Hold your European Horses there Mr Brown…

Stuart Wheeler’s url has been appearing regularly in my gmail feed for the last couple of months… He’s taken an action against the Labour Prime Minister over an alleged breach of promise to hold a referendum on the original European Constitution. Mark Mardell reports the Judge’s brisk shot across Mr Brown’s bow:

“The court is very surprised that the Government apparently proposes to ratify while the claimant’s challenge to the decision not to hold a referendum on ratification is before the court. The court expects a judgement to be handed down next week. The defendants are invited to stay their hand voluntarily until judgement. If, in the absence of any satisfactory assurance to that effect, the claimant decides to seek injunctive relief, I direct that the application be placed before me personally.”

Of course it is no indication of the final judgement, but… it puts a brake on any early consensus as to how Europe might proceed… Hmmm… This could get very interesting…

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  • Pete Baker

    This report explains the technical details of the delay

    Speaking at the EU summit in Brussels, the British prime minister said: “The judgment fits into our own timetable, so ratification will not take place until we have had the judgment from the judge.”

    Although the UK effectively became the 19th EU state to ratify the Treaty when the EU Amendment Act received Royal Assent yesterday, the process is not technically completed until the “instruments of ratification” are deposited in Rome.

    The British Foreign Office has until the end of December to complete this stage, which Mr Wheeler argues leaves plenty of time to await the final ruling in his case.

  • I love one comment:

    “12. At 3:27pm on 20 Jun 2008, Anthony Zacharzewski wrote:

    How very democratic – a millionaire betting company owner trying to use his wealth to reverse the decisions of an elected Parliament. ”

    Because poorer citizens have such excellent access to justice…

  • Brian Walker

    Mick,
    I wouldn’t get too excited about the impact of the Wheeler judgment. Formal ratification means lodging a piece of parchment (not paper) expressing ratification, tied in blue ribbon, signed twice by the Queen and lodged by next Thursday in the ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome (as the home of the fundamental treaty of the EU.) Never discount the role or parchment and vellum (goatskin) in the wonderful old British constitution. This little ritual can wait without collapsing the whole process. Otherwise, it’s inconceivable that the English Court of Appeal would overturn the will of Parliament expressed in an Act, even under the existing Human Rights Act.
    Does anyone seriously disagree?

  • ZoonPol

    Ratification has already been lawfully made by Parliament. End of.

  • ZoonPol

    Seems one is mistaken according to the Manchester Evening News. Breaks have been applied until the High Court ruling as been made. Very odd….