Eurosceptics are up in arms today following the High Court’s ruling that Theresa May would have to seek Parliamentary approval before she can trigger Brexit by invoking Article 50. “A great betrayal is underway”, Nigel Farage wrote in this morning’s Telegraph. “It was a mistake for the courts to intervene on such a huge political issue,” Philip Johnson said. Iain Duncan Smith accused the judges – Lord Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Terence Etherton, the Master of the Rolls, and Lord Justice Sales – of risking a “constitutional crisis” by “pitting Parliament against the will of the people”.
The Attorney General is already under pressure to resign after losing the High Court case, with Tory MPs saying that Jeremy Wright should be replaced by a more experienced lawyer. The Government has already pledged to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, although an insider told this newspaper that ministers are resigned to losing the case. If this happens, ministers are preparing an Act of Parliament on the triggering of Article 50, which would mean that both the Commons and Lords would be able to debate, amend and vote on it before it is invoked. This process could end up delaying Brexit by a year, as Europhile MPs are already planning how to exploit it. George Osborne and Nicky Morgan have already indicated that they would seek to use it to force Mrs May to reveal in the Commons her plans for Brexit, despite her prior refusal to “show her cards” before starting formal negotiations.
There are 17.4 million reasons why they won’t try to throw out the bill in the hopes of stopping Brexit, and they’re called voters. But that won’t stop them trying to table amendments to water down the type of Brexit Parliament goes on to approve. Hillary Benn has already admitted that he would approve Article 50 in a vote, but hinted that his fellow Europhiles could target “what we should be seeking in negotiations”. If they succeed, Mrs May could be forced to trigger an early general election in order to increase her majority in the Commons. “If we get to the stage where [MPs] are not willing to allow this negotiation to even begin,” Dominic Raab warned, “I think there must be an increased chance that we will need to go to the country again.” One minister said that Mrs May and her closest advisers are “completely against” calling an early general election, but could this change?
The Government seems quietly optimistic about its chances in a vote on Article 50, as Sajid Javid told BBC’s Question Time last night that it could win such a vote next week if necessary. But how would it fare in the Lords? Europhile peers could try and obstruct the bill without having to worry about voters, but Eurosceptic MPs are already onto them. Jacob Rees-Mogg suggests in today’s paper that the 1911 Parliament Act may be needed to ram the bill through the Lords, or the Government could create “a thousand new peers to overcome the Remain majority in the Upper House”.
In the meantime Theresa May is talking to Jean Claude-Juncker today to make clear to him that the High Court ruling won’t stop her from taking Britain out of the European Union. You can follow what happens today on our liveblog here. “In Brussels, the court verdict has been widely interpreted as the first step in the undoing of Britain’s plebiscite,” Dan Hannan warns. The Prime Minister won’t let judges take her off course.
I do not of course get a vote in the Labour leadership election and do not think they wish to follow my thoughts on their two candidates. However, I felt I should let it be known that as a Conservative who does not want to see a Labour government in 2020 I would love it if Owen Smith won the leadership and tried to lead Labour into the 2020 election.
It is his hatred of democracy which, I think, shines through so admirably, and would curse any party led by him. Just a short few months after Mr Corbyn won the labour leadership by a landslide he thinks he has the right to overthrow the elected and popular leader who did not himself want or see the need for a leadership election.
That is an internal matter for Labour, but given Mr Corbyn’s unique ability to enroll new members of his party on a huge scale, it might be a matter of some concern to Labour supporters.
More crucial is Mr Smith’s obvious distaste for national democracy. He seriously suggests an Opposition led by him should dedicate itself this Parliament to thwarting the wishes of the people as expressed in a referendum, despite the Remain campaign saying throughout the referendum period that a vote to Leave would have to mean we left the EU with all the dire consequences they wrongly forecast,
Apparently, Mr Smith thinks they should block any efforts to leave in Parliament and should demand a second referendum, in the vain hope that that might produce a different result.
The eurosceptic Five Star Movement (M5S) has overtaken Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) in several opinion polls and is now the most popular political party in Italy.
The poll results represent a significant shift in Italy’s political landscape and have potentially far-reaching implications for the future of the European Union.
M5S, which would win national elections if they were held today, has called for a referendum on whether Italy, which is facing the collapse of its banking system, should keep the euro, the single currency of the European Union, or bring back the Italian lira.
A move by Italy — the third-largest economy in the eurozone — to abandon the euro could strike a potentially fatal blow to the currency and to the bloc itself.
An Ipsos poll, published by the newspaper Corriere della Sera on July 5, gave M5S 30.6% of the vote, up from 28.9% in April, while Renzi’s center-left PD fell to 29.8% from 31.1%.
Jean-Claude Juncker is a wily and formidable operator with a strong motive to resent Britain that is rooted in David Cameron’s campaign to stop him taking the European Union’s most powerful job.
As European Commission president he will be prepared to cut a deal with Britain, even to hand powers back from Brussels to Westminster but the abrasive, hard-drinking and heavy-smoking Luxembourger is not inclined to make life easy for the British government.
To begin with, Mr Juncker is this week expected to block Britain from taking the post as the EU commissioner responsible for the single market, the policy portfolio most desired by Downing Street.
The Pew survey shows a split in EU favorability, but that doesn’t tell the entire story. EU approval is still fairly high in parts of Eastern Europe where it’s seen as a bulwark against Russia. On the other hand its popularity is underwater in Spain, Greece and the UK (no surprise considering Brexit) and it hits disapproval highs in France of 61 percent. Frexit would be a terrible portmanteau but it is on the radar.
And without the UK or France, the EU would consist of Germany bossing a bunch of smaller countries around. Not that Germans are all that high on the EU either. It’s got a 50 to 48 favorable.
What’s interesting about the numbers coming out of France is just how unpopular, across the board, the EU is with the left, the right and the center. And even among the youth, where approval tends to be highest, support taps out at 56 percent.