The Cooper-Letwin Act changes nothing: Theresa May is free to reject a long Article 50 extension - Lawyers for Britain

Dear LfB Supporter,

If we do stay in the EU for an extended period, it will be because of voluntary decisions by the PM.

Two things are being said by the media about the Cooper-Letwin Bill, which has now become the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2019 [PDF]. First that it has “ruled out” no-deal; and secondly that this Act has been imposed on an unwilling government by a Remainer-dominated Parliament.

Neither of these things are true. The Act required the government to lay a motion in the Commons specifying a date to which an Article 50 extension should be sought. The government laid that motion on Tuesday 9 April with the extension date of 30 June and the motion was passed with that date unchanged. (Note that only a minority of Conservative MPs voted for the motion despite being whipped to do so, with the majority of the Parliamentary Conservative Party voting against or abstaining: see Jonathan Isaby’s analysis of the votes).

That motion having been passed, the Act merely obliges the Prime Minister to do what she wanted to do anyway. In fact she has already done it in her letter to Tusk last Friday 5 April, which asked for an Article 50 extension until 30 June.

No further duty is imposed on the Prime Minister

Having asked for that extension, the new Act imposes no further duty on her. In particular, it imposes no duty on her whatsoever to agree on behalf of the United Kingdom to an extension to a different date. Or to an extension which is subject to conditions, if that is what the European Council offers her today in their alarm at the thought of what a less servile replacement Prime Minister could do with the UK’s vote and veto during an extension period.

Link to the full article is below:

With best regards,

Lawyer for Britain