It is now two weeks since we woke up to the nightmare. Two weeks since the world changed. Two weeks since our smug metropolitan elitism was rightly, smashed.
It is time for a plan: a plan to rescue democracy. It is a plan in three parallel parts:
- A progressive alliance; and
- A movement for London.
Let us start with Brexit. The other two will wait for another post. No one really knows how Article 50 is supposed to work, since there is no precedent. We have only the text of the article and its context. The key concern and unknown is, “can an Article 50 notification be rescinded before completion of exit negotiations?”
Let us assume that it can: this was the opinion of the learned Judge Sir David Edward QC in his evidence to the House of Lords, and there are several other authoritative expressions of the same opinion. In which case, it is not unreasonable to impose a condition on the notification, and it is my contention that it would be both prudent and polite to do so – certainly, more polite than rescinding the notification without warning at some stage in the future. For the sake of discussion, therefore, I offer this draft of the instrument by which Her Majesty’s Government should notify the European Council of its intention to leave the European Union:.
DRAFT Article 50 Notification
“Her Majesty’s Government, having regard to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and the results of the advisory referendum held on 23rd of June 2016, on this day hereby gives notice subject to the following conditions to the European Council that the UK intends to leave the European Union:
In this Notification, the following terms shall have meanings as set out in this clause:
Exit Terms means together:
- terms relating to the conclusion of obligations subsisting between the parties as a consequence of the UK’s membership of the EU, and
- terms relating to the subsequent relationship between the UK and the EU.
Repealing Act means
An Act of Parliament which shall provide for a binding Confirmation Referendum and in Part II of which shall repeal the European Communities Act 1972 as subsequently amended.
Confirmation Referendum means
A referendum, the result of which shall be binding, enabled by the Repealing Act, asking the question:
Should the UK:
Accept the Provisional Exit Terms and Leave the European Union, or
Reject the Provisional Exit Terms and Remain a member of the European Union.
(2) Publication of provisional Exit Terms within 18 months
The EU and and the UK shall no later than eighteen months from the date of this Notification have concluded and published provisional Exit Terms;
(3) Holding of a Confirmation Referendum three months later
The UK shall no later than three months from the date on which provisional Exit Terms are concluded and published and no later than twenty-one months from the date of this Notification hold a Confirmation Referendum
(4) Exit to be completed within two years
In the event that a majority of the votes cast in the Confirmation Referendum are to Accept the provisional Exit Terms, the UK shall cease to be a member of the European Union and Part II of the Repealing Act shall come into force no later than two years from the date of this Notification.
(5) Possible rescission of Article 50 Notification.
In the event that a majority of the votes cast in the Confirmation Referendum are to Reject the Provisional Exit Terms, this notification shall be rescinded with immediate effect, the UK will Remain a member of the European Union and Part II of the Repealing Act shall not come into force.
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