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Brexit legal challenge: Busiest court in living memory hears judges say case WILL be heard by the Lord Chief Justice

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October court hearing set as parties consider leap frog appeal to Supreme Court

Lead1

Anyone who’s anyone flocked to the High Court this morning to watch the Brexit legal challenge get underway. And the court was packed to the rafters as Sir Brian Leveson — of phone hacking inquiry fame — and Mr Justice Cranston announced that the full hearing will be heard in front of the Lord Chief Justice on an as yet unconfirmed date in October.

Those in attendance listened intently as seven silks — including occasional journalist David Pannick QC and Maitland Chambers heavyweight Dominic Chambers QC — teased out some of the tricky procedural details necessarily inherent in a case with so many claimants.

The headline claimant was a British hairdresser called Deir Dos Santos, described by his lawyer as “just an ordinary guy”, but there were many other “concerned citizens” who also wanted to be involved in the litigation.

All the claimants are advancing similar arguments: they’re looking to the court — as a check and balance on government power — to ensure parliament is given a vote on whether to invoke article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty (the clause which will trigger the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union).

The court decided that the new lead claimant would be Pannick’s client Gina Miller, and the others can be added to the litigation as interested or intervening parties.

Spare a thought for Jason Coppel QC, tasked with defending the (new) defendant — the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, David Davis — against all those claimants.

He was asked a number of grilling questions by Leveson as the judge tried to discern exactly what the government’s intentions on leaving the EU might be, something of a grey area, to put it mildly.

Not impressed by Coppel’s sometimes fumbled answers, Leveson told him to “articulate in a language that is clear”, which made the court chuckle.

The proceedings took a more somber turn in an exchange between Pannick and the judges’ bench about the “racist, anti-Semitic and objectionable” abuse directed at law firm Mishcon de Reya.

The court said this has deferred would-be claimants from bringing actions and, in fact, may amount to contempt of court and certainly amounted to criminal behaviour.

The next hearing will be in October. The preliminary hearing date is the 17 October.

If the losing party decides to appeal this decision, it’s possible the Supreme Court will hear a leapfrog appeal by the end of 2016. This expedited procedure is necessary to ensure the courts are in line with the government’s timetable for invoking article 50.

93 Comments

Not Amused

I look forward to there being a costs order against the claimants if they lose. This pantomime is pretty transparent.

(39)(63)

Anonymous

The Leave campaign was a pantomime, with Johnson the principal clown. Too bad it wasn’t transparent enough to stop so many people being fooled by fake promises and misinformation. Let’s hope now the lawyers can rescue some sanity from this dismal mess and that instead of mob rule we shall see our sovereign parliament members get to do the job we elected them to do … and make the best decision on everyone’s behalf.

(74)(30)

Tim Cannell

This is a farce – the elected government offered the people a referendum to decide this issue, and decide they have. We must now leave – democracy is at stake and the elites must not be allowed to interfer.

(42)(46)

Anonymous

It was a non binding referendum which will have influenced how people voted or if they did not vote. True leavers will have been motivated to vote. Therefore you can deduce a maximum of 37 % want change expressed as leave. What leave means is undefined.

It is not democratic to present a non binding referendum and then take the result as a mandate and tell people to shut up the people have spoken

That is how fascist states behave. We have yet to descend to that.

If it is the will of the country to leave once defined that will stand the test of various processes. Reality is leave knows the majority do not back leave and want to rush this through before the true facts assert themselves.

(49)(22)

Brexit

‘ Reality is leave knows the majority do not back leave’ Quiet a statement, which you will provide undoubtable proof of?.

(7)(11)

Anonymous

Your wrong. Fascist states don’t allow courts to adjudicate, nor allow the leaders to act without the consent of parliament. This is anti-fascism in action.

(1)(5)

Anonymous

It seems a pity that you regard due constituonal process and the democratic right to challenge as an interference. Perhaps you should be reminded that 2 out of the 4 nations of the United Kingdom voted to remain and, on aggregate, the result was little more than a 50/50, irrespective of the dubious factual basis on which the Leave vote was based. Hardly the basis for a functional Parliamentary democracy is it . Struggle to see what the interfence of your so called ‘ elites’ has to do with that. If less than 52% of the UK voted for death by stoning would you support that as well ?

(13)(14)

Tim Cannell

A load of rubbish frankly – the Remain campaign summoned all the vast resource of domestic, European and international vested interest pro-EU institutions. Their abhorrent scaremongering was an absolute disgrace; but despite this the electorate saw through their lies and voted to leave; and leave behind the sanctioned corruption of the EU we shall.

(36)(44)

Anonymous

Yep, and this is simply the next stage in the attempt at blocking democracy.

(20)(19)

Anonymous

Democracy involves the rule of law. Why exactly do you expect an advisory referendum to carry the same influence as a binding referendum? They are different animals completely. The first simply advises parliament, the second has the power to instruct.
No one is ‘blocking democracy’ here, the lawyers are simply ensuring that citizens’ rights are upheld and the government complies with the law. Is that a problem?

