Parliament Prorogued Without a Bercow Tantrum

There were incredible scenes in Parliament last night, as the prorogation ceremony ran without a hitch; totally devoid of any singing from Labour MPs and without a tantrum from Bercow. Watch the footage above while we wait for Baroness Hale to decide whether this one’s ok or not…

Major’s Supreme Hypocrisy


Former prime minister turned anti-prorogation crusader John Major is about to giving evidence to the Supreme Court today. Major has already been widely mocked for his hypocrisy given his 1997 pre-general election prorogation which shut down the cash for access report being published, it’s largely forgotten that he’d already used the same ruse the previous year.

Back in 1996 the Commons didn’t even usually sit in September – only in 2003 did that change. So in 1996 the Commons had not sat for close on to two and a half months, between 25 July and 14 October, due to summer recess, Major still decided to prorogue for 7 days three days after returning, ostensibly to have a Queens Speech. Meaning parliament didn’t sit for a full three

Mid to late 1996 was rather fraught time for Major, with the cash for access scandal already in full swing (Hamilton and Greer withdrew their libel action on 30 September 1996). So a three-month break in parliament was a welcome relief from difficult questions.

What will Major’s next move be? Perhaps he’ll condemn Boris for adultery…

Boris Can Prorogue Parliament Says Scottish Judge

Boris’s planned prorogation of Parliament is lawful, says judge at the highest court in Scotland. Another defeat for QC Jolyon and Joanna Cherry MP.

Boris’s Prorogation Will Be Shorter than Major’s

 

The news of Boris’s planned prorogation has naturally sent Remainers into hysterics, calling the move “undemocratic“, “outrageous” and comparing the PM to a “tin pot dictator” – all for using a bog-standard procedural technique. It’s set to be an entertaining day…

As Guido has reported before, prorogation has historically been used by Attlee, Major and Canadian PM Stephen Harper for political purposes. The move is even less surprising when taking into account the UK is currently enjoying the longest Parliamentary session ever since 1653, so a Queen’s Speech is long overdue.

Whilst everyone else is losing their heads, Guido thought it would be helpful to remind everyone that John Major’s prorogation – which he used to cover up the cash for questions scandal – lasted from the March 21 until the 1997 General Election: a period of 6 weeks, compare this to today’s announced prorogation that will result in Parliament losing only 4 sitting days. One rule for remainers, another for Boris. 

BREAKING: Boris to Prorogue Parliament

It’s being reported that Boris is set to prorogue parliament from 11th September, thereby preventing MPs from being able to table a vote of no confidence before the Brexit deadline. The move, which is certain to infuriate Remain MPs, will be difficult to challenge in court as it is standard practice for the purpose of a bog-standard new Queen’s Speech. A new Queen’s Speech will be scheduled for 14th October, when Parliament will return with no time to stop No Deal…

The move, agreed to in secret, was set to be unveiled at this afternoon’s Privy Council meeting, where three privy councillors (led by Jacob Rees Mogg) will ask the Queen for a prorogation in council for 9th September. More on this as we get it…

UPDATE: Read Boris’s letter to MPs here:

 

UPDATE II: Here is the official declaration following the Queen’s approval at Council this morning. Prorogation to start between the 9th and 12th, and run through to the 14th October

Bercow Selects Grieve’s New Anti-Brexit Amendment

In the most predictable development of the day, Bercow has selected Grieve’s beefed-up anti-prorogation amendment, despite it being even more contrived than the version that was rejected by Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing last week. There’s a sizable number of Tories who have put their name to it already, former minister Alastair Burt co-sponsoring the amendment with Hilary Benn despite not even rebelling on the weaker Grieve amendment last week. Wonder what Jeremy Hunt thinks about one of his leading supporters co-sponsoring an amendment as hostile as this?

The Tories are expected to put a ‘hard three-line whip’ against the amendment, rebels think they’ve convinced ministers to abstain. Even with less than a week left, May surely can’t allow Cabinet Ministers to flagrantly flaunt a three-line whip…

Gauke Doesn’t Rule Out Resigning to Vote With Grieve

The Northern Ireland Bill is heading back from the Lords today with fresh amendments designed to thwart prorogation, courtesy of Dominic Grieve’s moat-cleaning buddy Lord Hailsham. Grieve himself is considering having another go at adding his out-of-order amendment now his other key ally John Bercow is back in the chair. All of which means a number of very tight votes today…

It could be even tighter after Newsnight reported that Remainer Cabinet Ministers were even considering resigning to rebel and vote with Grieve, given most of them expect to be out of a job in a week anyway. Philip Hammond is one on resignation watch, while ‘Gaukeward Squad’ leader David Gauke left the door wide open to rebelling on Today – which would also require his resignation. Could get messy…

UPDATE: Grieve has now tabled an even tougher version of his previously out-of-order amendment, which would force Parliament to return for days on end if a new PM attempts to prorogue. Predictably Bercow has selected it

Major Prorogued Parliament in 1997 to Suppress “Cash for Questions” Sleaze Scandal

John Major has continued his recent campaign to make a fool of himself with a threat this morning to take the Government to court if it prorogues parliament to enable a No Deal Brexit to take place. Funny how Major didn’t have such a problem with proroguing Parliament when he abused his power to do so in 1997 in order to delay the publication of a highly embarrassing report into the “cash for questions” sleaze scandal involving his Government. Flagrant hypocrisy even by his standards, he must be glad no-one sued him then…

Prorogation is presented as a power grab but in practice all it does is keep the law as it is – preventing changes to the statute being made for a time. It wouldn’t work as a mechanism to deliver a No Deal Brexit if MPs hadn’t already voted for No Deal. When they set it as the legal default by passing the EU Withdrawal Act a year ago.

The pernicious trend of Remainers trying to wage ‘lawfare’ against every political decision they don’t like is much more damaging to the constitutional balance of the state. There’s only one group of people who benefit from it – the lawyers…

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