Secret plot by Tory donor to rewrite UK constitution by the backdoor

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The UK, famously, does not have a codified constitution. We have the beginnings of what is vaguely termed a “supreme court” but it explicitly does not have a constitutional role.

How, therefore, does Stuart Wheeler intend to argue the case for his proposal to judicially review the government’s decision not to progress with a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty?

To do so would not merely overturn a government decision but effectively a Parliament decision (which has not, lest we forget, actually been made yet). That would mean junking, out of a very high window from St Stephen’s tower, the long cherished notion of Parliamentary sovereignty.

I thought Euro-sceptics loved the notion of Parliamentary sovereignty? Of course, their affection for referendums (albeit only on their terms) does somewhat undermine that view, but surely they haven’t let go of their opposition to the idea of codifying the constitution so that it can’t be simply overturned by a parliamentary vote? If they suddenly love judges deciding everything so much, why the opposition for the Human Rights Act?

Wheeler believes he has an “excellent” chance of winning. I don’t, I should emphasise, share his confidence. But if he does, he will succeed in getting the High Court to completely and utterly rewrite the UK constitution from first principles onwards, with no public or Parliamentary debate and at the behest of a millionaire who made his money through the rater morally dubious route of the gambling industry. Isn’t our “flexible” constitution wonderful?

11 thoughts on “Secret plot by Tory donor to rewrite UK constitution by the backdoor

  1. I’d eat more than my hat if he wins. What amazes me though is how these people seem to misunderstand their own arguments.

  2. As I’ve said on Gavin’s blog, their judicial review also challenges an area of Royal Perogative (to make treaties)- so much for support for the monarchy.

  3. People are missing the point completely. The Courts have a duty to look at such applications if there is any substance to them. Parliament may be sovereign but it is not above the law. Wheeler is not trying to change the law, only Westminster, correction Brussels can do that – he is trying to get the Court to consider his arguments and, hopefully, come out with a judgement that Parliament has acted wrongly. Brown has already ignored the wishes of the majority on this issue and maybe he’d ignore the Court’s verdict, too, but even he might be shamed into doing a volte-face. Wheeler is not asking for the European Constitution to be torn up, as some are implying, he is just asking for us to have a referendum. If such a referendum votes in favour of the Constitution, so be it. We are democrats and accept the will of the majority, unlike Brown and most of the conributors to this website.

  4. I should clarify that the action is against the government, not parliament itself so my comments referring to parliament should have referred to the government.

  5. The gravamen of this appllication is the legitimacy of Brown’s refusal of the promised Referendum on the European Constitution, alias the Lisbon Treaty. It must be remembered our Prime Minister and his colleagues are servants of HM The Queen and thereby drawn within the ambit of the Coronation Oath which solemnly requires her to govern her people according to the laws and customs of the United Kingdom and its Dominions. Democracy is one of our customs and the direct form of democracy (a referendum) has seemingly not been granted in this insance as promised by PM Blair and others..

  6. james graham’s interpretation of Stuart Wheelers action is either infantile or mischevious. The point being that the electorate were promised an election. To deny it on a point of pedantry is purely wrong. I actually downloaded and read the European Constitution, and the Lisbon Treaty which took me longer than the parliamentary debate allowed the members in the commons.

  7. I have written to a number of people in Government about this issue, but, contrary to Brown’s assurance that he is “listening”, their replies prove that they are not. They keep insisting that the Lisbon Treaty is radically different from the Constitution, something that no serious political commentator, Telegraph or Guardian, no European politician attempts to say. They all agree it’s virtually identical but Labour maintain that black is white, purple is pink.We’re wasting our time – they will lie through their teeth until Doomsday on this issue.

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