“Leave, and we’ll take part of your country,” said the EU. And they did just that.
Can Lord Frost restore sovereignty to the whole of the United Kingdom?
Montage © Facts4EU.Org 2021
EU’s insistence on supremacy of its laws and courts could now be entering final weeks of ‘le crunch’
This week we will see the EU’s response to the serious problems they have caused in Northern Ireland and in particular in respect of the UK’s proposals to rectify this, contained in Lord Frost’s ‘Command Paper’ of Wed 21 July 2021.
It was a full 12 weeks ago that Lord Frost published his paper entitled “Northern Ireland Protocol: the way Forward”.
This set out the UK’s proposed solutions to the EU’s dictatorial separation of Northern Ireland from the supposedly sovereign United Kingdom, as part of the Withdrawal Agreement signed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 24 January 2020.
Here is Facts4EU.Org's original report on the Command Paper, with a summary and a link to the full text.
The EU’s immediate response was clear. Barely had Lord Frost and the N.I. Secretary Brandon Lewis sat down on 21 July after their respective statements to the House of Lords and the House of Commons on the N.I. Protocol, than the EU’s Commissioner and Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič sprang up in Brussels to declare:
“We will not agree to a renegotiation of the Protocol.”
- EU Commission statement 21 Jul 2021
Since then Lord Frost has calmly stuck to his guns and it now seems that the EU will in effect renegotiate after all, although they won’t call it a renegotiation. But will that be enough?
There is just one problem - a red line with the EU on one side and the UK on the other
The problem is that the EU has de facto divided the UK and made one part of it into a colony of the European Union, hiving it off from the three other constituent parts of the United Kingdom.
The EU did so by keeping Northern Ireland in the EU’s Single Market and therefore under the laws of a foreign power. What is even more egregious is that the people of the Province had no say in this change to their constitution. Nor do they or their politicians have any say over, nor vote on, the actions of the foreign power which now dictate the majority of their laws.
Forget the movement of sausages, on sovereignty the EU will always say “Non, nein, no”
The EU is adamant that EU law must be supreme and take precedence over national laws and even national constitutions. They reiterated this as recently as last week in their reaction to the Polish Constitutional Tribunal’s latest ruling which declared the opposite.
In another high profile example they did the same in response to the German Constitutional Court’s ruling last year – a case that has still not been fully resolved but which looks like being swept under the carpet as it concerns the EU’s biggest bank-roller.
A foreign power, ruling over part of the United Kingdom
Lord Frost is clear that it is unacceptable and unworkable for the ‘European Court of Justice’ to be the ultimate legal arbiter on part of the sovereign territory of the United Kingdom.
The EU is equally clear that its laws and its Court are supreme over national laws and constitutions. Having achieved this with the UK via the abominable Withdrawal Agreement and N.I. Protocol, it is hardly likely to back down.
The result is a classic stand-off. The only question now is: What will the UK Government do in the face of implacable opposition from Brussels?
Lord Frost finally showing irritation with the Irish
Here is Lord Frost yesterday, responding (uncharacteristically by Twitter) to Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney.
© Lord Frost / Twitter, 10 Oct 2021
How did this mess arise in the first place?
The Benn “surrender act” passed by the anti-democratic and heavily pro-Remain UK Parliament prior to December 2019 was the culmination in a long and tortuous nightmare of continuous attempts by the Establishment to overturn the largest democratic vote in British history.
Named after Labour MP Hilary Benn, the Benn act did not only tie one hand behind Lord Frost’s back in negotiations with the EU. It effectively cut both his arms off. He could no longer threaten to walk away from the talks – a key power in any negotiation. This Act specifically prevented the Government from using the ‘No Deal’ option as a negotiating tactic. The EU knew the UK could not walk away and they ruthlessly used this ill-gotten power to pursue a hopelessly lop-sided and unfair ‘agreement’.
