Monday, May 19, 2008

Mr Speaker Launches New Court Bid in EU Case

Press release just received from Stuart Wheeler...

This evening Stuart Wheeler has been notified that the Speaker intends to intervene in the case in which he has been granted a judicial review over the Government's refusal to hold a referendum on the EU Treaty. The Attorney General will represent the Speaker.
Mr Wheeler responds 'I am surprised that the Speaker wishes to intervene. At no stage have I sought in any way to impinge on Parliamentary privilege.
"My case is based solely on the Government's refusal to hold a referendum on the EU Treaty."

Er, on what grounds has The Speaker intervened?!!!

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

On the grounds that the speaker, like the vast majority of McLabour MPs, is working for the EU with the sole mission of breaking England up into 'Regions' and transferring whats left over to Brussels to rule.

Anonymous said...

It's an abuse of his office, but he's an abusive and obnoxious man totally without honour or integrity. Pity we taxpayers can't sue him for the bill we will now foot.

Anonymous said...

On the grounds that it is a breach of the Bill of Rights, I assume.

The courts are not allowed to impeach the proceedings of parliament and given that this court case looks pretty much like that is what is happening here - it is an attempt by the courts to stop parliament ratifying the treaty, I'd guess the speaker has a good case.

Alan said...

On the grounds of protecting the darling PM, of course.

Isn't it about time Michael Martin fell down a flight of stairs?

The Creator said...

Because Gordo shouted at him ... before throwing his mobile phone at him?

Trev said...

How can the Attorney General representing the Speaker be compatible with the Speakers independence from the Government?

Likewise how can the Speaker intervening on the Governments behalf be compatible with the his independence?

Richard Nabavi said...

Perhaps he wishes to support Stuart Wheeler's attempt to maintain parliamentary integrity.

Just a thought.

David Boothroyd said...

At a guess, because the Government has no power to order a referendum on anything without primary legislation. Stuart Wheeler's case, at face value, is asking for an order compelling Parliament to do something - which plainly engages Article 9.

It is bizarre but has now become commonplace that Eurosceptics claim to support the UK constitution and yet attack the fundamental parts of it when they stand in their way. I suppose one should not be surprised given the way the Unionists, who posed as believers in the constitution, eventually supported insurrection when Home Rule for Ireland was passed constitutionally.

Gavin Whenman said...

Probably Parliamentary Sovereignty: The courts can't force Parliament to do anything, and the effect of a ruling in Stuart Wheeler's favour (which he's never going to get under the current constitutional arrangements anyway) would be to force Parliament to pass legislation providing for a referendum. The Speaker represents the Commons, so sensible the intervention should be done in his name.

Anonymous said...

Dynae ken that fookin Sassenach wis de i-falootin pals and sissies, jimmii?

I'll give 'im wiggies and that.

Order. Order. You mincing band of ponces and pooftahs.

Where's my exes?

Aye, lad, I's aint got long to go before this scaby lot put me on oot on mi arse.

More brews, please.

Anonymous said...

So will we be having the referendum on proportional representation too, that was promised in a Labour manifesto.

dirty european socialist said...

The speaker has a right to stand up for parliament over the courts overuling a government. We are a democracy not government run by millionaires and dictators.

unseen said...

How does the Attorney General, a Law Officer of the Crown, represent the Speaker of the House of Commons?

This seems constitutionally odd, no?

al b said...

On the grounds that the Speaker is an idiotic old booby, Iain.

dulwichtrader said...

Perhaps he can claim expenses based on his intervention.

strapworld said...

Is this another case where the Speaker is intervening on behalf of the Labour Party? to save Brown's embarrasment?

Cameron would do well to challenge the Speaker firstly by sking in whose name the Speaker is acting and on what authority?

I can see only trouble for Martin.
The newspapers will go for him. Especially those two (Sun and Mail) which are Brown's friends BUT who are both supporting a referendum!!

Martin, I fear, has lit the blue paper...STAND BACK FOR ACTION.

Anonymous said...

I expect because the decision of the House to reject an amendment to the EU (Amendment) Bill on a referendum is being questioned in "a place out of Parliament", i.e. the courts.

Anonymous said...

The Speaker is bound to uphold Parliamentary privilege as maintained since the 1689 Bill of Rights: and it is arguable (whatever the expensive Matrix QCs acting for Wheeler might contend) that the case directly affects privilege.

The usual one-eyed Gorbals Mick-bashing allowed through moderation around these parts is likely to be somewhat wide of the mark in this case.

bill baker said...

strapworld, do you know anything whatsoever about the British constitution and the law of Parliament?

