Tag Archives: Supreme Court

Demand for Johnson to resign after Supreme Court’s prorogation ruling. But will he?

Boris Johnson: One may imagine that his face had a similar expression after he was woken up to be told the Supreme Court’s decision.

This morning, Boris Johnson was being urged to resign for giving public money and a place on trade junkets to a personal friend. Now he’s facing a much more serious charge.

Here’s Jeremy Corbyn:

It’s not an idle demand.

Boris Johnson has tried to overrule Parliamentary democracy, and he has manipulated the Queen in order to do so.

The only proper course of action for him now is to come back from the UN with his tail between his legs and offer the Queen his resignation.

But you can bet he won’t do that willingly.

In less than two months, he has made himself the worst prime minister the UK has ever had. The government falls further into disgrace with every day he remains in position.

But it is what he has always wanted so, like a spoiled child, he’ll stay right where he is until someone forces him out.

Let us hope that happens sooner, rather than later.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Prorogation of Parliament was wrong, Supreme Court judges rule – and Parliament may resume NOW

Judges at the Supreme Court have ruled that Boris Johnson’s five-week prorogation of Parliament was unlawful – he was legally wrong to do it and MPs must meet again at their earliest opportunity.

By unanimous judgement, all 11 Supreme Court judges overruled the High Court to say that the courts may rule on whether the prorogation was legal.

They said prorogation would be unlawful if it frustrated or prevented unreasonably the ability of Parliament to act as legislature and hold the Executive – the government – to account.

If it did, there was no need for the court to consider if the Prime Minister’s motive was unlawful.

Baroness Hale, president of the Supreme Court, said this was not a normal prorogation; it prevented Parliament from carrying out its role.

Parliament has a right to a voice in how Brexit comes about. No justification for taking action to stop Parliament from doing so has been brought forth.

The court is bound to conclude, therefore, that the decision to prorogue Parliament was unlawful, void and of no effect because it stopped Parliament from carrying out its constitutional functions without justification.

The prorogation is also void and of no effect.

Parliament has not been prorogued and it is for Parliament to decide what to do next, including meeting as soon as possible.

The Prime Minister need not take any further action in this matter.

This is an enormous defeat for Boris Johnson. He has wasted Parliament’s time since September 9 and MPs will certainly have something to say about it when they reconvene – in the very near future.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Farage proved full of wind as ‘100,000-strong’ march on Supreme Court is cancelled

A Vox Political reader recently complained because this picture is such an extreme close-up. The point is that the microphone makes him look like Hitler, of course.

A Vox Political reader recently complained because this picture is such an extreme close-up. The point is that the microphone makes him look like Hitler, of course.

What a pathetic figure of fun Nigel Farage really is.

This poster-boy for xenophobia called a demonstration, march and rally for the day the Supreme Court would consider the government’s appeal against allowing democracy into the Brexit negotiations, earlier this month.

He said it was to support the government’s attempt to stop Lords and MPs from delaying Brexit, but in fact it would have been a bid to defy democracy.

The High Court had ruled that Parliament should have democratic oversight of the Brexit process, with a vote on whether to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, that begins a two-year process of decoupling from the European Union.

So it was a march in opposition to democracy, to be led by a charismatic xenophobe. Of course it was going to attract far-right-wing organisations.

And it seems individuals linked to the BNP, EDL and Britain First had signalled they may join the demonstration.

So now – having learned about this, it seems the organisers at Leave.EU have developed a bad case of cold feet and decided to stay at home, rather than put on their marching shoes.

They have said the idea did not get far into the planning stage before being ditched as unfeasible.

You know how this looks, I hope.

It looks as though Farage opened his mouth too wide, said something he couldn’t support, and then walked away.

He blew a load of hot air about how he, personally, was going to mobilise 100,000 people to ensure he would get his way on Brexit – which is, eerily, exactly the same as what Theresa May wants – but could not actually deliver.

Anybody can talk big.

I could say Vox Political is the most influential blog on the planet and has swayed the results of all elections since democracy was adopted, even though the blog was only founded in 2011. I’m sure some people would believe me if I did (I won’t, though. It would provoke unhealthy comparisons with the Freemasons… and The Sun).

Now, with no march taking place, Farage is caught between two unattractive conclusions.

Either he is a far-right-wing would-be dictator who hope to mobilise the masses against democracy.

Or he is a windbag.

Make your choice.

