The High Court’s Judgment in Miller and Others – four brief remarks

Today’s decision by the High Court of England and Wales that the UK Government did not have the power under the Royal Prerogative to initiate the process of withdrawing from the EU laid down in Article 50 TEU came as a surprise to many. Four brief remarks on what the decision might entail politically.

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Theresa May’s Great Repeal Bill – a Scottish own goal?

Theresa May’s announcement of a Great Repeal Bill on Sunday has the hallmarks of a stroke of genius: It creates some momentum in the internal Brexit debate without substantively changing anything, it appeases the die-heart Brexiteers in her party, and it may kill off legal challenges pending in the courts of England and Northern Ireland demanding that Parliament be involved before Article 50 TEU is triggered. The Great Reform Bill however raises interesting constitutional questions with regard to the devolved nations of the UK, and in particular Scotland. Has Theresa May scored an own goal by allowing the Scots to block her first big step towards Brexit? Or is this part of an even more cunning plan to delay having to trigger Article 50 TEU for a very long time?

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A Disunited Kingdom: two Nations in, two Nations out

The United Kingdom is not a centralised state. It is a ‘family of nations’. There is a strong case for arguing that the referendum carries only if a majority of voters in all four nations respectively give their backing. England and Wales voted to leave, but Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain. Recognising that split is not a matter of shifting the goalposts after the fact. It is about respecting an established, indeed a compelling constitutional order.

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