What the EU does not seem to have understood is what any experienced negotiator could have told them. Deals reached under duress which are wholly unreasonable do not stand the test of time. And this is exactly what has happened.
The constitutional earthquake
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the Province is governed by EU law in much of what it does. On top of this, it has been separated from the United Kingdom’s Single Market, with a border down the Irish Sea. In addition it is the European Court of Justice (CJEU) which is the ultimate arbiter of any disputes, not the UK’s Supreme Court and not any independent, international tribunal.
Before the interference by the EU, the constitutional relationship between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom was governed by the Act of Union of 1800. On 30 June 2021 - despite what the Prime Minister Boris Johnson personally assured the House of Commons only two weeks earlier - the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland stated that the Act of Union of 1800 had been “Impliedly repealed” by the Withdrawal Agreement. In effect a massive constitutional earthquake had happened, without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland.
PM signing the WA, 24 Jan 2020
This completely breaks the most fundamental precept of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement – the Agreement which the EU claims to be protecting – that of consent.
The EU's ultimatum
In the Brexit negotiations, the EU effectively gave the UK an ultimatum. “Give us Northern Ireland or there will be no Withdrawal Agreement and no trade deal.” When Boris Johnson became Prime Minister he was handed the ‘Benn surrender act’ by the then pro-Remain House of Commons, thereby preventing him from using the threat of ‘no deal’ and walking away. In effect, the EU had won and they knew it.
This is how we ended up with one of the most lopsided and vindictive treaties since the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
For the Republic of Ireland, slicing Northern Ireland off from the rest of the UK was a prize. For the EU Commission and for some of the other EU26, taking Northern Ireland was a way of punishing the UK for leaving their empire.
Five years of constitutional chaos caused by UK anti-democrats and EU’s vindictive autocrats
In the early days of talks, the EU was desperately anxious to keep the UK firmly under the rules and laws of the Single Market to prevent it from becoming a much more competitive economy sitting just off continental Europe. Under the pro-Remain leadership of Theresa May and her cabal of pro-Remain civil servants the EU managed that, in the form of the first incarnation of the Withdrawal Agreement.
When Mrs May failed three times to get her Withdrawal Agreement (WA) through Parliament, she was ousted and Boris Johnson became PM. Knowing he needed a mandate of his own, he wanted to get a revised WA agreed and then go to the country in triumph. Completely handicapped by the odious ‘Benn surrender act’, the best that he and Lord Frost could achieve was a watering down of some of the more egregious elements of Mrs May’s ‘deal’.
The restoration of democracy – except for Northern Ireland
The revised WA and 'getting Brexit done' was enough to win the general election of late 2019 by a landslide, but this still meant that in January 2020 he had to sign the deal he’d agreed to in October, even though by January he had the numbers in Parliament to go back and renegotiate properly with the EU. Politically that would have been impossible. And so the deal was signed.
It might seem odd to describe the final weeks leading up to the revised WA as being akin to being taken hostage, and tied to a chair with a gun to your head, but we can imagine Lord Frost feeling like that at times.
As we pointed out in the main body of the article, any deal signed under duress is unlikely to stand the test of time. The imbalance in power often results in terms being imposed by the dominant party which prove so unreasonable that those who subsequently have to live with them simply refuse to accept them, regardless of what has been signed by politicians.
This is exactly what has happened
Since the EU Referendum vote, the EU’s behaviour has been petty, vindictive, and threatening, as we have reported many times in detail over the last six years. They abused their position thanks to an unrepresentative and anti-democratic rabble in the House of Commons at the time. They made their bed of nails and now must lie in it, until they see the sense in behaving like a normal international partner genuinely desiring good relations with a very important neighbour.
We hope that Lord Frost can bring them to their senses, but history is sadly not on his side. We wish Lord Frost well. This is the opportunity to restore sovereignty to the whole of the United Kingdom. No pressure, then....
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[ Sources: Lord Frost | Cabinet Office | Hansard | EU Commission ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Mon 11 Oct 2021
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