A march on the Supreme Court planned by Nigel Farage and other Brexit campaigners has been cancelled, sources close to the Ukip politician have confirmed.

The demonstration, proposed for the day the court’s judges will consider a crucial Brexit case, was dropped with it never having gone past early planning stages, the source said.

But reports also emerged claiming the event, organised by the Brexit campaign group Leave.EU, was cancelled due to fears that it could be hijacked by far right groups like the EDL and BNP.

At the start of next month, all 11 Supreme Court justices will rule on a government appeal against a High Court judgement forcing Theresa May to give Parliament a vote on triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, officially launching Brexit talks.

Leave.EU had said that during the court case thousands would gather for a protest ending in Parliament Square, within sight of the Supreme Court.

Source: Nigel Farage’s Brexit march on Supreme Court cancelled amid claims it might be hijacked by far right groups | The Independent

Kristallnacht resurrected – will YOU stand by and let the fascists return?

[Image: Shana Knizhnik/Twitter.]

[Image: Shana Knizhnik/Twitter.]

People do these things because they think they can.

Only 15 hours ago, at the time of writing, Jack Monroe tweeted the following:

https://twitter.com/MxJackMonroe/status/796275010629406720

I’m willing to be even Jack didn’t expect America to respond so quickly.

It’s a small sign, but could be a portent of bigger things to come.

They do these things because they think they can – and the election of Donald Trump means they think they can.

But let’s not get holier-than-thou about it; in a few weeks, Nigel Farage intends to lead 100,000 like-minded individuals in a mass rally intended to intimidate the Supreme Court into overturning the rule of law regarding plans for the UK to leave the European Union.

He thinks this is permissible because around a quarter of the UK’s population voted ‘Leave’, although he’ll tell you it was 52 per cent.

Kristallnacht happened in 1938 – nearly six years into Adolf Hitler’s reign of terror in Nazi Germany. For the US – and us – to be in a similar situation now tells a terrifying tale about the direction of western politics over the last few years.

It has to stop.

And the only person who can stop it…

Is you.

What are you going to do?

“Sieg Heil 2016,” read black letters, scrawled across a shop window in Philadelphia.

The Nazi-era phrase was written the day after Donald Trump won the presidency, and on the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht in Germany.

On [9] November 1938, fascists torched, vandalized and destroyed Jewish homes, shops and synagogues.

They painted stars and racial slurs, broke windows and caused fear and panic as Hitler rose to power.

On a grey, damp day in November 2016, the vandalism on the streets of Philadelphia is a haunting reminder of the all too recent past. A vandal wrote a Nazi phrase in black spraypaint on the window of an abandoned fur shop on Broad Street, alongside a swastika.

Source: Vandals destroy shop windows and graffiti anti-Semitic slurs in Philadelphia on 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht | The Independent

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Sickening: Court gives Iain Duncan Smith the last laugh on rape victim’s Bedroom Tax eviction

He laughed: Remember, IDS laughed at the terror he was causing a rape victim by using the Bedroom Tax to make it too expensive for her to keep a 'panic room'. The man thrives on terrorising others.

He laughed: Remember, IDS laughed at the terror he was causing a rape victim by using the Bedroom Tax to make it too expensive for her to keep a ‘panic room’. The man thrives on terrorising others.

Judges at the Supreme Court should hang their heads in shame after they gave Iain Duncan Smith another reason to laugh at the plight of a rape victim.

The woman identified as ‘A’ didn’t have a panic room fitted in her house to protect her from a “violent partner” – as the BBC report I quoted extensively below puts it. She was a rape victim who needed it to protect her against any further attacks.

When it was revealed that she was being evicted from that house because of the Bedroom Tax, Iain Duncan Smith – the man behind the policy – laughed.

He laughed.

He thought it was funny that a woman who had been raped was being turfed out of her sanctuary against further violation.

And now the Supreme Court has given him reason to laugh again.

The solicitor for ‘A’ has said her client intended to challenge the ruling in the European Court of Human Rights, for the breach of her rights and “other vulnerable women whose lives are at risk”.

On a more optimistic note, congratulations to Vox Political reader Paul Rutherford who has – at last! – won his own case against the Department for Work and Pensions.

Paul and Susan Rutherford, from Pembrokeshire, care for their severely disabled grandson, Warren, in a specially adapted three-bedroom bungalow.

They can only care for Warren with the help of paid carers who regularly stay overnight.

