Brexit and the sovereignty of parliament: a backbencher’s view

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Series Details 08.02.18
Publication Date 08/02/2018
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Brexit was a constitutional, legal, and political challenge of a size the United Kingdom has not seen in decades and would have consequences that were both uncertain and long-lasting. In this post, Dominic Grieve, MP offered his distinctive perspective on Brexit, discussing the concept of parliamentary sovereignty, the role of international courts in UK law, and the more troubling aspects of the Withdrawal Bill itself.

‘Taking back control’ was a powerful idea in conditions where the decline in confidence in institutions had become such a marked phenomenon. The risk was that it was largely a mirage. It was also a uniquely disruptive form of change that precipitated the very reverse of the ‘quiet government’ the UK had traditionally aspired to deliver to its citizens. It should be no surprise therefore that in this atmosphere of crisis the principal change was the accrual of more power to the executive. But that made it all the more important that MPs, including former attorneys-general, should be vigilant that MPs don’t lose the very things which were the most valuable legacy of our forebears.

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Centre for European Reform: Insight, January 2018: What does the Supreme Court's ruling mean for British Parliamentary sovereignty? (et al)
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
Modern Law Review, Volume 80, Issue 4, July 2017: Brexit and Parliamentary Sovereignty

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