Thought not.

Anonymous said...

What a time to get involved, just before the by-election, this is a typical Labour tactic to take some of the attention away from what will be a damaging result for them.

Auntie Flo' said...

If The Speaker is successful with this, then the only effective means of dealing with our MP's breach of their manifesto promises in respect of this Constitutional Treaty will be for people all over the country to do what the people of Harlow did in September last year and organise their own Referendums.

It can be done and a small group of dedicated volunteers can do it. That's what we were doing in Harlow until IWAR contacted us to offer funding for our ballot.

If our elected representatives refuse to stand by their election promises, then we must force them to change their minds and to keep their word.

And we can do that by making it clear to those weasels who voted for the Lisbon Constitution that if they continue to ignore the will of the majority of their constituents on this we will turf every one of them out at the next election.

We cannot allow Brown and his government to sell us out and destroy our democracy by handing our country over to the EU.

Auntie Flo' said...

If The Speaker is successful with this, then the only effective means of dealing with our MP's breach of their manifesto promises in respect of this Constitutional Treaty will be for people all over the country to do what the people of Harlow did in September last year and organise their own Referendums.

It can be done and a small group of dedicated volunteers can do it. That's what we were doing in Harlow until IWAR contacted us to offer funding for our ballot.

If our elected representatives refuse to stand by their election promises, then we must force them to change their minds and to keep their word.

And we can do that by making it clear to those weasels who voted for the Lisbon Constitution that if they continue to ignore the will of the majority of their constituents on this we will turf every one of them out at the next election.

We cannot allow Brown and his government to sell us out and destroy our democracy by handing our country over to the EU.

PaulD said...

The Bill of Rights is all very well, but what if Parliament endorses a course of action that is itself illegal, i.e. it did not pass legislation to ensure the legitimacy of the next step? If you get my drift.

Alex said...

Would it be cynical to assume that the Speaker is acting on behalf of the Labour Party / Gordon?

Diablo said...

"dirty european socialist ...
The speaker has a right to stand up for parliament over the courts overuling a government. We are a democracy not government run by millionaires and dictators." 9:12pm

Gulp! Splutter! Stands back in amazement!

Let's just hear that again: "We are a democracy not government run by millionaires and dictators..."

You have to laugh or you would cry at the hypocrisy of this comment.

The Labour Party promised a referendum in its manifesto on the EU Constitution - then claims that it was a treaty with no substantial similarity to the previously rejected constitution. This is highly contestable since the there is substantial evidence that it is virtually the same document.

Lord Sainsbury, a millionaire, has been making substantial donations to the Labour Party for many years - it'll be interesting to see if it's him or the trade unions who will bail out the Labour Party from the verge of bankruptcy this time.

As for dictators, we don't have to look much further for an example than the EU Commission itself. Who elected them?

And for all Gordon Brown's claims to have been elected unopposed (like Saddam Hussein?*) it was only the Labour Party who were allowed to vote. He has not had the courage to subject himself to a vote on his leadership by the British people.

(*Saddam was found in a hole and paid a rather more severe penalty than even I would suggest for Brown. I'd just let him wither on the vine!)

Anonymous said...

I don't pretend to understand the constitutional niceties but hopefully Mr. Martin will end up looking foolish ( again ) with this certainly unusual intervention.

Where's my referendum ?

Just a reminder that anyone who has held a salaried position within the EU remains in thrall to that body under pain of losing his/her generous pension ( and that includes voting in Parliament " against " the EU interest on such topics as our promised referendum and future Balkanisation ).

Anonymous said...

Presumably Wheeler's case, which has no chance of success, is a "political" law process. Weighed against that, Mr Speaker's appeal to law whilst on the surface of it simply defending the ancient rights of Parliament, is equally politically-motivated. Sad to see the lofty role of Speaker so utterly suborned to the whims of the PM, although that trend has also (sadly) been going on for some time - I think Bernard Weatherill was the last Speaker to actively combat the ever-growing Prime Ministerial Dictatorship (brackets Deputy Assistant Floorsweeper to the EU Commissioner in Charge of Petty State Leaders close brackets) er EU bureacratic control under which we all now live.

This expensive farce will of course be underwritten by you and me via the tax money the Speaker will now so liberally spend on point scoring. M' Learned Friend Mr Sumption will be able to add a little more to his already lavish renumeration!

Evan Price said...