(27)(14)

Sjgorrit

So it seems that this court case will hold up any action of article 50 til it has a conclusion.

(5)(2)

Anonymous

What an arrogant bastard.

Learn to deal, the country is leaving the EU.

(25)(32)

Anonymous

That comment of yours, is nowhere near correct. Telling the truth, explaining the facts and abiding by the law is not arrogance. It is what should happen in a parliamentary democracy.

It is you who needs to learn that you live in a country which is ruled by the constitution and the law. No one is above the law, not the prime minister or her ministers; not even parliament. The law is supreme, get used to it.

(18)(9)

Anonymous

Both sides lied that’s politics but if the court’s over turned brexit there would b a cival war start in the coutry –

(14)(11)

Arthur Daley

congrats to all involved for making the legal profession look even more elitist and out of touch than it’s already regarded as. quite a feat.

also congrats for issuing a JR on a basic point of constitutional law (which they obviously already know the answer to) purely to aid political hokey-cokey.

(25)(50)

Anonymous

“Basic constitutional law” that academic lawyers are presently hotly debating with views on both sides.

Almost like the “absolutely crystal clear” Labour party rules on leadership elections with lawyers equally split as to which was correct.

(33)(6)

Anonymous

sounds like a great chummy social gathering with the lords and ladies and sirs and dames all back slapping each other at how great they are

(16)(34)

Anonymous

As if this matters anyway. No parliament is going to vote against the result of a referendum. This a complete waste of time, and (more importantly) money.

On a more general note, I’m increasingly annoyed by the self-importance the legal profession displays (and I say this as a lawyer). I bet this hearing is excruciating: a bunch of legal ‘celebrities’ circle jerking about how they’re the guardians of the constitution and how they are the only people capable of giving effect to ‘the will of the people’, our some equally mindless platitude. Aside from anything, these guys obviously don’t care about the people, are just trying to get the decision reversed but mask it in a cloak of self-righteousness (and I say this as a Bremain voter).

(40)(30)

Anonymous

Bollocks

(5)(17)

Anonymous

twat

(6)(13)

Anonymous

The referendum status was ‘advisory’ – no question about that – and in common with any opinion poll, it could not be ‘won’. The UK people have not decided, instructed or ordered the government to do anything, despite the spin that Cameron and May have decided to put on it. The referendum result establishes a snapshot of public opinion, but nothing more.
Our parliament – our representative democracy – is sovereign; patriotic Brexiters should welcome its involvement in the debate. It is now for the elected representatives of our sovereign parliament to discuss the incredibly diverse implications of Brexit and decide in a free vote whether it is in the best interests of the UK. This is precisely how a representative democracy should work, and I for one don’t remember seeing a ‘mob rule’ option when I voted in the last general election. Whether people ‘thought’ the referendum was a decisive, binding vote or not is irrelevant, because it very definitely was not.
I take serious exception to being deprived of my citizens’ rights in 27 EU countries on the basis of an opinion poll substituting intelligent parliamentary debate and decision; my fate should not rest with lying Leave politicians or Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda – and I should not be dictated to by those who find their wisdom at the bottom of a beer glass or in the clutch of plastic union flag. It is entirely right that there is legal intervention in this whole shabby affair. Bring it on!

(141)(35)

Michael

Well said. My sentiments exactly. I’m also tired of the “you lost, grow up, accept it” brigade.

(65)(22)

Anonymous

bet you are, you spoonfed, whinging tosser

(17)(29)

Anonymous

it is interesting to note the terse vulgar language of those who oppose parliamentary democracy in contrast to those capable of expressing a well reasoned argument in favour of it.
I know who would have my support and respect.

(26)(8)

Anonymous

Love the EU that much go and live there

(20)(39)

Alex

I already do live there mate – in a place called the UK..

(55)(17)

Anonymous

we currently do … or had you not noticed that?

(18)(4)

A distinguished lawyer

No it bloody wasn’t! Cameron ran the election on the basis that he would hold a BINDING referendum, not an advisory referendum.

That’s what he did.

This bunch of lunatics trying to subvert democracy are a disgrace, and I speak as one who voted to remain!

(23)(30)

John

Where does the EU Referendum Act say it’s binding? Would genuinely like to know

(32)(5)

Anonymous

Cameron might have promised a binding referendum, but as a matter of parliamentary record that is not what he delivered. The vote has no validity in law – it was only advisory.
The subsequent talk from Cameron and May about honouring the people’s ‘decision’ or ‘will’ is cheap language intended to lend weight to the weightless. Our sovereign parliament can note the narrow majority inclination, but should proceed to a full debate and free vote on the Brexit issue so that we can have an authentic, considered outcome – whether for or against – in accordance with the representative democratic system we have in the UK. The legal initiative here to secure that essential parliamentary involvement is not an abuse of democracy – it is precisely the opposite. Would you really prefer to see mob rule on the back of a glorified opinion poll?

