Truss and May forced to defend article 50 judges after public backlash


Truss and May forced to defend article 50 judges after public backlash

Theresa May and her justice secretary, Liz Truss, have been forced to defend the three high court judges who made the controversial high court judgment about Brexit in the face of days of public backlash.

Truss, whose silence on Friday as criticism of the judgment intensified had infuriated senior lawyers, issued a public statement on Saturday night defending the integrity of the lord chief justice, who had been accused by former Ukip leader Nigel Farage of being a pro-EU activist.

“The lord chief justice is a man of great integrity and impartiality. Like all judges, he has sworn an oath to administer the law without fear or favour, affection or ill will,” Truss said.

Separately, Theresa May, speaking to reporters on her way to Delhi for a trade mission on Sunday, defended the right of the judges to issue their ruling, but would not condemn the media backlash over the issue.

Asked about the controversial reaction to the ruling in which the judges were branded as the “enemies of the people” in coverage from pro-Brexit newspapers, the prime minister said: “I believe in and value the independence of our judiciary, I also value the freedom of our press. These both underpin our democracy.”**


So as not to derail a different thread I’m replying to the specified poster in this one…

All the high court did was apply the law.

Apparently due constitutional process, parliamentary consultation and scrutiny of the executive, accountability of the government to elected lawmakers and the independence of our judiciary are treasonous offences in Brexit Britain - or at least, according to the pro-Brexit press- that make those who believe in their worth “enemies of the people”, if I might reference that totally ridiculous and scaremongering jibe of a headline emblazoned across the front page of the Daily Mail the other day.

Since the Parliamentarian victory at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, which ended the English Civil War, “parliamentary sovereignty” has been the cornerstone of our unwritten constitution: the singular constant and guiding principle that we fall back on in times of uncertainty. Indeed it could be described as the safeguard of our freedoms as British subjects, the freedoms enshrined in the 1628 Petition of Right and the 1689 Bill of Rights; the one thing that every British statesman - of whatever political persuasion - is supposed to subscribe to and unfailingly respect.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, therefore, this principle has become a stick with which to beat the “other side” in Brexit Britain - and in this regard I am incriminating both the Europhile and Brexiteer camps. In the lead-up to the June referendum, the Brexiteers made the alleged need to “'re-claim” our parliamentary sovereignty - or “take back control” - the central pillar (alongside immigration scares over freedom of movement and the loss of British jobs to EU nationals) of their insurgent campaign, the master arguement if you will.

Suddenly in the aftermath of the vote, they don’t care all that much about parliament having complete control over our national affairs and full repatriated power anymore. Their main agruement for secession from the EU has turned to smoke as they attempt to deny parliament a say over the initiation of article 50 and a discussion over the terms of Brexit (which the referendum mandate did not dictate), while also threatening the very basis of our constitution by defaming our judges and attacking the independence of the judiciary.

And this, all in the name of an unelected government hastily assembled from the ruins of Cameron’s resignation that wanted to use “royal prerogative” to covertly, behind the doors of No. 10, railroad through to completion its own “hard Brexit” without even informing the British public and their representatives about the terms of our departure.

And so, the Europhile side and press are now beating them with the stick.

Theresa May tried to employ the ancient and frankly quasi-autocratic “royal prerogative” - reserved to foreign policy matters nowadays - to bypass the need to consult parliament on the triggering of article 50 and also on the terms upon which she intends to negotiate Brexit.

This is unconstitutional and quite unbecomingly dictatorial. Why is she so afraid of being open and transparent with the elected representatives of the people? What does she have to fear by giving parliament its proper place? Clearly she thinks that she can get away with having her actions as Prime Minister scrutinized and unquestioned by the legislature.