Lawyers said the current regulations allow for an additional bedroom if a disabled adult requires overnight care but not for a disabled child in the same situation.

The court ruled in their favour.

No doubt Mr Rutherford will let us all know the details in the near future.

Note: The BBC report, below, inaccurately states that the Bedroom Tax is the removal of a subsidy for social housing tenants deemed to have “spare” rooms in their homes. This is a false claim. There was never any subsidy. The State Over-Occupation Charge, to give its official title, cuts Housing Benefit provided to people in social housing by an arbitrary amount, for no very good reason. People are allocated social housing according to the dwellings that are available to them and have no choice over whether the accommodation allocated to them is too big.

A woman who suffers from spina bifida and a couple who look after their severely disabled grandson have won their Supreme Court appeals against the so-called “bedroom tax”.

The court ruled that the government’s changes to housing benefit discriminated against them.

But five other people had similar challenges dismissed by the court.

The court said councils should be able to decide which tenants get discretionary payments to help them.

Disability campaigners have been protesting against the system, which removed subsidies for social housing tenants who were deemed to have “spare” rooms in their homes, since it was introduced by the government in 2013.

Dubbed the “bedroom tax” by Labour, tenants affected had payments cut by 14%.

For spina bifida sufferer Jacqueline Carmichael, 44, from Southport, Merseyside, the need for an extra bedroom was medical, he said, with judges unanimously ruling that “the scheme in relation to her is discriminatory”.

Her condition means she has to sleep in a hospital bed in a fixed position. There is not enough space for a second bed so her husband Jayson sleeps in a separate bedroom.

The court … ruled in favour of Pembrokeshire couple Paul and Susan Rutherford and their 15-year-old grandson Warren. Their case focused on the impact of the policy on disabled children needing overnight care.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Rutherford said: “It’s probably the best day we’ve had in the last three and a half years and we’re just really glad that it’s all over.

“Glad that we’ve won for everybody else who’s in our situation, because there’s quite a few out there who are”.

However, the judges rejected the cases of five others who have had their housing benefit reduced as a result of the government’s changes. They were:
Richard Rourke, 49, from Bakestone Moor, Derbyshire, who said he needed an additional bedroom to store mobility equipment. He has had his housing benefit reduced by 25%
James Daly, from Stoke, the father of a severely-disabled teenage son. He and his ex-partner share the boy’s care
Mervyn Drage, from Manchester, occupies a three-bedroom flat in a high-rise tower block, and has lived there for 19 years. He suffers from mental health and physical problems
A woman identified as “A” who had a council house fitted with a panic room to protect her from a violent partner
Plus another case made by a mother who can only be referred to as “JD” to protect the identity of her disabled adult daughter

Source: Two cases won against housing benefit cut – BBC News

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A mass rally to oppose democracy? Someone should tell Nigel Farage this is the UK, not Nuremberg

Nigel Farage: This image describes his politics better than words.

Nigel Farage: This image describes his politics better than words.

Isn’t mass mobilisation behind a single charismatic leader a symptom of fascism?

Yes it is. Anybody considering attending Mr Farage’s rally should think very carefully about that.

And isn’t the Brexit court case about whether there should be democratic oversight of the Brexit process, rather than blind submission to the dictatorship of the Conservative Government?

Yes it is. It has nothing to do with delaying Brexit, other than tangentially – with delays possible if democracy is not upheld.

And isn’t it pointless having ‘Leave’-supporting barristers in court when the case is not about whether the UK should remain in the EU or leave it – that matter having been settled by a referendum?

Correct. The case is simply about how the process of leaving the EU is managed. The high court ruled in favour of democracy; Mr Farage opposes it.

And isn’t the ‘Leave’ campaign facing the possibility of court action against it, based on claims that it knowingly misled voters in the previously-mentioned EU referendum?

Yes. Yes it is.

Oh dear. Knowingly misleading voters, opposing democracy, mobilisation of the masses… perhaps someone should search Mr Farage’s house for his copy of Mein Kampf.

Nigel Farage is planning to lead a 100,000-strong march to the Supreme Court to coincide with the start of the Government’s attempt to stop peers and MPs delaying Brexit.

The march, organised by the anti-European Union campaign Leave.EU, will end with a rally in Parliament Square within sight of the court building where judges will be hearing the appeal.

The campaign group is planning to “crowd fund” £100,000 from its supporters to pay for barristers to represent Leave supporters in the court action.

