary, not something that just glides and glosses over the difficult issues, but the actual legal advice.”

Interestingly, Hancock did add that it would be a “decision in exceptional circumstances for the Prime Minister”. Under the Ministerial Code, the legal advice can be released if the “law officers” i.e. the Attorney General agree to it. May herself attacked Brown and Blair for not showing legal advice they had received on the Iraq War to the Cabinet and MPs, labelling it a breach of the ministerial code. The circumstances of Brexit are at least as exceptional as those of the Iraq War…

In any case, MPs may seek to take the decision out of her hands, with Tory rebels considering supporting a humble address motion from Keir Starmer in Labour’s opposition day debate next Tuesday which could compel the Government to release the advice. If there is nothing to hide in the advice, the Government can avoid the whole row by simply agreeing to release it in full…

May Under Pressure to Reveal Full Backstop Legal Advice

The Government is facing pressure from all sides to release the full legal advice it has received from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox on the Irish backstop, with Labour, the DUP, the Lib Dems and Tory MPs all calling for the Government to publish the advice. There is no question that this is an issue of fundamental constitutional importance – Parliament and the public have a right to know.

Even Cabinet ministers are being kept out of the loop, with Michael Gove leading the calls within Cabinet for the full legal advice to be revealed. Suspicions are high that Number 10 are trying to bounce Cabinet Brexiteers including Dominic Raab over the line without letting them review the full advice. If there is nothing contentious about it then why is it being hidden from the Cabinet?

Disgruntled Cabinet ministers are complaining that every trick in the book is being used to keep the legal advice from them, from “we’re running out of time”, “you’ll wreck Brexit” and “no deal will crash the economy” to “you’ll be spat at in the street” and, best of all, “we have to keep it ambiguous to fool the Irish”The problem is that no-one believes it’s just the Irish they’re trying to fool…

‘Tory Mufasa’ To Decide Tommy Robinson’s Fate

Tory Conference showstopper Geoffrey Cox will decide Tommy Robinson’s fate after his case was referred to the Attorney General following a short hearing at the Old Bailey this morning. After reviewing Robinson’s statement the judge concluded that a thorough cross-examination was needed, which would require a different legal procedure. Robinson’s bail has been extended on the same terms as before. Cox will have to decide whether the public interest lies in pursuing the case. Cox will be reviewing the case in a legal capacity, not a political one…

Cox Rocks Tory Conference

 

Boris may have drawn the crowds while the PM got a laugh for her Dancing Queen routine, but it was Geoffrey Cox QC who comfortably stole the show at Tory Conference this year.

He was only supposed to be May’s warm-up act, but the new Attorney General’s uproarious speech had the crowd completely enraptured as he strode around the stage booming out the benefits of Brexit. Forget Mogg Mania, now everyone is Crazy for Cox…

Cox Quits Sleaze Committee

geoffery cox

Geoffrey Cox, the highest-earning MP in the Commons who earns hundreds of thousands of pounds a year for his work as a QC, has resigned from parliament’s sleaze watchdog for doing something if not sleazy exactly, definitely slack. Cox has on at least one occasion failed to register his outside earnings within the 28 days required, compelling him to resign from the Commons Committee on Standards and refer himself to the Standards Commissioner.

The Standards Committee polices the conduct of MPs and oversees the maintenance and accessibility of the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. The very same Register of Members’ Financial Interests that Mr Cox forgot to register the £325,000 he earned for 500 hours work. What a cox up…

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Quote of the Day

Ken Livingstone deployed a corker on TalkRadio this afternoon…
“I joined the Labour Party 50 years ago this month and in all that time I have never heard a single anti-semitic comment.”

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