Escaping the  European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019.

Robert  Henderson  

The EU may  have  overreached themselves.  On  9th October the president of  the European parliament David Sassoli  suggested  that a n extension  under Article 50 should only be granted if  either a General Election  or  a second referendum  is  held during the extension period, viz:

 Mr Sassoli told the European Parliament: “I had a fruitful discussion with Speaker Bercow in which I set out my view that any request for an extension should allow the British people to give its views in a referendum or an election.”

‘France’s Europe Minister Amélie de Montchalin backed the plan and said: “If there are new elections or a new referendum, if there is a political shift leading us to believe we could have a different dialogue from the one we have today, then an extension can be discussed.”  ‘

If the EU  stick by the conditions  Sassoli wants to  see attached to an extension it raises the question of  what  exactly the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 can  force upon a Prime Minister .

The Act requires Mr Johnson to send  to the EU  this letter if there is no agreement between the UK and the EU:

“Dear Mr President,

The UK Parliament has passed the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019. Its provisions now require Her Majesty’s Government to seek an extension of the period provided under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, including as applied by Article 106a of the Euratom Treaty, currently due to expire at 11.00pm GMT on 31 October 2019, until 11.00pm GMT on 31 January 2020.

I am writing therefore to inform the European Council that the United Kingdom is seeking a further extension to the period provided under Article 50(3) of the Treaty on European Union, including as applied by Article 106a of the Euratom Treaty. The United Kingdom proposes that this period should end at 11.00pm GMT on 31 January 2020. If the parties are able to ratify before this date, the Government proposes that the period should be terminated early.

Yours sincerely,

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”

Thus Mr  Johnson is certainly obligated to seek a simple  extension without conditions.  But there is nothing in the Act which obligates him to accept an offer of an extension with conditions for the question of conditions is not mentioned in the Act.

The   failure to mention conditions either generally or specifically  might well be sufficient to negate the need for Johnson to accept the offer of an extension which had conditions attached  such as those the EU had stipulated.    However, there  are  also the tests of irrationality and unreasonableness   in English law.

 Lord Greene MR said this in the Wednesbury case“If a  decision on a competent matter  is so unreasonable that no reasonable authority could ever have come to it, then the courts can interfere, and this kind of case would require something overwhelming. “

Lord Diplock in a case involving GCHQ :  said  this: “By ‘irrationality’ I mean what can by now be succinctly referred to as ‘Wednesbury unreasonableness’. This applies to a decision which is so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question  to be decided could have arrived at”

The idea that Johnson (or any Prime Minister) have to accept whatever conditions the EU place on an extension is clearly unreasonable because the EU could ask for anything no matter how absurd,  for example, the EU  might  demand £100  billion as a condition for agreeing to  an extension or   stipulated that the extension period be for   years?   Both irrationality and unreasonableness would surely  apply in such  instances.

If the EU back  the   stipulation that an extension will  only be granted if there was a general election or a second  referendum  is objectively damaging to our democracy because it  is a gross interference with UK politics and is specifically designed to further the EU’s interests and not those of the UK .

 To obey the Act    Mr  Johnson is required to do no more than seek an extension.

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1 Response to Escaping the  European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019.

  1. John says:

    We should have left the European Union a day after we voted OUT.
    What a bunch of traitors we have in the establishment. Time for some replacements in the establishment for they sure don’t represent the British (Anglo-Saxons Celts). Enough is enough of this malarkey.
    What a drain these so called elitists are.

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