This will mean that the anti-EU supporters will have their own barristers in the legal action, who can challenge claims made by Remain supporters and even the Government.

Mr Farage, the interim leader of the UK Independence Party, and other prominent Leave supporters are due to lead the march from Trafalgar Square along Whitehall to Parliament Square.

Source: Farage to lead 100,000-strong march on Supreme Court on day of historic Brexit court hearing

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High Court throws out Duncan Smith’s “flawed and tawdry” retrospective workfare law

Criminal: Iain Duncan Smith has made the UK government into a criminal regime, illegally victimising its most vulnerable citizens.

Criminal: Iain Duncan Smith has made the UK government into a criminal regime, illegally victimising its most vulnerable citizens.

Iain Duncan Smith took an metaphorical slap in the face from the High Court today when Mrs Justice Lang said his retroactive law to refuse docked payments to jobseekers was not legal.

The Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013 was rushed onto the statute books after the DWP discovered the rules under which it had docked Jobseekers’ Allowance from 228,000 people, who had refused to take part in Workfare schemes, were illegal.

The ruling does not mean that everyone who was penalised for refusing to take part, or for leaving the scheme once they had started it and realised what it was, may claim back the JSA that had been withdrawn from them.

But anyone who appealed against a benefit sanction on the basis of the previous decision will be entitled to win their appeals and be repaid the withheld benefits – as Vox Political advised at the time. That payout could be as high as £130 million.

The judge said retrospective application of the 2013 law conflicted with the European Convention on Human Rights and “interfered with the right to a fair trial” of all those affected.

(This is, of course, one reason why the government wants to repeal the Human Rights Act – your human rights obstruct ministers’ ability to abuse you.)

This is the latest twist in a legal challenge brought by Cait Reilly, a graduate who fell foul of the scheme, in 2012. She demanded a judicial review on the grounds that being forced to give up voluntary work in a museum (she wanted to be a museum curator) to stack shelves in Poundland breached her human rights.

Poundland no longer takes part in mandatory work activity schemes run by the UK government.

Her challenge succeeded when the Court of Appeal ruled that she had not been properly notified about the scheme. This meant that the government was guilty of criminal acts in removing benefit from Ms Reilly and hundreds of thousands of others.

In response, the Coalition passed an Act that retrospectively legalised its actions – but claimants argued that this was unfair and demanded their compensation.

In the meantime, Iain Duncan Smith’s own appeal was heard – and dismissed – by the Supreme Court.

And after the Act was passed, it became clear that the Coalition had known since 2011 that the policies it was enforcing do more harm than good and are not in the national interest.

Mrs Justice Lang said today (July 4) that “the absence of any consultation with representative organisations” as well as the lack of scrutiny by Parliamentary committees had led to “misconceptions about the legal justification for the retrospective legislation”.

The 2013 Act introduced a new “draconian provision, unique to this cohort of claimants” which was “not explained or justified” by the government in Parliament “at the time”.

Mrs Justice Lang rejected the Secretary of State’s assertion that flaws in the 2011 Regulations were simply “a technicality or a loophole”, that the 2013 Act sought to give effect to Parliament’s ‘original intention’ or that repayments to benefits claimants would be “an undeserved windfall”.

She also recognised that it would be “unjust to categorise the claimants in the Cait Reilly case as claimants “who have not engaged with attempts made by the state to return them to work”, as asserted by the Department for Work and Pensions.

“This case is another massive blow to this Government’s flawed and tawdry attempts to make poor people on benefits work for companies, who already make massive profits, for free,” said solicitor Phil Shiner of Public Interest Lawyers, who appeared for the unemployed.

“Last year the Supreme Court told Iain Duncan Smith and the Coalition government that the scheme was unlawful. In this case the High Court has now told the Government that the attempt to introduce retrospective legislation, after the DWP had lost in the Court of Appeal, is unlawful and a breach of the Human Rights Act and is a further disgraceful example of how far this Government is prepared to go to flout our constitution and the rule of law. [bolding mine]

“I call on the DWP to ensure that the £130 million of benefits unlawfully withheld from the poorest section of our society is now repaid.”

So there it is, in black and white. Iain Duncan Smith has made the Coalition government a criminal organisation, guilty of 228,000 human rights violations.

This is a serious matter; some of these people may have been put in serious financial hardship as a result of the Coalition’s actions. One hopes very much that nobody died but if they did, those fatalities should be added to the many thousands who have passed away as a result of Iain Duncan Smith’s homicidal regime for claimants of incapacity benefits.

