Brexit, Democracy and Peace in Northern Ireland

How to give the people of Northern Ireland a democratic say over the new legal arrangements that will apply to them under the Withdrawal Agreement? Given the deeply divided nature of Northern Irish society, this is a legal, political and constitutional conundrum. The WA, exceptionally for an EU/international treaty, sets out a complex mechanism regulating how the Northern Ireland Assembly may vote in the future to grant or withhold democratic consent to the terms of the WA as it applies to Northern Ireland. However, this mechanism may yet prove to be a recipe for future political conflict.

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‘Our Precious Union’: The Backstop and the Constitutional Integrity of the UK

The decision of the Prime Minister Theresa May to stand down if the Parliament approves the Withdrawal Agreement has led a number of passionate proponents of Brexit including Boris Johnson to change their view of the deal. Still, the Democratic Unionist Party said on Wednesday that the Brexit deal and in particular the backstop posed ‘an unacceptable threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom.’ This is significant not only because the DUP is in a confidence-and-supply arrangement with the Government but also because a number of ardent Brexiteers such as Jacob Rees-Mogg have said that their stance towards the deal depends on DUP’s position. In light of another meaningful vote, one has to wonder whether the DUP’s fears concerning the threat of the backstop to the constitutional integrity of the UK are justified.

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Wege aus dem Brexit-Chaos: Weshalb die EU die Initiative ergreifen sollte

Das Vereinigte Königreich hat sich seit der Entscheidung für den Brexit im Juni 2016 nicht gerade als Musterbeispiel für gutes Regieren präsentiert. Dennoch: Die EU sollte dem Vereinigten Königreich noch einmal entgegenkommen und ein Angebot machen, das eine Mehrheit für den Ausstiegsvertrag im britischen Unterhaus doch noch ermöglicht. Jetzt ist politische Führung gefragt.

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Safety Net, Trap or Trampoline – Will the Backstop Lead to a No Deal Brexit?

Following yesterday’s announcement that the UK and the EU have agreed a revised text of the draft Withdrawal Agreement, the political fallout in the UK has begun with the UK Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab’s resignation from the Government. In his resignation letter, it is the so-called ‘backstop’ arrangements to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland that appears to be the primary cause of discontent.

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What’s in a name? A Brexit we can all enjoy

Northern Ireland will have a ,hard Brexit' as any other part of the UK and, at the same time, be subject to a ,regulatory alignment' with the Republic of Ireland and, hence, the EU. Such is the elegance of this solution, that one might be tempted to mistake it for a genuine policy innovation. In fact, using a made up name for something that you are already doing and calling it ‘new’ has a long pedigree and has been used aplenty.

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First Thoughts on the UK General Election Result 2017

The Faustian pact by the UK Tory Party with the Northern Irish DUP will bring all the messy and ugly history of Northern Irish sectarianism back into mainstream of our politics. My recipe for the Tory party to save itself from the damnation of Faust is for it to remove Theresa May "with all deliberate speed" and replace her as leader with Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

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Limiting the Constitutional Space of Scotland and Northern Ireland

Scotland might soon be having a second independence referendum, and Ireland is pushing for Northern Ireland rejoining the EU after Brexit. Why does the noble idea of a differentiated Brexit, that could absorb some of the tensions created by UK’s future withdrawal from the EU, seem to lose traction even within the political elites of Scotland and Northern Ireland? One possible answer might be that the UK political and constitutional framework does not provide for a supportive environment. In fact, the judgment of the Supreme Court in Miller points to the limits of the UK political and constitutional order to accommodate the demands of the devolved nations.

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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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INIS Free? Towards a Scots-Irish Union

A post Brexit union of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland would be one way of achieving what the majority of the electors of Northern Ireland and Scotland who voted in the Brexit referendum sought to achieve, namely to remain within the EU and retain their EU citizenship. Historically, there is considerable precedent for such a Scotch-Irish Union.

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BrEXIT AND BreUK-UP

How to balance the aim of the UK to leave the European Union with the complex independence and border issues this would cause in Scotland and Northern Ireland? One possible scenario could be for Scotland to broker a five-year EFTA-EEA "naughty step" membership for the United Kingdom, at the end of which Scotland could itself become an independent EFTA-EEA member state and thus be well positioned to re-enter the European Union.

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