NEW: Privileges Committee Rejects Lord Pannick’s Criticisms of Boris Stitch-Up

The Privileges Committee has, unsurprisingly, rejected Lord Pannick’s damning criticism of its ongoing investigation into whether Boris misled the House during Partygate. Committee figures already indicated they’d reject it, and now they’ve found the legal advice to back it up…

“The Committee rejects Lord Pannick’s criticisms… The Committee accepts the view of its impartial legal advisers and the Clerks that Lord Pannick’s opinion is founded on a systemic misunderstanding of the parliamentary process and misplaced analogies with the criminal law.”

The committee’s response also makes clear that they believe Lord Pannick’s opinion that this stitch-up could have a “chilling effect on Ministerial comments in the House” to be “wholly misplaced and itself misleading.” Read the report in full below…

 

mdi-timer 26 September 2022 @ 09:34 26 Sep 2022 @ 09:34 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
LibDems Accuse Gina Miller’s Ex-Lawyer of Being Part of the “Conservative Chumocracy”

The LibDems’ spokesperson response to Lord Pannick’s Privileges Committee opinion – a man who once represented Gina Miller in the High Court against Boris Johnson:

“The Government must fess up to the cost of this legal advice and stop expecting the taxpayers to pick up the tab for Conservative sleaze.

“The next Prime Minister must allow this inquiry to continue completely untouched by the Conservative chumocracy.”

mdi-timer 2 September 2022 @ 13:54 2 Sep 2022 @ 13:54 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Privileges Committee Stitch-Up Slammed by Top Remoaner QC

Boris Johnson has won unlikely support from the high-profile, Brexit-frustrating QC Lord Pannick. It’s understood that Lord Pannick will this morning deliver a “devastating blow” to the privileges committee investigation into whether Boris misled the house – an investigation already so blatantly stitched up it carries no moral weight. Lord Pannick – who can hardly be accused of being a supporter of Boris or Brexit – is expected to argue that the committee’s desire to see the PM chucked out of the Commons could seriously muzzle ministers in future. This is the same Lord Pannick who represented Gina Miller in 2019 at the Supreme Court over the government’s prorogation attempt…

The inquiry has already been roundly slammed, not only for having changed the terms of reference from looking into whether Boris ‘deliberately misled the house’ to merely ‘misled’; there are also questions of why Speaker Lindsay Hoyle waved a magic wand to give the committee the power to trigger the recall act. The chair, Harriet Harman, has also prejudged the inquiry by tweeting that Boris did mislead the House…

Guido understands Lord Pannick’s full argument will be published in the next few hours, by lunchtime at the very latest. A Downing Street source tells The Mail “This isn’t for Boris, but for all future PMs and MPs,” “Ministers will never be able to say anything if they think they can be found in contempt by accidentally giving the wrong answer.” Pannick will also question why witnesses are being allowed to give evidence anonymously, contrary to standard court practice, with an insider source saying the advice is “absolutely devastating”…

mdi-timer 2 September 2022 @ 09:05 2 Sep 2022 @ 09:05 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Top Lawyers: Strasbourg Deal Has “Significantly” Reduced Risk of Permanent Backstop

Geoffrey Cox succeeded in comprehensively spiking the Strasbourg concessions he secured on the backstop with his own legal advice stating that the “legal risk remains unchanged”. Now with the benefit of a few more days to analyse them, a group of top pro-Brexit lawyers have written a report for Policy Exchange arguing that Cox got his own advice wrong. They say: “The risk of the backstop being used as leveraging for the next phase of the negotiations to lock the EU into a backstop-like arrangement indefinitely has receded significantly”.

The paper is co-authored by Professors Guglielmo Verdirame QC and Richard Ekins, and former First Parliamentary Counsel Sir Stephen Laws. They say that the Strasbourg concessions mean that the EU would be breaching “good faith” to dismiss all alternative solutions to the Irish border, particularly in light of the fact that the “EU is fully apprised of the fact that the UK’s present objective is to leave the Single Market and the Customs Union”, concluding that:

“It would be clearly incompatible with its obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement, Protocol, and Joint Instrument, for the EU to adopt a negotiating stance that boils down to the position that only ‘backstop 2.0’ can replace the current backstop.”

Cox has now updated his legal advice to say that the UK would have the right to invoke Article 62 of the Vienna Convention to withdraw from the treaty in “exceptional circumstances”, for instance if the “the prolonged operation of the Backstop was having a socially destabilising effect in Northern Ireland.”

The Brexit ‘Star Chamber’ has rejected Cox’s latest advice, but Cox has found support from an unlikely source in Remoaner lawyer Lord Pannick QC, who led and won Gina Miller’s Article 50 legal challenge. While Pannick reiterates his support for a second referendum, he concludes that, as a matter of law:

“If the UK were therefore to be faced (against its will) with a permanent backstop arrangement, the UK would be entitled to terminate the withdrawal agreement under Article 62 of the Vienna convention on the Law of Treaties.”

Ultimately, the Government has backed Brexiteer MPs into such a tight corner that they are now facing a political choice as much as a legal one. Even if the Vienna Convention route does not hold, the UK still retains the nuclear option of unilaterally tearing up the the treaty altogether if it feels the consequences of that are preferable to a permanent backstop. If the UK fails to leave at all, the political establishment will never allow the country to even get a sniff of the exit door ever again…

mdi-timer 15 March 2019 @ 10:15 15 Mar 2019 @ 10:15 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Lord Pannick Backs Worboys Judicial Review

A judicial review of the decision to release black cab rapist John Worboys has been backed by Lord Pannick QC, one of the country’s leading JR experts. Pannick tells the Times that he endorses Justice Secretary David Gauke’s attempts to JR the Parole Board, and says the challenge should focus on whether the board followed a fair process: “The process issue appears to turn on whether the victims have been properly consulted, as fairness requires”. This is the key point: it has now emerged that there were multiple clear breaches of the proper procedure – victims were not consulted on either his release or the conditions, as was their right. Which means the original process is now likely to be declared unsound. With Pannick’s expert backing, Gauke has no excuse not to proceed…

mdi-timer 15 January 2018 @ 00:33 15 Jan 2018 @ 00:33 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments