Today’s first letter comes from our contributor Septimus Octavius who clarifies a misconception in regard to the ECA 1972:

Sir,

I write about the misconception in regard to the ECA 1972.

Roger Arthur’s letter (see here) perfectly exemplifies the illusion which Dominic Grieve used to insert his fiendishly clever trap in the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. Mr Arthur expresses his joy at the repeal of the ECA 1972 which that Act provides for, but he speaks of it as if it had actually happened. Would that it were so! He cannot be blamed for this, as indeed when this Act was first mooted, it was generally referred to as the Grand Repeal Bill.

This is what the 2018 Act says about the repeal, in its very first section:

“1 Repeal of the European Communities Act 1972

This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

The European Communities Act 1972 is repealed on exit day.”

This begs the question as to when “exit day” is; but it is not a day at all.  Rather it is a precise moment next year:

““exit day” means 29 March 2019 at 11.00 p.m. (and see subsections (2) to (5));”

At first sight, this looks innocuous, as 99.9% of publicised comment on the issue says that this moment is when we leave the EU. As usual, that majority view is wrong.

Dominic Grieve is an extremely bright lawyer who has made no secret of the fact that he will do anything in his power to stop Brexit. This is why I believe he is responsible for this trap, which involved the substitution of this definition for the more conventional one in the original draft, in the week before the Bill received Royal Assent and became statute law.

The effect of this tweak is potentially fatal to Brexit, as the main function of the ECA 1972 is automatically to insert into UK law all the Treaties of the EU.

Thus, the insidious nature of the trap becomes clear when that statute is combined with the effect of Article 50.  This bit of EU law dictates that the UK and the EU have a period of two years, which does indeed expire at “exit day”, in which to conclude a Withdrawal Agreement. The relevant words are these: “The Treaties [of the EU] shall cease to apply to [the UK] from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification…”

The best possible result for the UK, therefore, is to so-called “no deal” exit from the EU, because then the Repeal and the Release happen at exactly the same instant, and the trap is neatly avoided.

The only other way of avoiding the trap is a withdrawal agreement which, in its expressed written terms, comes into force at “exit day”. If, however, such an agreement comes into force at any earlier moment, the ECA 1972 will promptly reinstate all the Treaties from which the UK has been released!

Respectfully, Septimus Octavius

Our reader Patricia Ward sent in this letter on Ms May’s Withdrawal Act:

Sir,

Theresa May and her cohort have succumbed to Stockholm/Brussels syndrome. They simply cannot bring themselves to de-shackle the UK from the EU.

May’ withdrawal bond is only a deal for the EU, not for the UK. The referendum was clear: vote to stay in or leave the EU. The UK voted to leave. As a leaver May has made a token gesture leave pact with EU. Had the UK voted to Remain, that would have been the end of it with no talks about a future state of vassalage as May has conducted with a few token titbits seemingly designed to appease leavers.

May has utterly betrayed the referendum by using PR skills to create an impression that through her withdrawal agreement we are leaving the EU, when in fact the UK will be paying an inordinate amount of money to remain at the mercy of EU bullies indefinitely.

Stop talking about a no deal. A deal suggests something good. What May has come up with will only benefit the EU and make fools of the UK. Leaving the EU without strings attached is what the UK as a whole voted for. Continued cooperation for mutual benefit in areas of security and research makes sense, so long as it is for mutual benefit; not the UK doing all the work, paying all the money and the other party gaining all the benefits.

On March 29, 2019, the UK must honour the referendum result by leaving the EU, not voluntarily remaining in hock to it. Free movement must end. Sending money to the EU must end. Being bound by EU dictats must end. The UK must use its competitive advantage of having over 3 times as may EU citizens benefitting from living in the UK as the UK has its citizens living in the EU.  This can ensure that if the EU wants us to look after their over 3 million citizens, many of who earn an income here and send money to the EU, the EU must look after the approx 1 million EU-based UK citizens, many of whom are pensioners who take their life savings and spend it in the EU.

If the EU wants to continue to sell far more to us than we do to the EU, then it should be prepared to accept a trade deal that benefits us more than the EU. This can compensate for the EU making more out of trade from us than we do from the EU.

May is wholly motivated by appeasing her friends who do all their business in the EU and not by honouring the vote of UK nationals who have had their lives progressively undermined since we joined the EU.

UK trade focus needs to shift other markets. Then we can benefit those in emerging markets who want a livelihood through trade, not aid, as well as those in the UK who want to buy products from non-EU markets more cheaply, that is without EU tariffs being imposed.

Move against May to take back control of our laws, borders, money, trade-relationships, job prospects and way of life!

Respectfully, Patricia Ward, UKIP Wandsworth Branch

Finally, a brief observation from our contributor Rob McWhirter:

Sir,

Yet another hypocrite (erm, surely hardworking, principled MEP – ed) has defected from UKIP and welshed on the pledge they made when selected to vacate their seat for the next on the list. Is it any wonder they’re held in low esteem by the rank and file?

Respectfully, Rob McWhirter

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