Everything you say can and will be used against you.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

The Prime Minister’s Next Ace




The Benn-Burt Bill goes back to the Commons on Monday morning, where it is expected to be finalized and then receive royal assent—and so become a statute.

Can the Prime Minister (“PM”) stop that process? Yes, as a formal, legal matter nothing stops the PM from asking the Queen to prorogue Parliament on Monday morning. It could be a short prorogation—one day. That would kill the bill, even if it was on its way to receive royal assent. And if the Commons restarts the process by passing Benn-Burt-Bill-#2 the next day it sits—absent amendments making the bill palatable to the government—the PM can prorogue again, and again, and again.

Do I expect the PM to take this path? That depends how serious he is about winning the next election. The people opposed to Brexit will vote against him. He has lost them. As for the people who are for Brexit … he must convince them that he is fully behind Brexit on October 31, 2019. If the PM voluntarily passes up lawful means to stop the Benn-Burt Bill … then those pro-Brexit voters have no reason to vote for him and his party. They will flee to others: the Brexit Party. So, yes, I expect the PM is contemplating a Monday morning prorogation.

That’s a prediction—not advice.

Seth

Seth Barrett Tillman, The Prime Minister’s Next Ace, New Reform Club (Sept. 7, 2019, 5:12 PM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/09/the-prime-ministers-next-ace.html>. 



See also: Seth Barrett Tillman, Boris Johnson Still Has An Ace Or Two To PlayNew Reform Club (Sept. 4, 2019, 8:37 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/09/boris-johnson-still-has-ace-or-two-to.html>.

See also: Seth Barrett Tillman, Prime Minister Johnson’s Last & Most Dangerous AceNew Reform Club (Sept. 9, 2019, 9:19 AM), <https://reformclub.blogspot.com/2019/09/prime-minister-johnsons-last-most.html>.



17 comments:

Unknown said...

Why would he do that instead of just letting Lords talk it to death, as they apparently could have done?

Sam L. said...

Because they may be...untrustworthy?

sean foley said...

Interesting prediction. My prediction is that he will prorogue all he way until Oct 14. I don't think he wants to bother the queen every day. He has every right to prorogue. He has requested an election and been denied. So they have essentially just affirmed their confidence in him. He should therefore use whatever tools he has at his disposal.

Fen said...

On this side of the pond it is known as "Failure Theater". The McCains and Romneys sabotage themselves (or refuse to avail themselves of legal remedies) and then pose: "gosh we tried our best but just couldn't find the votes".

Hopefully, the Brexit crowd is wise to that con.

Brett_McS said...

Why bother the Queen at all? Just don't send the bill for her assent. Isn't that an option?

sean foley said...

The pm has no involvement in that, the house of lords will present the bill to the queen for royal assent.

AHH!!! said...

And the Queen can?????

Jay Currie said...

The PM spent Friday and some of Saturday with Her Majesty. A transcript has just been released.

The Queen: Prime Minister.

Boris: Your Majesty.

The Queen: Bit of a pickle Prime Minister.

Boris: Well yes, Your Majesty. Dominic thought it might turn out this way.

The Queen: Boris, you may think you are Pooh but I assure you, Dominic is more Owl like than you realize. He sounds quite smart but isn't.

Boris: Perhaps your Majesty. But what can one do?

The Queen: Are you asking seriously?

Boris: Oh yes, your Majesty, I am up the spout without a pickle, or paddle.

The Queen: Well, yes, Boris, you are. Not the first Prime Minster and, the way things are going, not my last. But being a bear of very little brain you might take some advice. Do you know about residual powers?

Boris: I have heard of them but they have not been used in centuries.

The Queen: They most certainly have. Each time a Prime Minister cocks something up and needs to make Parliament go away for a while I prorogue the thing. Or, as my royal prerogatives are being abridged by the act I, or, rather, you can withhold consent. And you might suggest to me that my assent to the bill might be withheld for, say a month or two. And you might want to do that after prorogation. Or, and I doubt your clever Mr. Cummings has thought of this, you might ask me to write a letter to the EU asking for a one day extension to November 1. I am, after all the Head of State and can write in my own name on the advice of Cabinet which would put paid to any question of violating the "law". Or you might try a combination of some or many of these manouvers and then move a motion of non-confidence against yourself just for the sheer joy of the expression on Mr. Corbyn's rather scruffy face.

Boris (doing a small dance as bears do when finding an unexpected honey pot): Thank you very much, Your Majesty. You have given me much to ponder.

The Queen: Well don't ponder too long. My powers grow rusty in their scabbards and if you wait too long I might die and you'll have to deal with Charles who has forgotten what a scabbard looks like.

Boris: Thank you Kanga, I mean, Your Majesty.

The Queen: You're very welcome, Prime Minister. Now get on with it. Lovely gal by the way. Phillip was very impressed.

Lee Moore said...

The pm has no involvement in that, the house of lords will present the bill to the queen for royal assent.

This is not correct. The Bill has to be passed via the Lord Chancellor, it does not go directly to the Queen. And at least in theory it can be delayed in the hands of the Lord Chancellor indefinitely. This has the political merit that the Queen doesn't have to deny assent. It never even gets to her, so the opprobrium sticks to the politicos.

But if Boris was planning that escape route, he wouldn't have appointed an arch Remainer as Lord Chancellor.

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