UK in Strasbourg
The Council of Europe has accepted the British compromise on prisoner voting, extending the vote to prisoners on temporary release and at home curfew, bringing to an end the stand-off between Strasbourg and London over enforcing ECtHR judgments.
UK in CJEU
In MB v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (C-451/16), AG Bobek has considered that a requirement in national law for a person who has changed gender to be unmarried in order to qualify for a state retirement pension is unlawful.
UK & other courts
In her annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activities (2017), ICC chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has declared that there is a “reasonable basis” to believe that UK soldiers committed war crimes against detainees during the Iraq conflict, meaning that the ICC will press ahead with its investigation into claims that British troops abused and unlawfully killed prisoners after the US-led invasion. This is reported on in The Guardian.
UK and the UN
At a speech to the UN, Jeremy Corbyn is to attack Britain as ‘complicit’ in the human rights violations seen in the Saudi bombing of Yemen in order to protect arms sales.
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
In a BBC interview, Irish deputy prime minister, Simon Coveney, hinted that avoiding a hard border in Ireland would ideally be done with the entire UK ‘acting as one’, but that if this is impossible, Britain and the EU would need to recognise the ‘unique’ circumstances in Northern Ireland.
Ireland’s Europe minister, Helen McEntree, has stated that, though progress has been made, the Irish Government is not immediately ready to approve Brexit talks moving on to the next phase. However, MEPs who have seen a draft agreement have stated that the UK and EU have committed to ‘continued regulatory alignment’ between Northern Ireland and the Republic after Brexit. Theresa May had to cancel plans for a major Commons statement on Brexit after yesterday’s talks in Brussels ended without a deal as the DUP rejected a potential agreement on the Irish border.
PoliticsHome reported that the failure to strike a deal in Brussels was also due to a major disagreement on the role of European judges post Brexit, as the Prime Minister wanted the CJEU to oversee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK for less than five years. A retired senior judge, Sir Richard Aikens, has warned the Prime Minister that a proposed relationship between the UK and the CJEU “obliterates the red line that must not be crossed” concerning post-Brexit legal powers.
Tony Blair has confirmed that he is working to reverse Brexit, arguing that claims made by the leave campaign have now clearly been shown to be untrue, and therefore that British voters deserve second referendum.
The Communities and Local Government Committee has begun its inquiry into the impact on local government of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the role councils could play post-Brexit.
David Davis told MPs that the Government is seeking UK-wide “regulatory alignment” after Brexit, though the DUP said it had rejected the idea as proposed in Irish border negotiating text on Monday. Meanwhile Labour has branded the approach of the Government as an ‘embarrassment’ and Keir Starmer has urged against the fixed Brexit date of 29th March 2019.
Theresa May faces mounting pressure to secure a breakthrough in EU negotiations after the Democratic Unionist party expressed shock at the handling of the Irish border question and Brexit-supporting Conservatives said the time had come to walk away. According to the Irish Prime Minister, Theresa May is intending to make a fresh offer to the EU on the Irish border, whilst Michel Barnier has told member states there is a strict deadline this week for the British Government to agree a text on a potential deal or it will face being told that negotiations will not move on to the next stage.
PoliticsHome has reported that Boris Johnson and Michael Gove could lead a revolt against Theresa May, amid fears of Eurosceptics that she is attempting to deliver a soft Brexit. However, more than a dozen Tory MPs supporting a soft Brexit have now written to Theresa May urging her to ignore those within the party trying to ‘impose their own conditions’ on Brexit talks. Meanwhile Politico has broken down the proposed draft agreement which was circulated amongst UK officials.
Theresa May struck a Brexit deal with the EU at the final push after all-night talks with the DUP, allowing trade talks to begin within weeks. However, Theresa May failed to get the EU to agree that Britain will retain a voice at the CJEU in return for her concession that the Luxembourg court will retain a role in protecting citizens’ rights in the UK after Brexit.
The Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee has launched a new inquiry on the question of enforcement and dispute resolution post-Brexit. Meanwhile justice minister, Dominic Raab, has suggested that post-Brexit disputes will be solved in a new tribunal.