Let us not forget, also, that we remain at the mercy of these tyrants. Iain Duncan Smith has announced he intends to waste yet more taxpayers’ money on another appeal. In the meantime, a DWP spokeswoman said the legislation remained “in force” and the government would not be compensating anyone pending the outcome of its appeal.

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Bullying in Parliament over Universal Credit?

The "bully": Perhaps Parliament is merely giving Iain Duncan 'RTU' Smith enough rope to hang himself, as the saying goes - but when considering the huge list of his misdemeanours, one has to ask how much rope he needs.

The “bully”: Perhaps Parliament is merely giving Iain Duncan ‘RTU’ Smith enough rope to hang himself, as the saying goes – but when considering the huge list of his misdemeanours, one has to ask how much rope he needs.

Sometimes information becomes public that boggles the mind. It seems Iain Duncan Smith bullied members of the Public Accounts Committee into blaming his permanent secretary, Robert Devereaux, for the failings of Universal Credit.

That’s right – it is alleged that the man who is afraid to reveal how many people have died because of his policies, whose mandatory work schemes have proved less successful than doing nothing, who changed the law after his rules for Workfare were found to be illegal – only for the Supreme Court to rule they were still illegal, whose departmental annual report is now nearly eight months late, who lied to Parliament and the public about the success of his benefit cap and who is afraid to face the Commons Work and Pensions committee to account for himself, has resorted to intimidation because he doesn’t want to take the blame for his latest – or rather, longest-running, catastrophe.

Let’s not even get started on the Bedroom Tax!

The allegation appears in a BBC News report, under a headline that claims David Cameron is supporting the unrepentant Work and Pensions secretary. Does this mean Cameron approves of such ungentlemanly behaviour as bullying? The report states that “Downing Street said the work and pensions secretary was ‘doing exactly the right thing’ with the new scheme.”

Smith has denied claims he tried to “lean on” members of the committee to place the blame on Mr Devereaux, but Labour sources on the committee told BBC News there was a “concerted” effort by Tory members to shift the blame, with extra meetings and discussions over amendments “pointing the finger” at the permanent secretary.

But David Cameron’s official spokesman was vague in his support from the Secretary-in-a-State. Asked if it was proper for a secretary of state to approach members of a select committee ahead of publication of a report, in the way alleged of …Smith, he said: “There are procedures that are in place for the relationship between departments and select committees and that is something the Department for Work and Pensions have been very clear about.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it?

Labour’s shadow leader of the Commons, Angela Eagle, has demanded an urgent statement from …Smith: “This morning we learn of a wholly improper attempt to lean on members of an independent select committee of this House by Mr Duncan Smith and his parliamentary team to try to put the blame on the permanent secretary.”

She was wrong.

We don’t need a statement. We need disciplinary procedures.

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Defeated again over work schemes: Iain Duncan Smith loses his case in court

Victory at last: The Supreme Court's ruling means vindication for Cait Reilly, who has spent nearly two years battling against a system that costs the taxpayer millions while failing to increase employment.

Victory at last: The Supreme Court’s ruling means vindication for Cait Reilly, who has spent nearly two years battling against a system that costs the taxpayer millions while failing to increase employment.

It’s a return to the drawing-board for the man we call ‘Returned To Unit’ after the Supreme Court ruled against Iain Duncan Smith’s Workfare appeal.

The five Supreme Court justices upheld a Court of Appeal decision, made against the government in February.

The case had been brought by Cait Reilly, a geology graduate who, while unemployed but volunteering at a local museum in order to gain experience towards getting a curator’s job, had been ordered by the Department for Work and Pensions to work for her benefits, stacking shelves at Poundland.

It should be remembered that Poundland is perfectly capable of employing its own workers on full wages. At the time, it ran 390 stores nationwide and made £21,500,000 profit in 2010 – enough to employ extra staff at all its branches and still make a good profit.

The amount it was saving by not paying Ms Reilly, coupled with the fiscal multiplier that adds around 60p to every pound she would have earned if she had been an employee, means Poundland could have made a £1,188.48 profit from the work she was doing for the firm at the taxpayers’ expense.

Total profit for all companies using benefit recipients on ‘Mandatory Work Activity’ between June 2011 and July 2012 (878,000 people): £894, 416, 090 – nearly £1 billion.

Loss to the taxpayer: £16,933,000 (not including payments to Work Provider companies).

