"Brexit deal on" - as legal fight goes on amid claims public has right to know

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UK government claims that the UK and the EU have reached an initial agreement over Brexit have been clouded by a simmering issue over a legal bid to try and stop the whole breakaway process erupting over the public’s right to know.

The UK government is making a second attempt to appeal against a ruling by Scottish judges referring to Europe’s top court a bid by a group of politicians to find out if parliament can unilaterally revoke Article 50 – the legally formal notice to quit – without the permission of other EU members.

A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court – the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland – confirmed to WikiTribune that the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU Dominic Raab has sought permission to appeal.

“I can confirm we have received a permission to appeal application for this case. I am sorry I don’t have any further details at this stage except, of course, that the Court is aware of the urgency of this matter,” said the spokeswoman.

The Inner House of the Court of Session in Scotland earlier this year referred to Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) a case seeking “guidance” for politicians on Article 50 to identify whether the UK can unilaterally – without the consent of other EU Member States – revoke its Notice.

The politicians behind the legal bid are Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, Labour MEPs Catherine Stilher and David Martin, and SNP MEP Alyn Smith.

Last week the government appealed to the Scottish judges to halt their decision but failed. The CJEU is due to hear the case on November 27. The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.

Meantime, legal advisors to the political group have asked the Supreme Court for permission to make public the legal arguments advanced by Mr Raab in his application. They say the Secretary of State has so far refused this claiming the matter is not in the public domain.

They sent a letter to the Supreme Court on November 13 saying: “The present case is a matter of the highest public interest and the legal arguments of the Secretary of State are matters which cannot be said to require secrecy.”

A lawyer linked with the case, Jo Maugham QC, said: “We believe in open justice. Litigation of national importance should not take place under cloak of secrecy.

“We have asked the Supreme Court for permission to make public why government says MPs must be kept in the dark about the options parliament has if there is no deal.”

In a policy paper published on November 6, 2018, the Department for Exiting the European Union said: “The United Kingdom Government contests the admissibility of these Questions which amount on any view to a request for an “advisory opinion”, on the basis that the CJEU has long refused for very good reasons (a) to answer hypothetical questions; or (b) to provide advisory opinions.

“Nothing about the ‘Brexit context’ of this case detracts from such principles.”

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