Transcripts (perhaps draft) of the Article 50 ‘Brexit’ Appeal hearings at the Supreme Court

"... that the Welsh minister should seek the consent of the Assembly ... such provisions and in context it clearly means modifying the Assembly's legislative competence are included in bills."

Then we can see the standing order which implements the next stage. It is true that the Government -- it just repeats the practice that your Lordships have heard. The Government will not normally ask Parliament to legislate the matters -- without the consent of the Assembly. Then we get the practice, and we give an example in the footnote in our case, dealing with the what actually happens in practice.

What does happen is that the clerk to the Assembly sends the LCM laid by the Welsh Government to the clerk of the House of Commons, communicating the result of the vote.

The point from all this is not the detail of the practice, but the fact that there is a practice, and the fact that the practice in question is one between legislatures and one which involves communication between the devolved legislature and the Westminster Parliament.

At the end of the day, we are not asking your Lordships and your Ladyship to construe a statute, what we are asking in this argument is for this court, no doubt in combination with other techniques of development of the common law, to evaluate in a case such as the present, of enormous constitutional importance, the weight to be given to the Sewel convention, no doubt other aspects of the common law, in deciding whether the prerogative in this case, whatever the scope of the dispensing principle, can be used to drive through constitutional change of a seismic nature which the prerogative, as far as I am aware, has never carried through before, certainly since 1688.

So I hope I don't need to go to the Jonathan Cape case, your Lordships know what we say about it, and your Ladyship; I am not going to go through it. The point is the point I have made. But the critical thing, as I said earlier, is that the conventions are, with an uncodified constitution -- we are one of only three countries in the world, I think, to have an uncodified constitution.

Keyboard shortcuts

j previous speech k next speech