At the end of August we saw the Prime Minister advise the Queen that his Government wanted to prorogue Parliament from the 9th of September until the 14th of October. The Queen henceforth agreed to the prorogation and Parliament and all business stopped from the 9th.
At present there is an appeal case being heard in the Supreme Court on weather this prorogation was legal.
In this article I want to try and explain what is happening, in lay mans terms and what may happen over the next few weeks. I will also explain our Libertarian policy on the subject and how the implementation of a written constitution would have avoided the situation that the country finds itself in.
You probably have heard many times on the news that we are in a constitutional crisis. The UK doesn't currently have a written constitution and we currently live in what is called a parliamentary democracy. The current " constitution" is built on conventions and unwritten rules which have been passed down the generations.
There are four ways in which Parliament does not sit and they are Prorogation, Adjournments, Recesses and dissolutions:
Prorogation happens when an end of a Parliamentary session ends and new session begins after the prorogation, starting with the Queens speech at the state opening of Parliament. This is when the Government ( the Executive) brings forth it's new legislative programme.
Adjournments are when Parliament breaks from business for instance at the end of the working day.
Recesses are when the two houses do not sit but other parliamentary business continues such as committee meetings.
Finally there is dissolution and is used when a general election is called and starts 25 working days before an election. Source: Institute for Government paper on Prorogation.
Now, the case which is before the Supreme Court is trying to prove that the call to prorogue was illegal. Many media outlets are stating that the prorogation is for five weeks, this is untrue as there was a planned recess for party conference season starting from 14th September through to 9th of October therefore making the prorogation only eight sitting days the rest being the planned recess for conferences.
In court today it was stated by the Government lawyer that MP's had plenty of time before prorogation to legislate, along with the Benn bill to either curb or shorten the length of the prorogation, and they chose not to. I must also mention at this point that the Speaker of the House, John Bercow allowed the House to deviate from convention by letting opposition MP's to take control of the order paper using Standing order 24 which in turn allowed for the Benn bill to pass. Under normal circumstance a motion brought forward under standing order 24 is to say that the House has "considered" an issue. This was noted in a report by The Institute For Government and I quote " Using Standing order 24 motions in this way would, however, be a significant departure from convention."
This gives the conclusion that it seems that certain parts of the House are making it up as they go along in an attempt to frustrate the Governments hand in any negotiations. With Jo Swinson announcing that the Liberal Democrats will revoke article 50 and cancel Brexit which is neither a Liberal or Democratic thing to do there has to be a credible choice for the electorate at the next election. We must now wait and see what happens but we must respect the democratic vote that took place in June 2016 and leave the EU on 31st of October.
This brings me to my conclusion that our country really does need a new way forward for the governance of the UK, a written constitution that makes the individual sovereign above Parliament. By bringing Government closer to the people through the creation of The Confederation of The Free States of Britain and introducing that written constitution for everyone. We have a whole raft of policies based on small Government, low taxes and the right of the individual, The old two party system is failing us and there really needs to be a change.
I invite you to read our Policy and the written constitution that our members voted for in our manifesto for 2019 the link can be found below: