European Research Group Slam Stormont Brake as “Practically Useless”

European Research Group Chair Mark Francois has slammed the Stormont Brake element of the Windsor Framework, saying the star chamber has found it “practically useless“:

“I would like to thank the Star Chamber, Chaired by Sir Bill Cash MP and ably supported by Martin Howe KC, Barnabas Reynolds and David Jones MP for their diligent and thorough examination of the legal implications of the Windsor Framework.

“The Star Chamber’s principal findings are: That EU law will still be supreme in Northern Ireland; The rights of its people under the 1800 Act of Union are not restored; the ‘green lane’. is not really a ‘green lane’ at all; the Stormont Brake is practically useless and the framework itself, has no exit, other than through a highly complex legal process.”

The ERG hasn’t come to a collective decision on whether to vote against the deal – they are meeting again tomorrow at 10.30 to make a final call. Sounds like there could be a split…

Read the star chamber’s full report below:

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mdi-timer 21 March 2023 @ 11:53 21 Mar 2023 @ 11:53 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Rishi Facing Down Brexiteer Rebellion Over Windsor Framework

As of this morning, it’s still a mixed picture on the potential Tory rebellion over the Windsor Framework. The European Research Group are meeting at 10.30 to hear the report of its ‘star chamber’, led by Sir Bill Cash, which will outline the chamber’s final judgement on the deal. According to reports overnight, Cash is expected to say the Stormont Brake – the element MPs will debate on Wednesday – is “unusable” in practice, and the Group shouldn’t support it. Tory MPs speaking to Guido say they nonetheless expect the Tory rebellion to be “soft“, and “they’ll have to have uncovered something pretty bad for a lot of people to vote against it”. The Telegraph has heard similarly, with one MP saying the group were “genuinely torn”…

The first Tory out the gates declaring their opposition this morning is Sir James Duddridge, who describes the deal as a “betrayal of Brexit” and vows to “absolutely vote against” it. The DUP decision to oppose it has put the wind in his sails. The Express, meanwhile, is more certain the ERG “is likely to side with the DUP” and push the rebellion figures higher. Although even if more MPs ultimately do follow Duddridge and the DUP, Starmer’s support means it’s incredibly unlikely to sink the deal entirely. It’s also worth keeping an eye on abstentions rather than outright opposition, as with the Illegal Migrant Bill earlier this month. Expect a press conference from the ERG this morning after their meeting, with Chris Heaton-Harris also up in front of Cash and the European Scrutiny Committee this afternoon. A busy day in SW1 – get the popcorn…

mdi-timer 21 March 2023 @ 09:11 21 Mar 2023 @ 09:11 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Rishi’s Whirlwind Windsor Framework Sales Pitch Tour

After over two hours selling the Windsor Framework to the Commons last night, Rishi has crossed the Irish Sea this morning to do the same in Northern Ireland. It’ll be a whistle stop tour meeting small business owners and shaking hands before quickly jetting back to Westminster to face the 1922 Committee at 5pm. A lot to pack in…

While plenty of Tory MPs are publicly backing the deal – almost every newspaper splashes a celebratory headline – there are still two key groups yet to play their hands: the DUP and the ERG. This morning DUP Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson offered only a lukewarm response on the Today Programme, claiming “I have said progress has been made, we continue to have some concerns”. He claimed the party still needs time to review the full text, though hastened to add “we are reasonable people”. David Davis told GB News he expects them to abstain…

The ERG, meanwhile, will hold a full plenary meeting this evening at 6pm to decide their response. Mark Francois called the meeting last night just as the full text was published. One MP told Guido they are “agnostic”, although ultimately expect them to back it… Guido’s not sure there won’t be some holdouts.

mdi-timer 28 February 2023 @ 08:53 28 Feb 2023 @ 08:53 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
ERG Backs the Deal

At a virtual meeting this afternoon, the European Research Group executive agreed to recommend their members vote for the deal. A three-page legal summary by their Star Chamber Court concludes:

“Our overall conclusion is that the Agreement preserves the UK’s sovereignty as a matter of law and fully respects the norms of international sovereign-to-sovereign treaties. The “level playing field” clauses go further than in comparable trade agreements, but their impact on the practical exercise of sovereignty is likely to be limited if addressed by a robust government. In any event they do not prevent the UK from changing its laws as it sees fit at a risk of tariff countermeasures, and if those were unacceptable the Agreement could be terminated on 12 months’ notice.”

Read the judgement in full below:

mdi-timer 29 December 2020 @ 14:59 29 Dec 2020 @ 14:59 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Read in Full: ERG Argues for Scrapping of Withdrawal Agreement in Event of No Deal

Sir Bernard Jenkin has put out a statement on behalf of the ERG Steering Group, calling on the government to scrap the Withdrawal Agreement entirely in the event of no trade deal being agreed with the EU:

“If we don’t reach a deal with the EU, Brexit is not done until the UK government succeeds in its determination to assert its own interpretation of the Withdrawal Agreement

“If the EU is unwilling to do a deal with us, there are two options. The first is to enact domestic legislation that will largely nullify the direct effect and direct applicability of EU law. We have the mandate and majority to do this

“Second, if the EU insists on an unreasonable interpretation of the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK must stand ready to repudiate it. I hope it is not necessary, but if it is the only way to achieve UK prosperity and the kind of sovereign independence which is the democratic right of any nation recognised under the UN Charter, then so be it. And most other nations would respect us for that

Not holding back…

mdi-timer 8 September 2020 @ 12:18 8 Sep 2020 @ 12:18 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Read in Full: Steve Baker’s ERG Resignation Letter

mdi-timer 25 February 2020 @ 17:36 25 Feb 2020 @ 17:36 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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