The constitutional position is that Wheeler is challenging the Government and seeking judicial review of the Government's decision to renege on its 'commitment' to a referendum - on grounds similar to legitimate expectation. I believe that there are other arguments based on sovereignty and the Government's limited power to compromise it by Treaty or otherwise - see the commentary in the cases over Maastricht and Nice, where the Judges recognised that there was a limit to how much Sovereignty the Government could surrended but concluded that we had not reached the stage yet.

I suspect that the Speaker is seeking to intervene in the case as he will have been advised that Parliamentary sovereignty is being challenged, this case seeking to overturn the 'will of Parliament' - Bill of Rights and other customary rights of Parliament thought to be under attack. If he can satisfy the court that this is the case - and it seems to me that it is entirely possible that he will - then he has the right to intervene. Whether he will succeed in his intervention is another question - and depends on the arguments in court both by Wheeler's counsel and by the lawyers for the Government and Parliament.

The Attorney General is the chief legal advisor to the Crown and as such is the person, in our fused system, to whom Parliament goes for legal advice and assistance - as with many cases, this will probably be farmed out to Counsel with special expertise.

Peter Harrison said...

As a moderately Eurosceptic Conservative, I might wish things were different but I suspect the Speaker is right on this one (although he is wrong on many other things).

The courts can be used to challenge decisions of Ministers. However, any decision by Parliament cannot be overruled by the courts. So, once a Minister has Parliamentary backing for his decision, he cannot be overruled. Parliament voted on a referendum and rejected it. I think it was wrong to do so and I think the behaviour of the Labour party is disgusting, but the courts cannot overturn a decision made by Parliament, nor can they make a decision requiring new primary legislation (as would be the case here).

As for those complaining about the Attorney General representing the Speaker, I really can't see why this is odd. The Attorney General is the chief law officer of the Crown. He represents the Crown in court (amongst other things). It seems perfectly reasonable that he would be the person to defend the primacy of Parliament.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to know if the Speaker has had a conference with party leaders on this before taking such an action. If he has, then presumably it also has the support of Messrs Cameron & Clegg. Perhaps we should be told.

In the meantime, the one last voice apparently determined to give us a referendum on the final termination of Britain as an independent country is that of a retired London bookie. You couldn't make it up!

Over to the voters of Ireland who I feel sure will reject it, once more creating a "crisis" in Brussels wholly of Brussels' own making. If they had put someone less snakelike than ex-Nazi sympathiser/collaborator in Vichy Giscard D'Estaing in charge of writing the "constitution", that might have given some of us more confidence. His career highlights for those who don't know include having accepted blood-diamonds as a gift from Bokassa (the most corrupt dictator in African history) and appointing Maurice Papon, who co-ordinated roundups of Jews in Vichy, as his budget minister.

Over to you Ireland.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Cameron just say that there will be a referendum under the next Conservative Government whatever this one does because this government has acted in an undemocratic and unprincipled way.

By the way - how much longer is Brown going to hang on - isn't it time he was put out to grass? As Labour will have to get rid of him before the next election surely it is in their interest to get on with it.

William said...

Whether we get a referendum or not, the real referendum will be in the next Euro elections. UKIP landslide? Conservative at home, UKIP for Europe. You know it makes sense....

Anonymous said...

From Mr Wheeler's website:

"I do not know why the Speaker feels he needs to intervene, as arguments about these matters have already been put forward on behalf of the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary."

Because neither the PM nor the Foreign Secretary represent Parliament, and because neither have any locus under article IX of the Bill of Rights 1689.

The QCs he is appealing for money to pay ought to be able to point out this sort of thing to him.

Anonymous said...

There is a clear constitutional precedent in 1924. Baldwin took over from Bonar Law who had won the general election on no tariffs and Baldwin wanted to introduce tariffs. It was agreed that as an unelected PM wanting to change a manifesto commitment that he had to submit to another general election, which he did and lost to McKenzie's first minority Labour government.

There is clear precedent that an unelected PM cannot change a clear manifesto commitment given by his predecessor. I don't see why this doesn't apply today.

Anonymous said...

I of course meant Ramsay MacDonald's first Labour government. One dour Scotch Labour PM is much like another.

Apathist said...

Think it's because Wheeler's case rests on the report of a select committee saying that the two treaties are fundamentally the same, and that that report is a proceeding of Parliament and so cannot be used as evidence?

Or am I completely wrong?

Anonymous said...

No William, UKIP at home. There’s f-all point in voting when 70-80% of our laws are made overseas by an un-elected body.