"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Thursday, March 02, 2017

The UK House of Lords Does Not Rubber Stamp the House of Commons Brexit Bill But Requires Protections of the Rights of Resident EU Nationals

As we previously predicted, we did not expect the House of Lords in the United Kingdom to "rubber stamp" Brexit -- the UK exit from the European Union, and the peers indeed have now voted 358 to 256 against the Brexit bill passed by the House of Commons, which made no provision for the rights of resident EU nationals who would still be living in the UK after Brexit.

This is not an issue that can be "handled" after Brexit is triggered. Rather, applicable existing rights must be protected via any Brexit bill before the EU exit is actually triggered.

This is a matter of the internal legal structure of the United Kingdom and of the tried and true norms of the "rule of law".

From a legal standpoint, the House of Lords decision is of course the correct one.

The United Kingdom can not just say, "goodbye, ta...ta" to the European Union and make no provision for the protection of the rights of EU citizens currently living within its borders under the UK's present European Union membership.

As a matter of legal logic, also a political "divorce" always involves a balancing of the rights of all parties concerned. You can't just run away as if what had been before never happened.

The House of Lords is thus confirming an elementary aspect of traditional legal rights and obligations.

Now it is up to the House of Commons to get back on the right track. As a sovereign nation-state, the UK can of course leave the EU if it so chooses ... but ... it has to do so in conformance with the general rules of law, which protect everyone.

Accordingly, a Brexit bill acceptable to the House of Lords must contain protections effectively applicable to all inhabitants, also resident EU nationals, whose status otherwise would be in a legal state of limbo.