BRITAIN FAMOUSLY lacks a written structure, relying quite a bit on conference as an alternative. Analysts pore over paperwork such because the ministerial code and the cupboard guide for steering. Boris Johnson’s menace of a no-deal Brexit may take a look at this casual system to destruction.
Think about the queen’s prerogative powers. Actually, she takes recommendation from her prime minister, whose authorities instructions a majority of MPs. But a conflict between Parliament and prime minister over a no-deal Brexit may break the cupboard guide’s rule that the queen “shouldn’t be drawn into celebration politics”.
If MPs vote no confidence within the authorities, the Fastened-term Parliaments Act permits 14 days for a substitute for be discovered. Mr Johnson would stay prime minister and will search to thwart this. Different advisers, notably the queen’s personal secretary, Edward Younger, the cupboard secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, and the principal personal secretary in Downing Road, Peter Hill, might counteract this, however solely whether it is clear that someone else can win a Commons majority.
Mr Johnson may additionally advise the queen to carry an election after a no-deal Brexit on October 31st. The cupboard guide says it’s “customary” throughout an election to defer the “taking or saying of main coverage selections”. Robert Hazell of the UCL structure unit thinks this practice implies not letting an irreversible no-deal Brexit occur. However as that is the default choice underneath present legislation, no-dealers fervently disagree.
Extra issues might come if an election produces one other hung parliament. In 2010 the cupboard secretary, Gus O’Donnell, facilitated talks between David Cameron and Nick Clegg. In 2017 Theresa Might spent days negotiating with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionists, delaying the Queen’s Speech (on the threat of constructing the monarch late for the Royal Ascot horse races).
Mr Johnson’s authorities additionally plans to cease MPs legislating to demand one other extension of the Brexit deadline. But the Speaker, John Bercow, says that Parliament have to be heard earlier than a no-deal Brexit. He too is sure by conventions, on this case set out in “Erskine Might”, the bible of Commons process (out there free on-line since July). However in January he overruled precedent, and his personal clerks, to permit an modification from Remainers to a movement that will usually be unamendable. No person can problem the Speaker’s rulings.
Vernon Bogdanor of King’s School London thinks Brexit is pushing the structure to its limits, particularly on residents’ rights and devolution. It would even result in a written structure and extra judicial oversight—simply as Brexiteers crow over sovereignty regained.■