It has been a big week and events are moving fast. The biggest news is that Advocate General Campos Sánchez-Bordona has proposed that the Court of Justice should:
“…in its future judgment declare that Article 50 TEU allows the unilateral revocation of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU, until such time as the withdrawal agreement is formally concluded, provided that the revocation has been decided upon in accordance with the Member State's constitutional requirement, is formally notified to the European Council and does not involve an abusive practice."
In simple terms, if the UK wants to, we can stop Brexit and everything would return to how it was before we triggered Article 50. You can read an explanation of the opinion here: curia.europa.eu/... and the full ruling here: curia.europa.eu/...
This is a huge win for Scotland, the UK, me and my co-plaintiffs, and it is a huge step forward from the highest court in the business. Admittedly this is not the end since the Court follows a two-stage process to present its findings. Firstly, we get the opinion of the Advocate General, and secondly, the final decision of the Court. 80% of the time the Court will agree with the Advocate General so this opinion matters.Read more
We can stop the Brexit Clock: Comment on European Court of Justice Advocate General opinion in Article 50 case
SNP Member of the European Parliament Mr Alyn Smith, one of the co-litigants in the "Scottish Case" brought by Scottish Parliamentarians from the Scottish, Westminster and European Parliaments on the terms of revocation of Article 50 has issued comment on the Opinion of the Advocate General issued today.Read more
Last weekend, Theresa May’s “deal” was signed off by the Council of the EU. Be in no doubt: Mrs May’s so-called deal will leave us all poorer. It answers no questions about the future and is the worst of all worlds.
The Bank of England, the Scottish Government, various academic institutions and even the UK Government agree, we are all going to be poorer from Brexit. Less wealth, less democracy and Scotland part of a UK hell bent on cutting immigration whatever the consequences.
But there is hope on this fine St Andrew's Day. We are close to establishing that MPs at Westminster should not be forced into an entirely false choice between two bad options: no deal or her “deal”.
On Tuesday Jo Maugham QC, Andy Wightman MSP, Ross Greer MSP, Catherine Stihler MEP, David Martin MEP, Joanna Cherry MP and I finally saw our case on the revocability of Article 50 heard by the European Court of Justice. You can read more about the case here goodlawproject.org/... and here eulawanalysis.blogspot.com/...Read more
Next week the Brexit drama moves to Luxembourg, where I believe a fundamental part of undoing Brexit will move a step forward. As we see the mess at Westminster, MPs need to know their choice is not this Blindfold Brexit vs No Deal: there are other options. One of them being to stop Brexit altogether, as Theresa May has finally acknowledged is possible.Read more
It has been a quiet(er) hour or two – which means I have at least had the chance to write this – but the rest of the week has been chaos and madness in London. Ministers have resigned, letters of no confidence handed in, and I watched MPs one by one stand up to condemn the deal as ‘not good enough’. These were, of course, the same MPs who so enthusiastically cheered the disastrous act of triggering Article 50 when it was obvious they had no idea what they actually wanted to achieve.
There is no good news in it for Scotland: the UK (despite promising to represent our interests) did not even secure a single mention for Scotland. Had the UK sought special terms recognising our clear pro-EU sentiment, then ideas would have been looked at on their merits. But they didn’t, and the EU cannot solve our problems for us in the teeth of opposition from our own UK Government. You can read more of my thoughts here:
You can also judge for yourself, the full deal is available here:
and an outline of the future relationship between the EU and the UK here:
SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has today (Friday) published a report he commissioned into Scottish Twitter and online discourse in Scotland.
The independent report, "Scotland and Social Media, Trolls Under the Bridge?", researched and compiled by former Metropolitan Police Inspector turned investigative journalist and author JJ Patrick, found that some 4.25% of Scottish Twitter activity is identifiable as potentially malign, though this rises to a maximum of 12.24% in an assessment of certain account types.Read more
I believe it is utterly wrong for people to be placed in a situation where - after making a home, enriching a community, and contributing to society - they are now facing this awful uncertainty. The European Commission has produced the following 23-page memo on citizens' rights, which I believe may be of interest. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/2017-12-12_qa_citizens_rights.pdfRead more
IN the last few months I’ve grown really weary of unthinking tribalism in Scottish politics. Like many SNP types, I started my political journey identifying most closely with the Labour Party. I never joined the party, as my time in Brussels and London that crystallised my view that Scotland could be better independent, but I still rejoiced at the 1997 election when Tony Blair’s Labour swept away the Tories. I joined the SNP the week after. It turns out 20 years is a long time in politics!
But I say all that to prove that I’m up for coalitions.
First published in The National, 2 August 2017Read more
ONE of the few good news stories to emerge from the UK’s decision to leave the EU is that people have started to engage with European politics in a more active way. I admit this is ironic but it means that for the first time people are aware of developments in the EU beyond that being covered by the major news outlets.
First published in The National, 28 June 2017Read more
Alyn Smith, SNP Member of the European Parliament and Joan McAlpine, SNP Member of the Scottish Parliament have today welcomed the draft European Parliament resolution which will form the basis of the first official response to the triggering of Article 50 by the UK government.Read more