Boris Johnson By FCO (CC-BY-2.0)-small

Image by FCO (CC-BY-2.0)

So, what is this clever little wheeze cooked up by Dominic Grieve to stop a Prime Minister proroguing parliament and then forcing through a no-deal Brexit?


The Remainers are worried that, should Boris Johnson become Prime Minister he might get close to Brexit day only to find that the EU isn't up to negotiating with us and so take the step of proroguing, or shutting down, parliament so that MPs can't get in the way and block our exit from the EU.

The Remainers for their part want to keep the parliamentary shop open for as long as it takes to at least delay Brexit, if not stop it altogether.

But at some stage there would be nothing to stop the prime Minister from going to the Queen and recommending she prorogues parliament for a while before starting a new session.

So how is Dominic Grieve hoping to prevent this happening.

Well, at 7pm tonight MPs will be debating the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill and the plan would be to introduce an amendment that would force the government to make a statement to the house about power-sharing sometime in October.

Now, the latest House of Commons published documentation does not show this amendment as far as I can see, but there are many other amendments, mostly from the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, that if voted through requires the government to lay statutory instruments before parliament prior to the 21st of October.

The aim of forcing a minister to make a statement in the house on a certain date would mean that Parliament could of course not be prorogued before that, or so the thinking goes.

But as an article in Conservative Home says, that plot may be too clever by half.

Because unless certain rules are followed it does not stop prorogation. In that parliament can still be shut down, but the side effect would be that the minister involved would now be unable to report back on that date.

And an example they give is, what if many ministers are due to make reports back to the House and there was a vote of no confidence lost by the government and a general election forced by a vote of MPs and those ministers were then unable to report to the House because parliament had been shut down for the election?

Further, say the authors, Professor Richard Ekins and Sir Stephen laws, the proper way for any law to stop prorogation would need what is known as the 'Queen's Consent' in both houses of parliament.

Without that consent and an explicit statement that the amendment removes the prerogative power of the Prime Minister to prorogue parliament, then it should not be seen to do so.

As the piece says:

"…MPs today have a duty to insist that any legislation that attempts to limit the prerogative should say so clearly and should only be enacted in strict accordance with the rules."

We'll see.

And now, in case you haven't heard, the Brexiteer Labour MP, Kate Hoey, has decided to stand down at the next election.

One assumes we'll get a Remainer in her place, possibly a hard left Momentum type Remainer.


Northern Ireland Bill 2) Richard Ekins and Stephen Laws: Grieve's plan to prevent prorogation is too clever by half

Comment Here!