Zerubbabel wrote: ↑
Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:49 am
Parliament is suspended
OK. Let's start with "keep calm and carry on".
The situation is both more complex and more simple than that.
Prorogation has been approved for the period between 9th-12th September and 14th October. It does not start immediately.
Both Houses will return next week. It is still possible for Corbyn to put down a Vote of No Confidence on the 3rd, with a VONC on either the 4th or 5th.
It is worth remembering that the Queen follows the advice of the Prime Minister. The only way the Commons can change the advice is to... change the Prime Minister. That requires not only a Vote of No Confidence, but also somebody else who will clearly
command the confidence of the House.
The current Leader of the Opposition does not command the confidence of his entire party (MPs) and is unlikely to command the respect of any anti-Boris Tories. Conversely, he and his supporters (estimated at about 75 in a House of 650) will not support compromise candidates like Kenneth Clarke or Harriet Harman. Therefore, there is no clear
candidate to replace Boris. If there is no clear
candidate to replace Boris, he continues as Prime Minister. There should then be another Vote of Confidence in him in 14 days. If he loses that as well, it is election time, with Boris choosing the date (and possibly the agenda) for the election.
The prorogation is time-limited and it is worth remembering that. Boris is trying to starve Parliament of time, but even his resources are limited, as are Parliament's.
That was the complex part. Now onto the simple part.
Prorogation normally happens once a year anyway, though it last happened in 2016. It is generally for just a couple of days. The unusual aspect is the length of time this time around. BUT,...
The House would have *normally* (but we don't live in normal times) have gone into Conference Recess in the second week of September anyway (around the same dates as the prorogation). However, because of Brexit, many MPs were considering voting against the conference recess motion. Prorogation preempts this possible vote against the motion, by forcing the break.
Neither Mr Speaker, not any MP nor the House of Commons can do anything about prorogation (that will require primary legislation; cf dissolution below). No matter how much they hate it.
There is a court case in the Outer House of the Court of Session in Scotland, filed by Jolyon Maugham and the Good Law project (follow them on Twitter for more updates) asking the court to block prorogation. It would be interesting to see what the court says, as it is unclear whether the court even has the right to intervene in what is obviously a political question. The case is due to be heard on 6th September.
Now, just a short note on what prorogation means.
There are three ways that the sittings of the two Houses can stop.
a) Adjournment: Each House adjourns independently. It happens at the end of each day, but occasionally the House can decide to come back after a holiday. That is called an adjournment or a recess and both Houses are currently in recess. Both Houses can be recalled while in recess, but the request can only be made by the Government.
b) Prorogation: Those of you from the Indian subcontinent will know this by the rather quaint term of "suspended animation". Parliament, as a whole, (both Houses) is prorogued by the Queen. That ends the session of Parliament, and as observed above, happened annually. Parliament then meets again with a Queen's Speech (also called the Speech from the Throne). Parliament cannot be recalled while prorogued and the new session requires either the Queen or her representative to start it with the speech.
c) Dissolution: The end of a Parliament. The Queen used to have the power to dissolve Parliament, but that power was removed by the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011. That must be followed by a General Election and then a Queen's speech (starting a new session of Parliament as above).
I am not a lawyer or immigration advisor. My statements/comments do not constitute legal advice. E&OE. Please do not PM me for advice.