After weeks of waiting over Christmas and the New Year at 9.30am this morning the Supreme Court will announce the final judgment on the process which must be followed in order to carry out the wishes of voters in leaving the European Union. The government have argued they have the Power under the Royal Prerogative which is vested in Ministers to serve a notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty giving the European Union two years notice of our intention to leave. The applicants to the Courts argue that because there is an Act of Parliament The European Communities Act 1972 which gives supremacy to European legislation over UK laws then Parliament must decide to trigger Article 50. The High Court decided in favour of the applicants and in a sign of the great constitutional importance of this case for the first time all eleven Judges of the Supreme Court sat together to hear the case. My impression is that the Court will uphold the High Court’s decision. This will mean a new Bill being introduced into the House of Commons authorising the government to serve the Article 50 notice. I expect the government will act quickly and I anticipate there will be action very soon perhaps even starting as early as a Statement today.
Another big week in British politics lies ahead. The long promised Industrial Strategy is I understand about to be announced. I am not a great fan of government trying to direct British business but if the strategy is about getting government out of the way of letting our Companies compete, low taxes and encouraging entrepreneurs then that would be a good strategy.
Then the big news of the week is likely to be the announcement from the Supreme Court set for 9.30am tomorrow morning. I am inclined to think they will back the High Court judgment and if they do I expect the government to act swiftly to introduce a Bill to ensure Article 50 can be triggered.
At the end of the week we have the Prime Minister meeting with the new President of the United States.
After the Presidential election in November you may recall his w the news narrative focussed on the fact that Nigel Farage had visited Donald Trump and become the first U.K. politician to meet up with him following his election. This was being portrays a huge snub to the U.K. and our Prime Minister. Now President-elect Trump has become President Trump we hear Theresa May is going over this coming week to meet with President Trump and in all likelihood become the first World leader to meet with him in the White House.Quite a turnaround.
Congratulations to Donald John Trump on being sworn in yesterday as the 45th President of the United States of America. It appears he is very much of what is sometimes referred to as a marmite character – people either live him or hate him.
I hope that he is given a chance before people jump to conclusions. Actions speak louder than words. He was democratically elected and he has many millions of Americans who support him. It has often been said that there is a ‘Special Relationship’ between America and ourselves. Under President Obama who tried to persuade UK voters to stay in the European Union threatening we would be at the back of the queue when it came to negotiating a free trade agreement , now under the new President Trump he wants to see us quickly range such a deal. We can not sign any deal of course until we leave the European Union so we in the U.K. need to concentrate on extracting ourselves from the EU. We can then do a deal with the biggest single economy in the World something our membership of the EU has prevented for over the past four decades.
Good news this week for local road-users who will benefit from a dedicated £2.069m pothole fund which is part of a £1.2 billion fund for local roads the Government is allocating to councils to help repair roads and pavement.
This funding has come from the new National Productivity Investment Fund, announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement and the Pothole Action Fund.
I receive lots of complaints about the condition of our local roads and with all the demands on local government spending this latest dedicated funding for roads and pavements should help.
Back in October 2011 I instigated the first ever debate on holding a referendum on our membership of the European Union. It is sometimes difficult to believe how much the political landscape has changed since that original debate. Today, I am opening a debate on Kashmir the territory which was divided between Pakistan and India when the British colony of India was granted Independence in 1947. Since then it has been the subject of a dsipute between the two countries as to who should govern the area. This is the first time there has ever been a specific debate on this issue in the main Chamber of the House of Commons although of course it has been referred to in many other debates and it was debated in a Westminster Hall debate during the last Parliament.
There are many people of Pakistani and Kashmiri heritage in Bury for whom this issue is of real concern. There is no easy answer. Britain must be a good friend to both Pakistan and India and because of our historic ties to the area we are well placed to encourage both countries to commence talks leading to a permanent peaceful settlement.
The Prime Minister announced the Brexit plan yesterday in one of the most important speeches made by any Prime Minister for some time. In it she set out 12 objectives which amount to one big goal: a new, positive and constructive partnership between Britain and the European Union.
The following is an extract of her letter to MP’s with details of the objectives:
‘1. Certainty: whenever we can, we will provide it. And we can confirm today that the Government will put the final deal that is agreed between the UK and EU to a vote in both Houses of Parliament.
2. Control of our own laws: we will bring an end to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in Britain. Because we will not have truly left the European Union if we are not in control of our own laws.
3. Strengthen the Union: we must strengthen the precious Union between the four nations of the United Kingdom. We will work very carefully to ensure that – as powers are repatriated back to Britain – the right powers are returned to Westminster and the right powers are passed to the devolved administrations. We will make sure that no new barriers to living and doing business within our Union are created.
4. Maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland: we will work to deliver a practical solution that allows the maintenance of the Common Travel Area with the Republic of Ireland, while protecting the integrity of the United Kingdom’s immigration system.
5. Control of immigration: the message from the public before and during the referendum campaign was clear: Brexit must mean control of the number of people who come to Britain from Europe. We will continue to attract the brightest and the best to work or study in Britain but there must be control.
6. Rights for EU nationals in Britain, and British nationals in the EU: we want to guarantee these rights as early as we can. We have told other EU leaders that we can offer EU nationals here this certainty, as long as this is reciprocated for British citizens in EU countries.
7. Protect workers’ rights: as we translate the body of European law into our domestic regulations, we will ensure that workers’ rights are fully protected and maintained.
8. Free trade with European markets: as a priority we will pursue a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the European Union. This agreement should allow for the freest possible trade in goods and services between Britain and EU member states. It cannot though mean membership of the EU’s Single Market. That would mean complying with European Court of Justice rulings, free movement and other EU rules and regulations without having a vote on what those rules and regulations are. And because we will no longer be members of the Single Market, we will not be required to contribute huge sums to the EU budget. If we contribute to some specific EU programmes that we wish to participate in, it will be for us to decide.
9. New trade agreements with other countries: it is time for Britain to become a global trading nation, striking trade agreements around the world. Through the Common Commercial Policy and the Common External Tariff, full Customs Union membership prevents us from doing this – but we do want to have a customs agreement with the EU and have an open mind on how we achieve this end.
10. The best place for science and innovation: we will continue to collaborate with our European partners on major science, research and technology initiatives.
11. Co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism: we want our future relationship with the EU to include practical arrangements on matters of law enforcement and intelligence.
12. A smooth, orderly Brexit: we want to have reached an agreement about our future partnership by the time the two year Article 50 process has concluded. From that point onwards, we expect a phased process of implementation. We will work to avoid a disruptive cliff-edge.’
The Prime Minister has made clear no deal is better than a bad deal. Theer is still much negotiating to be done and still of course much detail to sort out but one thing is now crystal clear we will be out of the Single Market and we will regain controls of our borders as we will no longer be subject to the free movement of people.