One anti-no-deal Brexit MP has raised the prospect of a plan to create an alternative parliament to try and stop a new prime Minister pursuing a no-deal WTO Brexit, by proroguing parliament.
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Recent Tory leadership candidate, Rory Stewart, who surprised many with his success during the rounds, says he would help to organise an alternative parliament, possibly operating out of The Church House in Westminster, that would fight against a no deal exit from the European Union (EU) should a new PM prorogue parliament in an attempt to prevent MPs obstructing it.
He also says that they could possibly recruit a former Speaker of the House of Commons, such as Betty Boothroyd, to oversee the sessions.
And, on any new Prime Minister, like Boris Johnson, proroguing parliament to stop MPs blocking a no deal Brexit, Rory Stewart said:
"I think it does not work. I would simply work with colleagues simply to organise another parliament across the road. That sounds quite Civil War-ist, but that is what happened in 2002 when Blair tried not to have a vote on the Iraq war. MPs were invited to Church House, and Blair backed down. I got into a lot of trouble when I first proposed this, though it’s just a fact that parliament is not about [the] building. We can certainly find a retired Speaker to chair this."
So, the plan would be what exactly?
Get all the Remainer MPs into an outside venue and debate and pass laws to keep the UK in the EU?
To be even halfway legitimate they'd need to open access to all MPs.
And isn't the Speaker meant to be one of the elected MPs?
Then there's the lawfulness and authority angles.
Many on the Remain side would say this is legitimate and lawful because they've been elected, so surely this is acceptable.
Except they'd cry foul were it the other way round!
But there is the important matter of the House of Commons Mace.
This is held securely by the Serjeant-at-Arms of the House of Commons, who carries it into the chamber every day the house sits and removes it when they rise for the day.
According to the parliament website:
"The mace in Parliament is the symbol of royal authority and without it neither House can meet or pass laws."
Then there's the matter of the House of Lords itself. It has two maces.
Now, to pass a statute generally requires readings and committees in both houses followed by majority votes then Royal Assent.
So, that would require peers of the realm to participate in this 'alternative parliament' as well as the presence of the House of Commons and House of Lords maces in whichever venue they choose.
And who's going to document it all etc.
And finally, who's going to ask which representative of the Queen, to sign it into law?
No, in reality this threat of some sort of parallel governance is a nonsense from start to finish.
All it represents is a glorified echo-chamber talking shop publicity stunt.
But it would, of course, drag in the whole pro-Remain media machine and minute by minute reporting and interviews by those trying to convince us of its legitimacy.
Oh, and the pro-Remain campaigners would also be out in force in Westminster with more tiresome shouting and EU flag waving.
Finally, isn't there a word for attempting to by-pass the legal prorogation of parliament by setting up a rival to the Royal Authority as represented by the Mace?