If I may add, this government invokes the “will of the people” as established in the referendum mandate to justify its unconstitutional, unaccountable and fundamentally undemocratic actions. It is exemplary of authoritarians to claim that a small cabal of elites stuck in a room somewhere in the capital have perfect, clairvoyant insight into the nebulously defined “will of the people” and that this supreme understanding and vote of confidence from the masses gives them an authority which does not require the consent of ordinary, representative democratic processes and frees them from the constraints of the rule of law.

"The will of the people" is an empty phrase about an amorphous, ill-defined subject. A slender majority voted to leave the EU in answer to a simple ballot paper - it did not vote to decimate our constitution and submit ourselves to executive fiat, nor did it vote in favour of the particular vision of Brexit that this government appears set to pursue. The “people” voted for a journey but not a destination.

The ‘destination’ - a hard Brexit that will damage our economy and which is to be pursued unconstitutionally - is now being retrospectively impressed upon the referendum “mandate” by Theresa May’s government. We seem to have forgotten what the referendum was actually about and what people voted on.

More to the point, there is a supreme irony in all of this. The Brexiteers claimed before the vote that Brussels was threatening our constitution. In fact, it is now becoming apparent that the real threat to our constitution comes from somewhere much closer to home.


**Brexit ruling ‘stopped Government acting like tin-pot dictatorship’

The businesswoman behind the successful legal battle against launching Brexit without Parliament’s approval has said “everyone in the country” should be her “biggest fan” following the controversial court case.

Gina Miller said the High Court ruling has stopped the Government acting like a “tin-pot dictatorship” over plans to trigger Article 50 without consulting Parliament.

The investment fund manager and philanthropist said the Press had “behaved disgracefully” following the court judgment.

She told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “This is about creating legal certainty and actually, everyone in the country should be my biggest fan because I’ve used my own money and a few of us we have used our own money to create legal certainty for Mrs May to move ahead.”

She said it was “misdirection” to claim that the decision was unpicking parliamentary sovereignty.

“The case is that she cannot use something called the Royal Prerogative to do it because we do not live in a tin-pot dictatorship,” she said.**

Ms Miller, 51, who was born in Guyana but grew up in Britain, co-founded the firm SCM Private and has previously launched a campaign with her hedge-fund manager husband Alan against mis-selling and hidden fund charges in the City of London’s fund management industry.

**Reaction to the Brexit case had been fuelled by sexism, racism and homophobia, she said.

“I was aware there would be nastiness because anything to do with the word Brexit, people lose their minds and it’s all about heart.”

Ms Miller came face-to-face with interim Ukip leader Nigel Farage on the programme, with the pair clashing over what could happen following the High Court ruling.

Mr Farage said: "She has done with what she believes in, I support people doing what they believe in.**

“However, I just want to ask her what part of the word ‘leave’ don’t you understand?”
Ms Miller replied: “Have you read the case?”

Mr Farage pressed Ms Miller over whether she wants the UK to remain part of the single market, prompting her to reply: "I’m not the politician here. I’m the person who saw the elephant in the room, which is there’s no legal certainty.

“You should actually be my biggest fan because I’ve just created the legal certainty so that Theresa May can now, rather than appealing, go ahead, have the debate and leave - not interrupt her timetable.”

Mr Farage accused Ms Miller of giving those in Parliament who argue the referendum does not mean Britain should leave the single market “the chance, effectively, to overturn” Mrs May’s wish and mandate her.

He added: “If that happens, you will have stirred up, I think, the biggest political upset we’ve ever seen.”

Ms Miller insisted the UK has a representative democracy which ensures politicians have to debate issues, adding: "That’s what you argued for the whole way through - parliamentary sovereignty."

Mr Farage replied: "No, no. This is not about whether Parliament is sovereign, it’s about whether the British people are sovereign.

“That’s the real argument here and for you as a pro-EU supporter to talk about parliamentary sovereignty in Britain is a bit rich, isn’t it?”

The duo found common ground after Mr Farage said: “I would now wish to see constitutional change to make referendums binding and that would end this argument and there’d be no need for this case.”

Ms Miller said: “Absolutely.”

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