A Very Good Brexit Deal but a Constitutional Challenge Looms
Juncker Does Not Back an Extension
European Commission President and the EU have reached a deal. European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker opposes and extension. That is not his call but it is what I expected..
In the video, Juncker says he is happy for a deal but sad to see the UK go.
Those who say this is May's deal warmed over are simply wrong.
Constitutional Challenge and Other Details
The Guardian Live Blog discusses a constitutional challenge, DUP opposition, and other details.
Jean-Claude Juncker has tried to help sell the new Brexit deal in the face of opposition from the Democratic Unionist party by pouring doubt on a further Brexit extension in the event of it being rejected.
Juncker said he was “ruling out” a prolongation, although the issue is solely the remit of the heads of state and government. “If we have a deal, we have a deal and there is no need for prolongation,” he added.
Campaigning anti-Brexit QC Jolyon Maugham has now lodged his petition at the court of session in Edinburgh, which essentially tries to ban parliament from debating the new Brexit deal, on the basis that it is illegal, and which he anticipates will be heard tomorrow.
Maugham believes that the deal contravenes s55 of the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018, which states that it is “unlawful for Her Majesty’s government to enter into arrangements under which Northern Ireland forms part of a separate customs territory to Great Britain”.
With the detail of Boris Johnson’s new deal still emerging, lawyers insist that s55 is “crystal clear” and that any form of differentiated deal for Northern Ireland will contravene it.
Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, has already cleared time for an emergency hearing in the court of session at noon on Monday 21 October, where he could issue court orders forcing Johnson to send a letter to the EU asking for an extension to article 50 until 31 January as per the Benn Act.
Boost to Johnson
Johnson Likely Has the Votes
Sir Oliver Letwin will back deal
Sir Oliver Letwin, who had the Conservative whip withdrawn over his rebellion on a no-deal Brexit vote, has said he will back the Prime Minister's deal on Saturday, calling it "admirable"
No Deal Says DUP
These arrangements will become the settled position in these areas for Northern Ireland. This drives a coach and horses through the professed sanctity of the Belfast agreement.
For all of these reasons it is our view that these arrangements would not be in Northern Ireland’s long-term interests. Saturday’s vote in parliament on the proposals will only be the start of a long process to get any withdrawal agreement bill through the House of Commons.
I think it is unlikely, but how would it turn out?
Eurointellience frames it this way:
for those who are still holding out for a second referendum, and who believe that it could easily be won: the problem with most of the polls is that they confound a person’s position on Brexit - Remain vs Leave - with how they would vote in a second referendum. We know a lot of Remainers who believe that the first referendum results needs to be respected, and who would vote no in a second referendum.
A ComRes poll for Channel 5 news produced a more granular survey, and came up with a 50-42 split in favour Leave under a concrete 2nd referendum setting.
When they asked the question whether the 2016 referendum results should be honoured, the response was 54% in favour, and 32% against. It is one poll only - and the numbers are probably going to swing backwards and forwards. But we should be under no illusion that public opinion on Brexit has shifted since the referendum. We see no signs of that.
All's Well That Ends Well
Except nothing has ended.
I suspect all the MPs who lost Tory party membership will regain the whip (membership) if they vote for the deal. That makes passage more likely, but not guaranteed.
There are about 22 Labour MPs who want Brexit and that would likely be enough to offset the 9 DUP votes. This is my guess, Eurointelliugence thinks passage falls short.
If it does pass, legal challenges loom. And Benn is likely to modify the legislation requiring Johnson to seek an extension if it doesn't pass.
Final Irony Coming Up?
One possibility is that if the legal challenge wins, a hard Brexit might happen, which Johnson could blame on Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Remainers.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock