One consequence of
Germany losing the Second World War was that the successor state to the Third
Reich had imposed upon it a new constitution, in which British legal experts
had a part to play. It is thus highly
significant that Article 20 of that constitution (the Basic Law) declares that
all state authority comes from the people. Although not specifically stated,
the effect of this was to recognise that the German people are sovereign.
British effectively bequeathing this principle to a nation it had a hand in
vanquishing, it does not apply to the people of the United Kingdom. Instead, we have the doctrine of
“Parliamentary sovereignty”. Parliament is the supreme legal authority in the
UK, which can create or end any law. Generally, the courts cannot overrule its
legislation and no Parliament can pass laws that future Parliaments cannot change. Parliamentary sovereignty, says the Parliamentary
website, is the most important part of the UK constitution.
We believe this should change, not least because, in the name of parliamentary
sovereignty, our MPs have a licence to ignore the wishes of the people and to
hand power to bodies such as the European Union. This has led to a situation
where UK courts recognise the supremancy of EU law in preference to our own,
and can strike down laws made by Parliament.
However, we do not believe that we should make a statement along the lines
of the German constitution, declaring the source of power. What can be made can
be unmade. What can be granted can be
rescinded. Instead, we take our guidance
from the United States constitution, which starts with the words: “We the
people … ”. In so doing, it signifies that the fount of all political power
stems from the people, but there is no declaration of sovereignty as such.
Sovereignty is regarded as inalienable. Because of that, it cannot be taken
away by any body, governmental or otherwise.
In our deliberations, we thought we should make the same assumption, that
the people of the United Kingdom are sovereign, from whom all power stems.
Sovereignty, however, has to be more than an abstract. It needs to be given
effect. Therefore, we thought it would be helpful to have a declaration of the
“state of the art”, which would frame our first demand - that the sovereignty
of the people be formally recognised by the Crown, by our Governments, and by
our Courts, Parliaments and Assemblies.
As to the declaration, there are many forms of words, and variations which
might be used. The essence is conveyed by this phrasing:
The form taken by any formal recognition is not important. But, in a
country where great store is laid by ceremony, it would be fitting to have a
Royal Proclamation, affirmations by the Prime Minister and the First Ministers
of the devolved governments, and formal declarations by both Westminster Houses
of Parliament, and by the devolved Parliaments and Assemblies.
We, the Sovereign
Citizens of the United Kingdom do hereby redeem and declare our Sovereignty. We
assert our right, jointly and severally, to the ownership of the United
Kingdom, and to the unfettered control thereof. As a sovereign people, owing no
allegiance or duty to any other government or state beyond these shores, we are
not bound by any statutes or laws other than those, which we ourselves approve.
The essential effect of a declaration of sovereignty and its formal
recognition is the recognition that power resides with us, the people, making government in all
its manifestations subordinate to us. Government must be the servant of the
people, not their master. It is there to do our bidding, in a manner of our