(24)(5)

Anonymous

It’s about as binding as Boaty McBoatface. You want to trust a politician’s promise? Get it in writing

(8)(1)

Anonymous

Distinguished lawyer, if you want to find lunatics subverting democracy, look no further than Johnson, Gove and company, and a new PM who thinks its OK to pretend an advisory referendum is the same as a binding referendum. Jeez, the politicians ice up a turd and sell it as a fairy cake, and you say it’s the people who complain about it are undemocratic subversives? I don’t think so!

(6)(5)

Anonymous

Well said!

(4)(1)

Anonymous

You can bring it on, but it’s pointless. It’s highly unlikely the high court will intervene in this, as it sets an awful precedent for any future referendums. And even if it was deemed a parliament act is needed, parliament will get the majority it needs anyway. It’s just a waste of money. Nothing more and nothing less.

(4)(3)

Mik.

So had remain won , would that have been advisory and gone to parliament, or would it have been happily put to bed as the will of the people.

(10)(1)

Anonymous

The referendum was advisory by virtue of the status afforded it at conception; there was no possibility of a Leave result being advisory, but a Remain result being decisive. While one side can show a numerically dominant opinion, no one ‘wins’ an advisory referendum because it lacks any power of decision. As to your hypothesis, if Remain had ‘won’ then, being an advice to maintain the status quo, the parliamentary involvement would be less than that required to consider the ripping up of forty years of EU integrated legislation and the potential dismantling of half the United Kingdom – so yes, a Remain opinion outcome would be tucked up in the parliamentary bed long before the other. The important point is that a referendum result of either persuasion can only advise parliament, and parliament alone is the sovereign agency for debate and final decision. This is a normal feature of our representative democracy – it is not some devious Bremain conspiracy!

(10)(5)

Scep Tick

Why is precious court time and taxpayer money being wasted on a challenge to something that might not even happen? This is just the 1% showing off at the expense of the plebs. Again.

(7)(26)

Anonymous

Should they somehow manage to stop Brexit, I’m sure all those people who won’t lose their jobs will be REALLY mad at the 1%ers.

(14)(1)

Anonymous

Of course they will. They voted Brexit, how much critical faculty do you think these people have?

(3)(6)

Anonymous

I think the comments section on here has accidentally become conflated with the Daily Mail Online comments section.

(35)(2)

Chancerypupil

Indeed, Not Amused’s mental right-wing nut job rantings often appear to closely resemble those of the Daily Mail “intellectuals” who use big words to convey small ideas.

Mind you better that the usual leave-voting rhetoric:

Foooootballl!!!! Imigrunts!!!! Brawn Peepul!!! Daaa’n like the EU coz itz just braaa’n peepul innit comin here and gettin 7 bed cancil auses (says leave voting chav whilst sending a dick pick and contemplating next sexual assault).

(12)(17)

Anonymous

Because describing people as chavs and insinuating football fans are racist isn’t horribly right-wing?

(12)(3)

Anonymous

No, probably just sensible.

(7)(5)

Anonymous

Classist scum

(5)(1)

Anonymous

Filthy prole.

(1)(3)

BRS

I think you mean pleb

(4)(1)

ALawyer

Well as a smart Chancery Pupil I am sure you can quickly explain how you reconcile the democratic deficit in the heart of the EU with this countries democratic heritage and principles. The democratic deficit includes but is not limited to the fact, the European Commission is unelected but is the only part of the EU bodies that can propose or repeal legislation, thus the EU Parliament can not propose or repeal legislation, the only parliament in the world that can not. The MEP quota system in the EU which gives Maltese citizens 15 times per head the voting power of those from the UK. The increasing areas of QMV. The replacement of democratically elected heads of government in Greece and Italy. The insistence that Ireland re-run their referendum until they came to the “right” result. You might also want to comment on quotes by Junker such as “We decide on something, leave it lying around and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back” and “If it’s a Yes, we will say ‘on we go’, and if it’s a No we will say ‘we continue'” (on the 2005 French Referendum on Lisbon) and “There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties”.

(16)(5)

Anonymous

don’t forget to take a pic of your morning pre-bleached tache

(0)(3)

Not Amused

I’d rather be a right wing nutjob than practice chancery. Revolving, boring androids………….

(1)(4)

Chancerypupil

What because Crime is just so so so interesting? I get to meet all sorts of people from different walks of life- Just going to the mags day in day out to see the same old people is far more tiresome. Its all just the same at least my work has variety. And guess what – Ive done some crime too! Its really very boring listening to people lie all day.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Well, Parliament should vote, and vote against. What are the leave voters really going to do? Revolt? They’d have to put their sausage rolls down first, and if they leave home during the day they’re liable to have their ESA docked.

(13)(10)

Anonymous

What a total tosser – there are 17.6 million ESA claimants are there?

If you want real insurrection in this country that will make the Brixton and Toxteth riots look like child’s play, I hope Parliament does what you suggest.

(7)(0)

Anonymous

Let’s hope there’s nothing good on telly that night, or that it’s not ‘beer garden’ weather, or that people don’t forget.

To the barricades, comrades! You have nothing to lose but your vote on a non-binding advisory referendum!

