Parliament Suspended Sovereignty to Government

By the Good Law Project
Under cover of Christmas, with less than a day for scrutiny, and with No Deal as the only alternative, Parliament passed the European Union (Future Relationship) Act 2020. The process was described by the venerable Hansard Society as “an abdication of Parliament’s constitutional responsibilities to deliver proper scrutiny of the executive and the law” and a “farce”.Worse even than the absence of scrutiny – of legislation published less than a day before Parliament voted on it – is what that legislation does. It gives incredibly broad powers to Ministers to make laws and override Acts of Parliament. It has been described by the doyen of academic public lawyers, Professor Mark Elliott, as “the hoarding of power by the Government at the expense of respect for any part of the constitution that threatens its hegemony.”Section 31 of the Act gives a Minister power to “make such provision as [he] considers appropriate to implement… or otherwise for the purposes of dealing with matters arising out of, or related to, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.” These are incredibly broad powers – given to a Minister not Parliament – to reshape every aspect of national life the EU previously touched on. And it is all but certain that Government will misuse these powers.In December, Government relied on other Henry VIII powers to abolish the operation of the state aid regime that existed before Brexit. That regime limited its ability to give financial assistance to companies. It prevented distortion of competition and at a more basic level ensured Government could not favour particular industries or individual companies over their rivals. You may well think we needed those rules. But what we are left with is no substantive state aid regime in the UK, with only loose guidance in place to govern how public authorities should act from 1 January onwards.The Government took this step purportedly in pursuance of a power in the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 to “prevent, remedy or mitigate” a “deficiency” arising from our departure from the EU. However, Government would have known it was on dodgy footing – the House of Lords committee tasked with scrutinising the use of these powers termed it “neither a welcome nor acceptable use of secondary legislation”. And we don’t think its actions were lawful.Shortly before Christmas we instructed Hausfeld LLP and leading Counsel Tim Buley QC and Yaaser Vanderman to take the first formal step in litigation, challenging the abuse of Henry VIII powers.Under cover of Christmas, with less than a day for scrutiny, and with No Deal as the only alternative, Parliament surrendered vast amounts of sovereignty to a dishonest Government. We intend to guard what is left. Thank you, Jolyon Maugham QC
Director of Good Law Project
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Cummings and goings

Wee Ginger Dug


Dominic Cummings doesn’t obey lockdown rules. Only little people obey lockdown rules. It said nothing good about Dominic Cummings that he was prepared to sacrifice other people’s elderly relatives in pursuit of his herd immunity strategy. It says a whole lot worse that he was willing to risk the lives of his own parents too. It came to light on Friday that Downing Street’s resident Gollum had travelled from London to Durham in the north of England after he had started to show coronavirus symptoms and was highly infectious. His excuse is that he was taking his children to his parents so that they could look after them while Cummings and his wife recovered from the illness. It’s one rule for Dominic Cummings and another for the herd.

Anyone with a microgramme of sense would have realised that if you are coming down with Covid-19 and you need a relative…

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How will we survive

Wee Ginger Dug

The usual blog article begins after this message while the annual crowdfunder is running. Sorry for the intrusion. Your support for the Wee Ginger Dugfunder is immensely appreciated. All donations large and small are welcome, yet if you are unable to donate that too is fine. Everyone will continue to enjoy full and unfettered access to all the contents of this blog.

In the first 24 hours, £1808 had been donated via GoFundMe, £4747 via PayPal, and £254 via other methods, making a total of £6809. What a fantastic start!

There are a number of ways to donate. You can use the PayPal button on this page. you don’t need a Paypal account to use the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
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Alternatively you can make a PayPal payment directly to, or you can click the…

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Spoilt for choice

Wee Ginger Dug


Nicola Sturgeon has suggested that she’s in favour of something that this blog has been arguing for a while. That is, even if by some miracle the UK manages to avoid Brexit, Scotland should still hold another independence referendum. Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on BBC1 yesterday she said that “all of the experience of the past three years” and the very real prospect of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister mean that Scotland ought to have another independence referendum.

There’s been a lot of focus on Brexit as the trigger for an independence referendum, but Brexit is merely one example of a material change in circumstances. It’s very far from being the only one. Scotland is now spoilt for choice when it comes to material changes in circumstances. Material changes in circumstances are about the only thing that Westminster generously indulges Scotland in. The UK that Scotland is a…

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The Long Walk

Grouse Beater

389.jpgThe march for democracy was a long walk, but not as long as 300 years

The organisers called it a march for democracy but it was more a walk, not a leisurely stroll by any means, more a determined hike through the centre of Glasgow, past its great ornate buildings of empire loyalty, the not so great visionless conurbations of modern glass and concrete built when the city fathers wanted the place to be ‘the Chicago of the North’, no doubt as a one up on Edinburgh’s well earned ‘Athens of the North’.

We moved up Sauchiehall Street, our heads bowed in respect for the charred shell of the desecrated Mackintosh School of Art, its board of governors claiming a big boy did it and ran away; along streets lined by red sandstone tenements where windae hingers waved us on, under bridges of well wishers, and around neglected derelict patched…

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Message from Omar Khadr to his supporters



On Monday, March 25, Chief Justice Mary Moreau granted me the freedom I have been long awaiting. This decision did not bring an end to my legal battles but it has removed the shadow of indefinite chains from my life. I would like to thank everyone who has stood by me throughout the years.

I would like to give special thanks to Nate Whitling, who has and continues to, tirelessly defend my rights..

I would like to thank the members of the Free Omar Khadr Now group along with the Pour Omar Khadr group who have been a consistent support system for me and also have worked to bring awareness to the facts of my case. In addition, I would like to thank Lawyers Rights Watch for bringing my case forward to the United Nations Committee Against Torture.

I would also like to thank all of my fellow…

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Wee Ginger Dugcast – 1 March 2019

Wee Ginger Dug

Welcome to the 1st of March edition of the Wee Ginger Dugcast, where Callum Baird (The National’s editor) and I manage to find things to talk about other than Brexit. Whoopee! In this edition we discuss Theresa May’s surprising revelation that she’s a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race and whether this is the most embarrassing attempt by a politician to show that they’re in touch with popular culture since Gordon Brown claimed he was a fan of the Arctic Monkeys.  We also discuss the McCrone Report and the reaction received by The National to its groundbreaking decision to publish it in full, the news that the Conservatives expect the Scottish Government to ask for a Section 30 order within a few weeks – but have already decided to say no because they want us all to hit the iceberg together – and the decision by the SNP to move forward…

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