UK Supreme Court Brexit case: How or if it happens?
Thom Brooks, EU law professor from Durham University and Jon Gaunt from talk2meradio.com discussed these questions on RT.
Pro-Brexit campaigners gathered Monday outside the British Parliament demanding Brexit implementation.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has begun a four-day hearing on whether the UK government needs parliamentary approval before starting the withdrawal from the EU.
For more on the matter, RT was joined by Thom Brooks, EU law professor at Durham University and Jon Gaunt, host at talk2meradio.com.
RT: Thom, from your experience, how close-run is what is being discussed now?
Thom Brooks: I think the High Court decision forcing the government to get parliamentary approval came as no surprise to virtually every lawyer or legal academic I know. It was fairly bread and butter, British constitutional law taught in year one. And I don’t see any change right now.
RT: Do you believe that what is being discussed right now is purely a legal matter, or is this actually a debate not about how Brexit happens, but about whether it happens?
TB: This is entirely about the legal process. I think if the government is really concerned about slowing things up, it should just get parliamentary approval and get on with it, rather than wasting your time in this way. I have very much the sense that the Prime Minister is trying to find anyone other than her government to blame for failing to come up with the plan for what Brexit means. This is very straightforward constitutional law. People wanted Britain’s Parliament, the mother of our Parliaments to take back control. The Courts have said: “Well, it should.” Neither of this should have come to surprise to her, and they’ve offered no arguments here – any different from the High Court. I can’t see the verdict being any different.
RT: Jon, do you accept that this is just a purely legal matter, or are you concerned as a Brexiteer that this is something more suspicious?
Jon Gaunt: It is an utter farce. I think the appeal judges will go the same way as the original judges and say it is going to go back to Parliament. I don’t really understand why Theresa May is wasting her time and our money on this case. The facts are - it will go back to Parliament, and it will get approved, because the Labor Party, the main opposition party, have said they won’t stand against the will of the people and most of the Tories won’t either. So it will go through. The bottom line here is it is a legal spat, it is a legal argument. But no one should be under any doubt at all. When we were given this referendum in 2015, it was obviously meant to be down to the will of the people. There was no idea that it was going come back to Parliament; there was no suggestion of that. Indeed during the referendum, many of the main figures including the Prime Minister David Cameron said: “This is a once in a generation decision.” He said if we voted for Brexit, he would pull the lever the very next day. He didn’t. What he actually did was resign.
Now we’ve got Remainers, people like Nick Clegg, and of course, don’t forget Theresa May, our Prime Minister. She didn’t want to go; our Chancellor didn’t want to go, and the good professor himself – basically trying to do anything they can to delay our inevitable exit out of the EU. This is something, which the British people have voted for. Let me remind you: 17. 4 million people voted for this. Let’s get on with it, let’s get out of the undemocratic EU. The people have spoken here in the UK.
RT: Thom, what happens now if this does go to the MPs? Where do they stand? Do they have that power to turn around and say: “We don’t like this”? Let’s be honest, the majority of them have already made it clear that they are opposed to Brexit. Can they do that?
TB: They could if they wanted to, I don’t think many will. The majority of the MPs campaigned to remain instead of Brexit. And if it is their vote they could vote that way. It’s true that a referendum is only advisory, it is not a change in the law. Anyone who thought that the law would change because of the referendum doesn’t know how parliamentary democracy works in this country, it is not how the law is changed – that happens on the acts of Parliament...
RT: Thom, you think the MPs won’t go against the will of the public, but then you said they probably won’t. For example, you and your friends, who voted the same, would you like to see the decision overturned?
TB: I don’t know if I want it to be stopped. The public has given a very clear view that they want to leave, and that is the will of the people, that is what should happen. I think all minds need to be turned now on what exactly Brexit means. There are a lot of people shouting: “Let’s leave now, it is just a matter of cutting the cord and then being free.” They overlook the number of legal regulations that will need to be sorted out. It is not as simple as getting a trade deal; it is not as simple as figuring out what rules we want to keep, what rules we want to change, and what rules we want to scrub…
JG: Well, that is absolutely rubbish. The responsibility - if there is any responsibility - was the government of the time. The government didn’t do anything because the government thought that we’re going to win. The people spoke – the government lost, we can Brexit, let’s get on with it; let’s get a trade deal with America. Donald Trump is already making overtures to us, so is Japan, so is India, so are many countries, as well. It is pretty straightforward. We all knew what we were voting for. We would vote in to get out and get out straightaway.
When David Cameron threatened us and said: “Ok, I’ll do it the very next day,” most people, who wanted out, applauded that - they were quite happy with that. The British people have spoken. People are just trying to delay it, whether it is Nick Clegg, David Cameron, or Tony Blair, or any other member of the establishment’s elite. What is happening here is people’s revolution. It’s happened in the USA with Donald Trump. It happened yesterday in Italy, and it happened here on June 23. We want out of the EU, and the government should now deliver it.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.