The Return of Power-Sharing in Northern Ireland

After three years power-sharing government has returned to Northern Ireland following extensive discussions and the recent publication of a document by the British and Irish governments. It is a lengthy text containing many proposals, plans and initiatives; the relative incoherence is evidence of the conflicting challenges faced. At the core of the dilemma is how to encourage the representatives of the two main communities in Northern Ireland (nationalist-unionist) to share power once again.

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Avoiding the next Brexit Cliff-Edge

Boris Johnson wants to legally exclude the prolongation of the extension period of the Withdrawal Agreement. The way to prolong it nevertheless would be an amendment of the Withdrawal Agreement itself. Some argue now that any other way to change the transition period than its prolongation by the JC is legally impossible. Another reading of the legal situation is, however, supportable.

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Back to the Future?

Although the UK has appeared to move from one constitutional crisis to the next during this year, there has been a clear direction of travel: 2019 saw both the legislature and the courts strengthening their checks over the executive. The Conservative Party Manifesto may be interpreted as an attempt to reverse this direction of travel and reinstate the executive at the centre of the Constitution.

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Brexit and the CJEU: why the Opinion of the Court Should be Sought as a Matter of Emergency

With the comfortable majority he managed to secure in the Commons, Boris Johnson is now very likely to be able to push through the British Parliament the withdrawal agreement he negotiated with the European Union back in October. Provided that the European Parliament greenlights it quickly enough, it may well come into force by 31 January 2020, deadline of the last extension decision agreed between the EU-27 and the UK. However, one actor of the process seems to have been forgotten: the Court of Justice of the European Union. This could end up being a huge mistake.

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The Failure of the Left to Grasp Brexit

Thursday’s General Election was a bad day for the Labour Party, it spelled the end of Remainism and signalled a historic defeat for the Left. There needs to be serious reflection on all of this because the repercussions are severe and wide-ranging, and broader lessons must be learned, not just for the UK but elsewhere. It turned out, contrary to much expert assessment, that the 2016 referendum was, in fact, binding. The Left failed to grasp this and the underlying disconnect it signified.

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Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement Fails Romanian and Bulgarian Migrant Workers

Romanian and Bulgarian nationals might not be British workers, but they are nevertheless workers. And both the EU and the UK have an ethical responsibility to outline provisions so that Brexit does not further marginalize the very same group of workers who already face discrimination in the British labour market.

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Scotland, Brexit and Independence

The past month has been important for Brexit developments, with UK Prime Minister Johnson attempting a ‘last minute’ Brexit deal with the EU. In particular, arrangements concerning Northern Ireland have featured prominently. But now, all appears to have been set aside for a December UK general election. However, the UK is composed of four nations, and Scotland’s position in the UK union, often ignored in the Brexit context, now appears near to ‘tipping point’, especially after First Minister Sturgeon’s recent  confirmation that Scotland would hold an independence referendum in 2020.

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Fools Rush Out

Few actions when done quickly are done well – and law-making has certainly never been one of them. Late in the evening of 22 October, the House of Commons was asked to approve of a legislative programme which would only have allowed it three days to consider, debate and amend a law which is bound to radically alter the constitutional, political, and economic foundations of the UK. This programme was rightly rejected.

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