Together with another claimant, Jamieson Wilson, Ms Reilly brought a judicial review against the scheme, claiming it was a violation of human rights under article 4 (2) of the European Convention on Human Rights: “No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour” – and the government lost the case.

Mr Justice Foskett stated: “Her original complaint arose from what she was wrongly told was a compulsory placement on a scheme that (a) impeded her voluntary efforts to maintain and advance her primary career ambition and (b) having embarked upon it, from her perspective, did not offer any worthwhile experience on an alternative career path. It is not difficult to sympathise with her position from that point of view.”

At the time (August 2012), the right-wing media slanted their reports to make it seem that Ms Reilly and Mr Wilson had lost, but this was soon rectified because the government appealed against the ruling, which stated that, if Ms Reilly had been properly informed of the regulations, she would not have been led to believe she was being put into forced labour.

The problem for Mr… Smith was that Ms Reilly and Mr Wilson were not the only ones to have been misled in this way, and the ruling opened up the government to claims for compensation, from thousands of benefit claimants, for millions of pounds that had been taken away from them because they had refused to take part in the ‘work-for-benefits’ schemes. The illegality of the regulations meant the DWP, under Iain Duncan Smith’s supervision, had broken the law more than 228,000 times – RTU is a criminal more than a quarter of a million times over.

In any case, evidence quickly piled up, proving that Workfare doesn’t work. During its first 14 months, only 3.53 per cent of jobseekers who took part in the government’s mandatory work activity programme – of which Workfare is a part – actually found a job for six months or more. They would have had a better chance of finding a job if the work programme had not existed.

This did not prevent the Department for Work and Pensions from appealing against the ruling and, in February, the Court of Appeal responded – by upholding the claim that the scheme was unlawful.

This meant that anyone who was penalised for refusing to take part, or for leaving the scheme once they had started it and realised what it was, could claim back the Jobseekers’ Allowance that had been withdrawn from them for non-compliance. The payout could have been as high as £130 million.

Smith wasn’t going to have any of that! He launched emergency legislation to reverse the outcome of the decision and change the regulations retrospectively, making it impossible for benefit claimants to demand payouts of between £530 and £570 each for decisions made while the illegal rules were in force.

Lawyers and campaigners branded the DWP’s move as “repugnant” and “unbelievably disgusting”, saying it undermined the rule of law. This blog concurs with that assessment. It is an appalling abuse of governmental power.

But the government succeeded in undermining the rule of law after all but a few members of the Labour Party allowed it to pass, having negotiated a few “safeguards” that have proved to be useless in practice.

Fortunately, some people have a little more backbone and Ms Reilly and Mr Wilson took their case to the Supreme Court. It is from this body that today’s – final – judgement has come.

Now comes the nitty-gritty.

After the introduction of the emergency law, the solicitors Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), who represent Reilly and Wilson, lodged a judicial review accusing RTU of conspiring to undermine basic human rights by enacting the retroactive legislation. They say they will continue to pursue that judicial review after their success in the supreme court.

A spokesperson for PIL said: “Following today’s judgment, any… jobseekers can object to sanctions that have been imposed and seek the repayment of their benefits. It is truly staggering that Duncan Smith has found himself in this position even after fast-tracking emergency retrospective legislation through parliament. We intend to work with advice organisations to ensure that, following this ruling, affected individuals have the right information and assistance.”

It seems the firm believes the retrospective part of the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013 is no longer valid. That means all 228,000 Workfare victims who were penalised by the DWP will be able to claim their compensation and force the £130 million payout.

Not only that, but it seems reasonable that a legal penalty should be imposed on ‘RTU’ himself. Not only did he enforce the schemes under the illegal regulations, but he also imposed a lengthy and costly legal battle on those who stood up against it, even though it had been found to be wrong in law.

Who knows how much hardship this has caused to people who were already on the breadline before his brutal sanctions were imposed?

How much despair has he caused to people who had no other means of support?

Has anybody died because of this – through health problems, mental health issues leading to suicide, or for other reasons?

It is time for the people who have been most seriously affected by this to get together and start talking to lawyers – Public Interest Lawyers might be a good place to start – about getting restitution from the man who caused this mess.

The taxpayer may well have to foot the bill for the illegal benefit sanctions, and that is only right. They should never have been imposed in the first place and this will only set matters straight.

But the individual minister who caused this should not get away without paying a personal penalty.

Let’s have some accountability in government, Mr… Smith.

