UK & other courts
On Monday the International Court of Justice handed down its much-anticipated Advisory Opinion on the Chagos Archipelago, holding that the decolonisation of Mauritius was not lawfully completed in 1968 and that the UK must bring its administration of the Chagos Archipelago to an end “as rapidly as possible.”
UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU
Donald Tusk has warned that Theresa May will not get her Brexit deal through the Commons, leaving the UK with the option of ‘a chaotic Brexit’ or an extension of its membership of the EU beyond 29 March. This comes as Theresa May delayed the vote on her Brexit deal again – until 12 March at the latest. This is important as the Cooper-Letwin amendment, to be tabled this week, says that if no meaningful vote has been passed by March 13th, MPs will have the ability to seek an extension to the art 50 exit process and avert ‘no deal’. To try to counter a potential rebellion, Theresa May has promised MPs a vote on ruling out a no-deal Brexit or delaying the UK’s departure, if they reject her deal next month. Meanwhile the Prime Minister is also reportedly considering plans to delay Brexit by up to two months in a bid to avoid a Cabinet revolt
Digital minister, Margot James, has urged the prime minister to rule out the ‘catastrophe’ of a no-deal Brexit, warning that she and other ministers are ready to resign if the prime minister refuses. However, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has warned that a Commons plan to kill off a no-deal Brexit would ‘fundamentally weaken our position’.
Jeremy Corbyn has thrown his party’s weight behind a second EU referendum, backing moves for a fresh poll with remain on the ballot paper if Labour should fail to get its own version of a Brexit deal passed this week. As Labour’s version failed in a parliamentary vote, Labour did then formally give its backing to a new Brexit referendum. Senior Labour figures have indicated that they would also campaign for Remain.
The Financial Times has considered the EU’s options for extending Brexit. Meanwhile DEXEU has warned that Britain is ill-prepared for a no deal Brexit, with businesses and the public failing to take steps to avoid potential disruptions.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, head of the leading Eurosceptic faction of Conservative MPs, has softened his opposition to Theresa May’s Brexit deal, amid rising hopes the prime minister might win approval for a revised agreement next month. However, those senior cabinet ministers who forced Theresa May to give MPs the chance to delay Brexit – Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark – have been accused by Liz Truss of ‘kamikaze’ behaviour in sabotaging talks with the EU. Despite this move to potentially allow delay, the prime minister has told Parliament to ‘do its duty’ and get behind her Brexit deal.
The Government has published its response to the report on Home Office preparations for Brexit.
Theresa May has suffered another rebellion after a wave of Tory MPs defied the party whip on her plan to offer Parliament the chance to delay Brexit. Agriculture minister George Eustice has resigned from the Government due to May’s decision to allow a vote on delaying art 50, saying it would be ‘the final humiliation of our country’. Meanwhile, Emmanuel Macron has said France will block a Brexit delay unless there is a ‘new choice’ by Britain, as Spain’s prime minister said that merely postponing the no-deal deadline would not be ‘reasonable or desirable’.