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CIVIL CONTINGENCY: A Means To Deliver Brexit

In an unprecedented three years of political chicanery, Parliament continues to commit itself to delay Brexit indefinitely. Despite multiple setbacks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson continues to state his commitment to deliver Brexit on October 31. Meanwhile, an unlikely source proposes an authoritarian solution for the embattled Prime Minister.

In an article for The Commentator, Dr Sean Gabb argues that the Prime Minister could use the Civil Contingencies Act (2004) as a means to deliver Brexit. Invoking the Act would allow Mr Johnson to rule by decree and get Britain out of the European Union on October 31.

Dr Gabb, the former Director of the Libertarian Alliance, describes the Act as a “constitutional outrage” but says that invoking it would “give voice to the people”. Dr Gabb added that while he opposed the existence of the authoritarian law, it could justifiably be used as “an instrument of liberation.”

The Act, which went on the books under Tony Blair’s premiership allows the government to declare an emergency and rule by decree. The definition of emergency in the Act is wide-ranging, and includes “an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the United Kingdom” (s.1(1)), which Dr Gabb notes “seems to cover what the Opposition claims would be the effect of a No-Deal Brexit.”

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Using the Act would undoubtedly prove extremely controversial; however, it would end the deadlock and allow the Prime Minister to get the United Kingdom out of the EU in good time without a deal.

Perhaps in this instance, and only in this instance, the ends justify the means?

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