Making sense of trends and data

May comes to Washington

Published 1.27.2017
The English Prime Minister Theres May is in Washington visiting the White House to meet with the US president. At the post meeting press conference, both touted the "special relationship" between Britain and the US. May was tougher on the Russians than Trump. No mention of Iran. The White House meeting caps a momentous week for May.

  • May’s government loses its appeal, and Parliament gets a vote on the invocation of Article 50. Her government claims the vote won’t slow things down, that remains to be seen. Certainly, she and her government will be required to be a bit more transparent about what they are doing and what they plan to do.

    Delivering the court’s 8-3 decision upholding a High Court ruling, Lord David Neuberger said leaving the EU, a course approved by 52% of voters in a June referendum, also requires an act of Parliament. “To proceed otherwise would be a breach of settled constitutional principles stretching back many centuries,” the court’s president said.

    May had already said that Parliament gets a vote on the agreement negotiated with the EU, so perhaps the vote to invoke will be a merely a noisy formality at this point.

  • Basically, Parliament changes the constitution of the UK, not ministers. Joining in 1972 caused constitutional changes, and leaving will do so as well. It wasn’t a complete loss for the government. Regarding devolution, it won hands down.

    Firstly, the justices said that while Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies had a role in administering EU rules and law (for example, in relation to agriculture) they have no constitutional role in making or breaking the international treaties that lie behind those responsibilities.

    Essentially, the UK government assures the other members of the UK that it will consult before making new rules, but is not legally required to do so. This more than anything might hack of the Scots.

  • Some observers think so too. There are still obstacles to Scotland going it’s won way. Scotland is reliant on the UK for funding, and it does not have its own currency. These are still not small points. The current state of the oil industry does not help either.

    Kezia Dugdale, leader of the opposition Labour Party in Scotland, reiterated in a column for the Daily Record newspaper that her lawmakers oppose another referendum on independence and highlighted the importance of trade with the rest of the U.K.

    She went on:

    “Only politicians with a Donald Trump-style attachment to the truth could deny that being part of the U.K. is even more important to Scotland than remaining in the EU.”

  • The Scots are still angling for another independence vote. However, 10 Downing Street is not on board and the Supreme Court are not on board. Scotland’s argument the it had to be consulted before Article 50 was invoked was unanimously rejected. The Scottish First Minister claims that the Scots’ parliament will vote on it, ruling or no.

    The supreme court’s 11 justices, including two Scottish judges, said the longstanding convention that the UK’s three devolved parliaments had a right to vote on any Westminster legislation that affected their powers did not apply to EU membership.

    A vote might reveal a bit more than Sturgeon wants. Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain, but some are now saying it’s time to move on and make the best of it. What Sturgeon really wants is a snap election on the question of independence, but it’s not clear there’s support for it.

  • The Brexit bill was introduced to Parliament.

    The government has set aside five days over the next two weeks for the passage of the bill through the House of Commons, the lower chamber of Parliament—a relatively speedy timetable. Typically, bills take several months to be passed.

    The text is very brief, and opposition lawmakers are looking to load it up with amendments.

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