(1)(2)

ALawyer

If it is advisory it is non binding thus saying “a non-binding advisory referendum” is a tautology but then what do I know

(2)(0)

Probably Anonymous

Apparently not when to use full stops?

(1)(2)

Anonymous

To my mind, it’s perfectly appropriate that MPs withhold their consent from any particular Brexit package until they are satisfied that it will guarantee our access to the single market, and allow us to restrict immigration, and leave the country with an extra £350 million a week to spend on the NHS, and leaves existing funding to Wales and other regions intact, and guarantees all the other benefits of leaving the EU that we were promised.

We don’t want either the government or Parliament to frustrate the will of the people by settling for half-measures, do we?

(39)(1)

Anonymous

We could hold out for solid gold cats as well, couldn’t we?

(4)(0)

Anonymous

The question on the ballot paper was:-

“Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

No less, and no more. The answer was Leave. That means you leave the institution and the four pillars.

Its not really that difficult to work out.

(6)(0)

Anonymous

And what was the prescribed action? what were the conditions? the time scale? the method?

Answer? N/A

The X-Factor finalist has more constitutional authority than the Referendum result

(6)(1)

Anonymous

Weak argument. Scottish referendum didn’t have this on the ballot either. Just a plain yes or no, like most referendums in history.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Piss poor referendum drafting again, then. It must be infectious!

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Dear Katie
I do hope you weren’t tweeting during the hearing. The sign said to turn off mobiles…..

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Only one third of the electorate voted to Leave – why should we be bounced out of the EU by a MINORITY. It was bad enough on the 24th June, but now everyone can see the mess we are in and should have a second chance of righting this wrong. Incidentally, I speak as an uneducated pensioner!

(6)(5)

Anonymous

You write with more educated thought than plenty of others here. Having a public vote on an issue this complex was stupid, but setting no actionable threshold at all was just insane. We have been bounced out of the EU with no thought for the consequences and no Plan B. Why couldn’t a democratic vote in parliament have settled the matter? Our politicians must have a far better grasp of international issues than Joe Public and his wife. I feel sorry for the younger generations who will pay a heavy price for this self-destructive madness.

(8)(5)

Anonymous

Muppet. By that logic every single uk election in the last hundred years wouldn’t be valid. You don’t understand our democracy very well so you…

(6)(6)

Anonymous

A muppet’s explanation might help: a general election is not the same as an advisory referendum. A general election vote is binding and offers a collective power of direct public choice under FPTP rules. An advisory referendum is an inferior instrument where the vote merely advises parliament of public opinion, so that parliament can subsequently debate the issue and enact change if it so wishes. There is no deception involved in this, they are just differently weighted elements of our representative democracy. Had the recent EU referendum been given a binding status, it would be a different story – but that is irrelevant.

(6)(4)

Anonymous

Judiciary and vested interest gerrymandering of the vote in a democratic referendum is a disgrace. I don’t remember the lawyers getting involved to stop the yes vote also via referendum for the Welsh assembly, with a wafer thin .3% majority on 52% turnout. Funny that..

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Comparing a vote for the Welsh Assembly to a vote about EU membership is like comparing a pimple to a mountain, but as a general point it is better to have a reasonable (60%-70%) threshold in any referendum or it can leave opposing opinions so closely balanced that it is an affront to the ‘losers’ and thus socially destructive. In the EU advisory referendum, some 17 million people voted their desire to eliminate the right of free EU movement for 64 million people in the UK. This is very serious restriction – particularly for the young and globally adventurous – and some would argue it is an offensive degree of power to be wielded by such a relatively small proportion of the population.

Adverting to your example, if the Welsh Assembly vote was set up as a binding, ‘50.001% is enough’ exercise, then justice was seen to be done. The problem with the EU vote is different, in that it was NOT a binding referendum and yet the government is acting as though it carries that same mandatory weight of decision. So justice is not being seen to be done. That is one reason among many that there is legal involvement – which is entirely justified, given the constitutional importance of the EU question and the way it will affect us all individually for generations to come.

(5)(1)

Interesting watcher

I think it’s all academic, as brexit is going to happen either way. Even if it went to parliament, it would go through. 99% Tories plus at least 10 Labour and 1 UKIP is a comfortable majority. Pretty pointless action really.

(2)(2)

Riddlywalker

99% Tories? Where did you get that from? If you mean that politicians would be terrified to vote against article 50 because their electorate. Would chuck them out next time round you may be right- however, it was such a close run thing that they should be equally afraid of the remain tribe? … same goes for any threats of insurrection, blood in the streets, riot….. De da de da. Perhaps we will come through this with better politics, but with the likes of Farage still about I fear the worst?

(1)(1)

Anonymous

If the referendum result gets stolen or fudged by the courts, expect a huge ukip surge at the next election. I’ll start the bidding at 30-50 seats.

(3)(3)

Anonymous

Super. Let’s all practise waving our flags and shouting racist abuse. We can be the country of your white skinned dreams once we have booted out that nasty Johnny Foreigner and all his evil pals running our NHS and care homes and paying their filthy income tax.

