The Prime Minister doesn’t have to ask for an extension under the Benn Act. Here’s why and the irony is delicious

Here, David brings a concise analysis, seemingly following the principles summarised in the Brexit Legal Guide’s EU Law & The ECJ, published by Lawyers For Britain.  This is  helpful after my deep reservations on the ‘Supreme’ Court’s travesty of justice in judging against the PM’s advice to Her Majesty for the proroguing of Parliament.  However, one regular reader makes a sound criticism of David’s claims!

6 thoughts on “The Prime Minister doesn’t have to ask for an extension under the Benn Act. Here’s why and the irony is delicious

  1. I am afraid that David W is almost certainly completely wrong in his claim. Whilst EU law does indeed take precedence, this is irrelevant since he is misunderstanding Section 2 of the “Benn Act”. Except in specific circumstances motions have no legal force in themselves, and the mechanism set out is not attempting to modify existing law or to make new law directly. For example, if the UK Parliament does not approve the motion set out in 2(a) then – in law – the UK is still leaving at the end of the month unless an extension is agreed with the EU.

    Instead, and taken in context, the motion is simply one device in a process designed to constrain the government in its approach to 31st October. Extension is a right enshrined within EU law (indeed, by treaty) and any constitutionally-valid domestic means may be adopted in decided to exercise that right, or otherwise. It is very hard to see how an impartial and competent judge could see things otherwise.

    This point, and similar objections, have been raised by several posters on David W’s blog including yours truly (and he has not passed every objection through moderation). Unfortunately, and compounding his error, his responses have mainly been arrogant, dismissive, rude and thin-skinned. He has made little attempt to engage with the substance of arguments, instead resorting to ad hominem attacks on critics and dubious appeals to authority. We are all wrong from time to time, and few of us like to be corrected. However anyone with the presumption to broadcast their opinions to all and sundry has to accept criticsm. In my experience, those unwilling to subject their views to testing or to countenance the possibility that they might be wrong are more likely ultimately to be found wanting.

    I have also pointed out to David W that the courts would be a significant obstacle to enforcing his claim, since they now seem to operate in an overtly political manner (as we have seen recently with the Supreme Court and also with the CJEU, which fabricated a right to revoke A.50). His response was a bald “they can’t”, which he has refused to discuss further. This is particularly bizarre, since an immediately adjacent article sets out David W’s (valid) complaint that the Supreme Court is now an unaccountable body which can, and does, do whatever it likes.

    It is of course possible that the “Benn Act” does contain one or two loopholes or flaws – including unanticipated consequences of EU law. However, the idea that such an obvious and simple one has escaped the notice of the experienced schemers behind the Act is, at the very least, questionable.

    David W’s comments must therefore be treated with extreme circumspection.

    Why does this matter? We should by all means call out and condemn Remainer (and Leaver) actions which are unethical, dishonest, disingenuous or illegal. However it is a dangerous game to pin Leaver hopes on attempts at similarly clever-clever arguments and manoeuvres, unless they are on very firm ground. It is a game which a cunning, ruthless and unprincipled opponent will almost always win.

    Liked by 1 person

      • No problem – it was mainly for my benefit! I have read a number of similar claims on the internet and decided it was high time to look into one of them thoroughly. I could, of course, actually be in the wrong …

        PS People who know me will tell you that, unlike “joe”, the “unholy” part of my penname is accurate.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ye I’d seen them and thus appreciate your digging into the claims arriving at some conclusions here. After all. it’s rather like the prophetic wherein words and visions are aired we individually need to weigh with scripture and seek the Lord – as well as testing and seeing if they actually do come to pass. I like the factual approach yet, on the other hand, respect your ‘handle’ rather than divulge name (per email).


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