The National:

YOU really don't have to work hard to mock Jacob Rees-Mogg's European Research Group (ERG) of Brexiteers ... they serve up the punchlines themselves.

The latest example of their lack of self-awareness would be truly astounding if it was from anyone else.

Theresa May returned from talks with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg yesterday with some legal alterations to the backstop on Brexit.

What exactly those details are is for another story ... but, for now, let's remember that the following morning was spent with much debate over what the legal implications of the change actually were.

While most were awaiting the ruling of Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, the hardline Brexiteers of the ERG were coming up with their own analysis.

Their assembled group of lawyers is made up of William Cash, David Jones, Dominic Raab, Suella Braverman, Michael Tomlinson, Robert Courts and Martin Howe, QC, along with Nigel Dodds of the DUP.

But it's the collective name for that group of lawyers that says it all – they are officially known as "the Star Chamber".

Yes, we have been treated today to the Star Chamber's legal verdict on the backstop.

As our columnist Andrew Tickell put it: "If you have *any* knowledge of British legal history, why would you call a group you - presumably - want people to respect "the star chamber"?"

To quote the dictionary definitions of the Star Chamber:

"A former court of inquisitorial and criminal jurisdiction in England that sat without a jury and that became noted for its arbitrary methods and severe punishments, abolished 1641."


"Any tribunal, committee, or the like, which proceeds by arbitrary or unfair methods."

It's almost too perfect. Either they know this and think it's all just a bit of a laugh anyway, or, somehow, can't see the connotations.

Which of those is worse?