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Perverting the course of justice: Once a crime, now government policy

Chequebook justice: Your unelected government wants to ensure that nobody can challenge its policies and decisions - by putting justice within the reach of only the wealthy.

Chequebook justice: Your unelected government wants to ensure that nobody can challenge its policies and decisions – by putting justice within the reach of only the wealthy.

David Cameron and Chris Grayling have been messing with the justice system again. This time, according to The Telegraph, they are planning to make it “tougher” for judicial reviews to be brought to court, to stop the process being “abused” by pressure groups and campaigners.

There’s a lot of Telegraph-speak in that first paragraph, as the Tory-supporting newspaper was working desperately to make governmental perversion of justice acceptable. What this actually means is that Cameron wants to make it impossible for organisations that are capable of mounting legal opposition to unreasonable Conservative/Coalition policies ever to do so.

The only people able to seek judicial reviews of government policy would be individuals who are directly affected – and the government is hoping that these mostly poor people would be unable to afford the cost, thanks to changes in Legal Aid that mean it could not be claimed for welfare or employment cases.

You see how this works? With those changes to Legal Aid and the possibility of wholesale privatisation of the entire court system, where justice was once open to everyone, it will soon be a privilege available only to the wealthiest in the UK.

To Cameron, and his crony Grayling, justice isn’t for you. In fact, it won’t be for anyone. The UK will be about money and power, just as Michael Meacher stated in his recent blog article.

So, for example: The ‘Poundland’ case, which The Guardian reported was to be heard in the Supreme Court yesterday (Monday). The original judicial review was launched in the names of Cait Reilly and Jamieson Wilson, who were both directly affected – but were both unemployed and penniless, and therefore could not afford to take the case to court on their own. Their case was brought with the aid of Public Interest Lawyers – who would most likely be barred from taking part, being considered a pressure group with no direct interest in the matter.

The original case resulted in the government taking the unusual – and highly suspect (in legal terms) – step of passing an emergency retroactive law to legalise its employment schemes, after the tribunal ruled that all of the Coalition’s schemes were acting illegally and opened the government up to a potential £130 million worth of claims for wrongfully-withheld benefits.

PIL has now started a second judicial review – on the retrospective law – claiming it undermines its clients’ right to justice and violates article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Under the new procedures this, too, would be inadmissible.

On the same lines, the judicial review that ruled (in May) that the test used to decide whether people are fit for work actively discriminates against the mentally ill, brought by the Black Triangle Campaign with the charities MIND and Rethink Mental Illness, would also be inadmissible.

So we have examples in which it is clearly in the interests of justice for new laws to be challenged – but which would be blocked outright under Cameron and Grayling’s plan.

According to The Telegraph, “Ministers plan to change the test for applying for a review so that only people with a direct link to policies or decision can challenge it, rather than anyone with a ‘sufficient interest.’

“The concerns echo those of the Prime Minister who previously said the judicial review process was slowing the country’s economic growth as well.”

In fairness, the paper adds: “There are fears that changing the judicial review process could lead to government decisions going unchecked, and charities have also raised concerns about not being able to use the process to challenge decisions and ensure the government is meeting its obligations.”

Meanwhile, Unison has been given leave to launch a judicial review of the introduction of fees for workers seeking employment tribunals.

The BBC reported that people wanting to bring tribunals must now pay a fee for the first time since they were created in the 1960s. It will cost £160 to lodge a claim for matters such as unpaid invoices, with a further charge of £230 if it goes ahead.

More serious claims, such as for unfair dismissal, would cost £250 to lodge, and a further £950 if the case goes ahead.

The plan here is clearly to make it impossible for an unfairly-sacked worker to take a firm to judicial review; how many poorly-paid working class people (and remember, wages have fallen by nine per cent since the credit crunch) have twelve hundred quid knocking around in their back pockets?

“The introduction of punitive fees for taking a claim to an employment tribunal would give the green light to unscrupulous employers to ride roughshod over already basic workers’ rights,” Unison general secretary Dave Prentis told the BBC.

“We believe that these fees are unfair and should be dropped.”

The judicial review will take place in October. Considering Lord Judge’s recent change of heart over privatisation of the courts, it’s a safe bet that by then the government will have ‘persuaded’ any judges hearing the case to support the new charges.

As Mr Meacher wrote: David Cameron’s instincts are “that there is no such thing as the rule of law, and that the only things that ultimately matter are power, fear and money”.