(6)(2)

Riddlywalker

With the current leadership candidates? Surely no one in their right mind would vote for that shabby crew?

(0)(0)

Interesting watcher

Parliament is sovereign. We are not going to get into the judiciary ordering Parliament around on major government policy because that way lies a train wreck for law and order.
The Tories have accepted Brexit means Brexit, they have risen to an 11 point lead over Labour, they’ve seen May wipe the floor with Labour on Trident and PMQs and realised that they now are on to a winner. There are an additional 10 Labour MPs and 1 Ukipper who will back Brexit, so it will be policy however it is achieved.
They know if they don’t deliver Brexit they are toast. In 1997, contrary to popular opinion, Blair was not popular, it was the Tory vote of 3m that stayed home. Next time it won’t be 3m staying home it will be at least 3m for each major party voting for UKIP on top of the 4m they have already. So Brexit will be achieved come what may. Labour may be in a death wish, the Tories most certainly are not.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

I’m sure you are right. Despite the majority of Europhiles amongst the Tories, in the event most of them would abandon their beliefs to save their skins rather than vote altruistically for the benefit of the nation and future generations. Such is the cheap quality of our politicians these days – but no offence to David Lammy, who is one of a rare breed who will actually stand up for his principles rather than give way to the rule of the mob.

(1)(3)

Anonymous

Priceless stuff. Politicians who honour a referendum result are sell-outs. Those who give the electorate the finger are principled. Sure. Really sound argument.

(I voted Remain.)

(4)(1)

.

Putting aside your weird notion that one can ‘give the finger’ to the ascendant view in an opinion poll – which is essentially what an advisory, non-binding referendum is – please consider this point:

There is a known, clear majority of Westminster politicians who are solid EU supporters and believe EU withdrawal will damage the UK. Are you seriously suggesting they are at their most honourable when they throw their inner conscience to the winds and vote in a direction which they personally believe will be disastrous for the country?

If that’s your idea of principled, give me unprincipled any day!

(1)(2)

Anonymous

It was not an opinion poll. It was a referendum authorised by statute, a measure contained in the Conservative manifesto. The right to a referendum was voted on in a General Election. If you think closing your eyes to the outcome isn’t giving the electorate the finger that is, frankly, obtuse.

The referendum was advisory. So the Government was advised. And the government wishes to act on that advice. Since the manifesto was binary – in or out – the result can be respected or ignored. It can’t be finessed.

A party could get elected on a manifesto promise to re-join the EU. Fine. Go for it. I’d probably vote for that party if I thought it would actually implement the policy.

But without a mandate from a further referendum (via manifesto commitment) or General Election pledge, simply to ignore the result is not ‘principled’ – in fact it’s wholly indefensible. For now, what MPs want is neither here nor there: that was the point of the referendum. Arguing otherwise is one or more of arrogant, pig-headed, insulting, high-handed or contemptuous. Take your pick.

(3)(2)

Anonymous

Dear Anonymous of July 22nd @ 9.47am. You are an absolute star! I have been trying so hard on this forum to get something other than crude abuse … some intelligent backlash … and it you above all who has provided it. It was such a monumental struggle to get an interesting response from a a big fish, I had nearly given up hope. I agree with so much you have said and I willingly accept all your critical adjectives with all the poison intended, because it has been great fun seeking out someone with a balanced, intelligent, cohesive argument that I can actually agree with. So thank you, thank you, for relieving me of this daily chore and reminding me that there are still people out there who can make a decent political argument. My faith is restored!

(1)(0)

Riddlywalker

This will be my last comment on this site. “If you believe that the referendum was anything but an appeasement to tory anti-EU MPs in order to keep them on board and defend a slim majority, which then went disastrously wrong because of personal political ambition (morning after faces? BJ?) you are mistaken. The process is still running on party political ambitions- not one of them seems to give a shit about the good of the country, or is willing to reveal the truth. Perhaps the courts can bring this question to a reasoned debate rather than the exchange of exaggerations and abuse we have seen so far?” Thank you all for the debate, I now withdraw.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

That is a pointless comment. It adds nothing. What is the “truth” that you’ve been divinely entrusted with? Actually no, don’t bother. Best you bow out, I think.

(0)(1)

want2know

Hello I agree with some but no parliament talking about this!!! They went on saying about sovereignty back before but now they won its gone and looks like a PM with a rubber stamp doing all the stuff on her own I am worried what happens now and maybe we stop the public crossness a bit if parliament let to talk about EU leave and find what we are doing where were going what happens for jobs and family and everything Before the big jump would be nice / just my pennyworth

(0)(3)

Not Amused

Thanks Jean-Claude

(1)(0)

Tim Cannell

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07ldrbk – this is about democracy ; weve had the debate and the vote , now we let successive elected parliaments find our new place in the world. There are loads of vested interests who dont like change and would like to change the result but this cannot be allowed to happen.

