Monday, 9 January 2017

Could Henry VIII help us with a train crash Brexit?

It now looks as if the choice for the UK is between a hard Brexit that takes us outside the single market and probably the customs union and a train crash Brexit in which the negotiations break down and we exit the EU without an agreement. The Government thinks it will be possible to negotiate a series of trade agreements with the EU, but the mood in Brussels has hardened in recent months.

How could the Government deal with the problems produced by a train crash Brexit? Step forward, Henry VIII. In 1539, in one of his more absolutist moods, he issued the Statute of Proclamations which allowed him to govern by royal decree. The so-called Henry VIII clauses are still in place and occasionally used, conferring extensive powers on the executive: Henry VIII clauses

The kite that is being flown is this: the Government would be given powers to replicate functions carried out by EU bodies without further parliamentary scrutiny. This would mean a big increase in quangos. And would a 'sovereign' Parliament allow the executive to assume so much authority? It could be a very disorderly Brexit.

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