13:16, July 25 194 0 theguardian.com

2019-07-25 13:16:04
Time for some Brexit reality checks

I keep hearing and reading – for example, Jonathan Freedland (I tried to find an upside to no deal. I couldn’t, 20 July) – that, in the event of no Brexit agreement between the UK and the EU, the default is that we crash out. There is a contrary legal opinion, presented by a group of distinguished QCs to the House of Lords in 2017 and mysteriously absent from public discussion ever since. According to them, the provisions of article 50 – insisting as they do that withdrawal must be enacted in accordance with a member state’s own constitutional requirements – imply that in the UK explicit legislative authorisation by parliament is needed, either for a deal or for leaving without a deal.

Absent such legislation, the default would be that article 50 would simply lapse and the UK would remain a member of the EU. Perhaps you could ask an appropriate legal expert to tell us if this is so.

Richard Middleton

Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway

Nigel Dodds, leader of the DUP in the Commons, stated on the Today programme on Wednesday that Northern Irish business leaders are quite clear: although they promote trade with other countries, the bulk of their trade is done with the rest of the UK, and they do not want a border in the Irish Sea that would disrupt that. He was of course blissfully unaware that he is asking the UK to do exactly what he refuses to do: to cut itself off, largely because of the Irish backstop, from its major trading partners in the EU. The disconnect in Brexiters’ thinking is beyond satire, but the DUP are particularly good at it. They also say they cannot accept separate legislation for NI, but demand special legislation on abortion. The age of reason is dead.

John Arthur

Bruges-Capbis-Mifaget, France

Could the new tougher Danish divorce system (Report, 22 July) help with the UK’s acrimonious planned divorce from the EU? Maybe some counselling to sort out important issues – and a commitment to think of the children…

Norman Miller


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