(2)(2)

Anonymous

We live in a democracy the referendum was written into the conservative manifesto promised by Mr Cameron organised the same way as Scottish referendum in legitimate polling booths with a form saying to leave the EU b to stay in the EU nothing corrupt or engineered an honest vote by 17 and a half million people voting under British law to leave the EU. The prime minister rightly resigned as he wanted to stay.would someone like to tell me how the majority vote of all these British people was fake incorrect or anything else you are trying to call it. The vote was legal binding by a majority of the Britt ish public.i understand the person bringing this case to the judiciary is called Dear dos Santos British subject????? I am nonplussed I understand the Lawyers wanting to get involved1 but the judiciary? Parliament is sovereign we executed a King in this country because he wanted to interfere in parliamentary law. Parliament is sovereign no question

(0)(0)

A thinking person

I find it sad that so many jump to the defence of the federalist authoritarian EU regime. Have we become so lazy over our own democracy that for the chance to move freely across the EU zone we are willing to sell our souls to the EU ruling elite! I hope this legal challenge is rejected without too much money being spent.

(3)(1)

A soon to be free person

I find it sad that so many jump to the defence of the federalist authoritarian EU regime. Have we become so lazy over our own democracy that for the chance to move freely across the EU zone we are willing to sell our souls to the EU ruling elite! I hope this legal challenge is rejected without too much money being spent.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Any learned colleagues in this house?? OF COURSE a brexit without a parliament vote must be challenged legally! ANY significant change in British Law requires parliamentary consent deferred to by the Queen!
Funny that Theresa May bothered to go to the Queen for her royal Appointment…if she hadn’t, this woudl have also been subject to challenge!!

(0)(2)

Anonymous

In other recent referendum (eg 2011 Act dealing with the electoral representation referendum) Parliament specified that if a majority vote was achieved the minister responsible was bound to act upon it, and it was clear what those actions should be.

That requirement was absent from the EU Referendum Act and there was no specification about what exit terms would be acceptable. Not even a Manifesto.

This surely suggests that a requirement to act upon a majority vote (whichever way it went) was NOT intended.

Even in modest consumer spending the law has implied a number of conditions into contracts of sale or for services..

There are also provisions relating to consequences when material misrepresentations are made in the course of selling goods and services.

Should we expect less of decision making on the scale and gravity of a BREXIT vote? After all the information behind the EU Referendum campaigns was, in truth, far FAR more complex than any T & Cs in consumer contracts.

We already know that different groups of people within the BREXIT voters have quite different ideas about what BREXIT would mean. Indeed it seems that within the cabinet (including the Brexiteers) there appear to be markedly different visions.

Do you not think that at least a portion of those who voted for BREXIT (the more prudent portion) might like – and might reasonably expect – some idea of the terms of BREXIT before we, as a nation, decide to act on the BREXIT vote?

What if, on hearing those terms, they no longer wish to BREXIT?

How are we to find out for sure?

Further, we already know (from interviews on TV and articles they have written in newspapers..as well as accounts given more personally) that part of that very slim majority voted ‘Leave’ a) because they say they were deceived about spending on the NHS and the preservation a of regional subsidies and/or b) they wanted to give ‘the establishment’ a kick up their proverbial behinds….not because they actually wanted to Leave..and certainly not without knowing the terms of leaving.

Surely, in such an enormous decision as this, the very least we can all expect is clarity on the terms of any BREXIT before committing ourselves to it finally.? Surely, too, it would be prudent to review the decision on the current known effect on our economy and therefore likely longer term effect.

Is not it part of the democratic process for both the courts and Parliament to review the omissions (and consequences) and shortcomings (including ambiguity) of any legislation? So, of course the courts should review the meaning and consequence of what appears to have been a deliberate omission in the EU Referendum Legislation.

Meanwhile MPs have a duty NOT to act rashly and in a way to push this country into an avoidable recession, resulting in job losses, the loss of tax revenues to our already bruised public services, loss of funding for scientific research. I accept this would require some courage…but they earn c£75,000 pa (nearly 3 times the average wage) plus expenses which should be enough to put a bit of stiffening in their respective backs.

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Anonymous

HOW TO DEFEAT “democracy”

The poster of this article, takes no credit for writing this article, however thought it was a sound argument and worthy of debate: –

Referendums, Elections and

Those who say that Parliament can note and learn from the outcome of the 23 June advisory referendum, yet not choose to take the UK out of the EU, are accused by those who supported ‘Leave’ of being ‘anti-democratic.’ It is vital to understand why it would not be ‘anti-democratic’ for Parliament to decide to retain the UK’s EU membership. It is especially vital that our MPs should be reminded of these considerations, because the future of the UK and the EU is now wholly in their hands.

It is the understanding that a number of MPs are concerned about going against ‘the democratic outcome of the referendum.’ I wish to demonstrate that to treat the outcome of the referendum as binding on them is precisely undemocratic, and that the interests of the nation and its future lies in their exercising their democratic right and responsibility to oppose Brexit if that is what they believe is right for the country.

