Brexit timeline 2016


5 October

Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham; keynote speech Theresa May. The first outline of what Britain should be like after Brexit, and the confirmation that isolationism and nationalism (the bad kind) is ripe within the Tories: “But if you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere. You don’t understand what the very word ‘citizenship’ means.” But more importantly, the speech is an abject example of Conservative hypocracy.

2 November

Miller & Anor, R v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (EWHC) This was the first legal challenge to the Brexit process, and went on appeal to the UK Supreme Court. The question was whether PM & Cabinet can trigger Article 50 and start divorce proceedings themselves, or an Act of Parliament is required to do so. It was argued that, based on the European Communities Act of 1972 , which the UK ratified when it joined, rights granted under that Act cannot be abolished or dismissed by the Executive alone; it needs the legislative branch to pass a law first. The counter-argument of the government was that it doesn’t need an Act of Parliament to trigger Art 50, meaning Parliament doesn’t need to know and doesn’t need to debate about it, since the decision is a prerogative power. Instead, Parliament would most likely have to ratify the final agreement anyway. “Prerogative powers” is a weird vestige of English law, meaning it’s a power belonging to the Crown. But since the monarchy doesn’t get involved in politics anymore, ministers exercise that power on the Crown’s behalf. The government lost this one, and the right-wing press had a field day. The judges had the worst kind of abuse hurled at them in the tabloids. The editor responsible for the most inflammatory headline became May’s official spokesperson.