The key point about what is democratic and not democratic lies in the difference between an election and a referendum.
In an election, electors confer temporary and revocable license on representatives to attend Parliament. In Parliament the electors’ representatives are required to act in the best interests of their electors, which they chiefly do by acting in the best interests of the country. They are mandated to enquire, debate and decide on legislation, and to hold the executive to account. They are not messengers or delegates charged merely with reporting or acting on their electors’ views; they are plenipotentiaries, acting by their own best lights on behalf of their electors. If they do a bad job they can be dismissed and replaced. This is representative democracy.

The whole point of representative democracy is that its forms prevent the political system from descending into crude majoritarianism (‘the tyranny of the majority’ over minorities is a danger that systems of representative democracy are designed to prevent) or, worse, ochlocracy or mob rule. In an ochlocracy – consider the chaotic situation during a revolution, for example – the crowd overturns the rule of law, inflamed sentiments prevail, decisions are made on the spur of the moment, and reason is usurped by demagoguery.

Representative democracy is a filter that guards against descent into forms of populism. It consists in a due process intended to allow for all factors to be taken into account, and for mature deliberation to select the best way forward on the basis of those factors. Demagoguery and sentiment might play their part on the hustings and in debate, but it is precisely to ameliorate their effect that the institutions and practices of the democratic order exist.

Representative democracy accordingly provides a way to ensure that decisions are taken on a reflective basis. It means that the legislature will sometimes act in ways that are unpopular, because – having the relevant information and the opportunity to weigh that information properly – its mandated duty requires it to act by its best lights. But this mandate is temporary and revocable; democracy thus based is characterised essentially by the constant democratic supervision that electors apply to those they elect, through the mechanism of periodic elections.

Electors can therefore change their minds; anything done by a government can be recalled at the next election.

A referendum is a far different thing. It does not result in the temporary appointment of representatives. It is one-off. It is a poll of opinion on a single matter, and it has of necessity to be framed in a simple question or as a simple binary option. The complexities of legislation and their intended effects are not feasible subjects of referendums; that is why we appoint plenipotentiary representatives to deal with their detail. That is correlatively why, in almost every mature democracy, referendums are sparingly used, and why, in the case of the 23 June referendum, it was explicitly stated to be advisory only.

One has only to imagine what would happen if all legislation were decided by referendums. This makes it immediately obvious why we have a representative democracy: the general population have neither the time nor, usually, the expertise, to examine, debate, emend and take responsibility for detailed matters relating to the economy, the military, foreign affairs, education, industry and trade, and so much more.

And now consider: the question of the UK’s EU membership is a matter far more complex and far more consequential than almost any other item of government business. Is it to be subject to a simple binary question and settled on a simple majority of those who vote (not, note, a majority of the electorate as a whole, still less of the people as a whole – more precisely, just 37% of those entitled to vote)?

Emphatically, No: this is precisely why we have representative democracy. This is why Parliament cannot resign its sovereign powers and its responsibility in the matter, regarding them as over-ridden by a referendum explicitly designated as advisory only.

To say that Parliament must not regard its powers as over-ridden by an advisory referendum is all the more significant in the present case. In every political system where referendums are used with any frequency, they require a supermajority (typically a two-thirds majority) to overturn a status quo. (In Switzerland, which has the closest to a form of direct democracy in the developed world, a double majority of electors and cantons is required.) Even our own House of Commons requires a 66% majority for an election to be held outside the fixed term of a sitting Parliament. It is astonishing that so major a matter as the 23 June advisory referendum should have been based on a lower bar than that, if the advice sought were to be accorded the weight that some of our MPs now wish to give it.

Moreover, as the referendum’s outcome would have its greatest and longest effect on the young, the voting age should have been 16 years as it was in the Scottish referendum. Some of those most affected by the referendum were, accordingly, disenfranchised in a matter of the first importance to them.

Moreover again, the question was very badly formulated. As it was an advisory referendum, there should have been more options to capture the range of views obscured by the binary in-out nature of the question used. It is beyond doubt that a significant proportion of those who voted Leave might have ticked boxes offering Remain options on stated conditions: that possibility was not even addressed.

Moreover yet again, the background to the 23 June advisory referendum renders it impossible to regard its outcome as amounting to a mandate for a ‘Brexit.’ This is not only – as is now a matter of public knowledge – because of the misrepresentations, distortions and knowingly misleading promises made by the Leave campaign, all of whose promoters have fled the scene or been dismissed from it. The nature of these misrepresentations amounts to something almost criminally irresponsible, so bad was it. But this was merely the tip of the iceberg. For in effect the Leave campaign of distortion and hostility has been going on for over forty years – forty years of incessant distortion and hostility to the EU by tabloid newspapers and adherents of the political Right, not counterbalanced by much effort – if any – to make known the advantages and benefits of EU membership.

Contrast the situation in our EU partner countries. In every one of our EU partners the national flag and the EU flag fly side by side. EU funding of major infrastructure works, of science and education, of environmental projects, and more, is publicly acknowledged. In the UK there is silence on the positives of EU membership, so that the only mention of the EU that the public gets is almost invariably hostile. Thus the decades-long campaign of disparagement by the likes of UKIP, the Express, Rupert Murdoch’s Sun, and the Daily Mail (a collage of its front pages over the years makes an astonishing gallery of hostility and deliberate misinformation) has prejudiced many against it.

It is imperative that these circumstances be taken into account by Parliament when it considers the question of the UK’s membership of the EU. Our EU membership has been so distortingly misrepresented for so long that it cannot be said that the facts, relevant considerations, and rational opportunities for evaluation of the EU’s merits, were fully available. To put the point more bluntly: the 23 June advisory referendum outcome was an artefact of a situation of massive misinformation and relentless partisan hostility over many years, and Parliament has a duty to take that into account.

There are nevertheless genuine concerns among many Leave voters which politicians now recognize need addressing. And indeed they should. But they should not be addressed by creating an inward-looking, xenophobic, Little England alternative; instead the work required is one of reducing inequalities, on the one hand, and on the other hand persuading, informing and giving leadership so that the concerns – some of them unduly inflamed by tabloid propaganda – can be dealt with positively. The 23 June advisory referendum was informative; it revealed problems; but it does not mandate Leave’s own solution to those problems. There are better solutions, and indeed remaining in the EU offers them.

A chief difficulty with the Leave position is that whatever happens, the UK will be greatly affected by the EU. Leaving the EU means the UK will be affected by it without any say on those effects. This fact, together with all the foregoing, returns us to the point of the democratic duty of Parliament in this circumstance: which is to protect the interests of the UK and its people, and to take responsibility for making the judgment about what those best interests are.

The EU is a flawed institution requiring work; it is very much a work in progress. But it does a huge amount of good, and its improvement promises even more. As a powerful member of the EU the UK has much to offer. As an isolated offshore island its influence would be reduced and its voice in the world diminished; with the suite of consequent deleterious effects noted.

The outcome of these reflections is that for Parliament to regard the outcome of the 23 June advisory referendum as binding – and it was explicitly devised not to be binding – would be the undemocratic alternative. Our system of democracy places squarely on Parliament the final say of what would be in the best interests of the UK. As disturbing and negative events affecting the economy and society since 23 June indicate, the overwhelming body of expert opinion offered before the referendum has been shown to be right. And it matches the opinion of the majority of our MPs. Therefore: as expert opinion and the view of most MPs is that the UK’s best interests lie in continuing EU membership, MPs have the right and the duty to ensure that this happens.

Our MPs should act accordingly, and thereby preserve the UK’s membership of the EU. In doing so they will be carrying out their democratic duty: and they will at a stroke reverse the chaos currently unfolding, restore the progress which had been underway until 23 June, and continue – with renewed purpose in making the case for its great significance and promise – the work of making our European corner of the world a place of peace, co-operation and progress.

They will be acting in accordance with our democratic principles, practices and institutions. They will not be acting undemocratically. If they treat the outcome of the 23 June advisory referendum as non-advisory but binding, despite all these factors and considerations, and in usurpation of their constitutional responsibilities, they will be acting undemocratically.

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Craig Harper

Personally like millions of other British citizens that live in Europe and have done so for so many years. This effects us directly and many of us where not even given a vote, because we have been outside the UK for more than 15 years. The criteria for this referendum should have been British and Living in the UK or in Europe period. This can hardly be called democratic, it was a dogs dinner that is all, and i for one, want and demand a vote before the UK does anything that could directly effect my choose way of life, it is not a democratic to have other people decisions forced onto people who did not even get a vote.

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Rose McLaughlin

I couldn’t agree with Craig Harper more, I am in exactly the same position. My only outlet for the sheer frustration and anger that I felt after the vote was to sign the petition. Therefore I fully support this legal challenge. To be denied a vote that will affect my future is indeed undemocratic. Many of my European colleagues were completely aghast when I told them I did not have a vote as they, some of which have lived outside their native country longer than I, continue to benefit from being able to vote. Many of my British colleagues are now seeking to change their nationality as a means to be able to continue to live an work in the European country of their choice. I think this is a very sad state of affairs and the UK Government should take heed of the likelihood of losing British subjects. But then again, I guess we are just seen as collateral damage.

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J and M

We are governed by a Parliamentary Democracy. Members of Parliament are elected to make decisions which they consider to be in the best interest of the country as a whole. Members will consult their electorate and they are expected to bear in mind the results of such discussions. However, members of Parliament are expected to vote for what they themselves believe to be the best course of action.

We now face a situation in which a government, headed by a prime minister who was not put forward as a leader at the time of the last election, allows itself to follow a course of action which was voted for by about 37% of the electorate. A majority of the present Cabinet supported the case for remaining in the EU. So, too, did a majority of MPs. Why has no member of Parliament had the courage to call for a debate and a vote on this issue? We feel that Parliament has let us down: members have meekly surrendered to the Eurosceptic Conservatives and UKIP.

Only members of Parliament can now halt this process which, we feel, will result, in the longer term, of a weakening of our economy and increasing isolation on the world stage.

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