News

Lawyers react to explosive news that Boris Johnson will ask the Queen to suspend parliament

By on
70

Is it a ‘constitutional crisis’ yet?

Image credit: Wikicommons – nagualdesign (Queen)

Lawyers have taken to Twitter to denounce what’s being described as a “constitutional crisis” as Boris Johnson announced his intention to suspend parliament for longer than expected in the run-up to Brexit.

In a letter to Conservative MPs, Johnson argued that the current session of parliament had been the longest in 400 years. He wants to “prorogue” and start a new session, but with the break in between lasting for longer than usual.

The move is widely seen as a device to stop parliament interfering with the UK’s exit from the EU if there is no deal struck on an orderly withdrawal. MPs would be off from 9 September to 14 October — giving less time than expected to prevent a no deal Brexit on 31 October.

QC-turned-MP Joanna Cherry called it a “constitutional outrage”, while fellow silk Dominic Grieve MP opted for “constitutionally wrong and frankly outrageous”. Solicitor and Brexit commentator David Allen Green pronounced that “it is beginning to look like a constitutional crisis”.

Public law guru Carl Gardner went one better, saying that the crisis is already upon us.

George Peretz QC had some tactical advice for the opposition, saying that Johnson could be voted out of office and a temporary successor voted in to ward off no deal.

Parliament is normally in recess from mid-September to early October anyway, to accommodate the annual conferences of the main political parties. Johnson wants to extend this break by a week or two.

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

But as Bristol professor Gavin Phillipson pointed out, the suspension is still “unprecedented in terms of length and purpose”.

And human rights barrister Adam Wagner said that it was “rubbish” to pretend that this was in any way business as usual.

Johnson’s plan would give MPs opposed to a no deal Brexit on Halloween just a few days in September and the last fortnight in October to try to pass legislation blocking it.

It is not yet clear whether the Queen has granted the prorogation request. This is normally a formality, although some argue that the Queen could take issue with an extra-long suspension by a government that hasn’t demonstrated that it actually has the support of MPs.

Boffins at the House of Commons library say that “prorogation being a prerogative power, there is no obvious legal mechanism by which parliament could prevent its exercise otherwise than by passing legislation to constrain it”.

But a group of MPs and Lords are trying to get a court order to keep parliament sitting in the crucial run-up to Brexit. Jolyon Maugham QC, who is organising the litigation, said today that the group had filed an emergency motion trying to suspend Johnson’s prorogation plan. The case is due to be heard in the Scottish Court of Session on 6 September.

Update: 15:37pm

The Queen has approved an order to prorogue parliament no earlier than 9 September and no later than 12 September until 14 October.

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter

70 Comments

Anonymous

Did you mean “Remainers who happen to be lawyers react…”?

Anonymous

No, I think they meant generally reasonable people.

Anonymous

VOTE LEAVE

TAKE BACK CONTROL

WINNING SO HARD

Tugger

Hard to see any winners in the long term. This is just like doing an own goal in order to tell everyone you scored.

Anonymous

BUTTHEAD!!!

Anonymous

Any constitutional crisis has been caused by the Remoaners within the establishment who are refusing to accept the result of the public referendum.

Which was that we leave the EU.

Deal or no deal.

Anonymous

“The Government will implement what you decide”

Anonymous

And that Government did try to implement the decision, but has failed to find a majority in Parliament. The referendum was not binding on Parliament hence the impasse of the last year or so.

Anonymous

Good to finally see a PM who respects democracy and is trying his best to implement the will of the people. Parliament collectively ought to hang it’s head in shame at the way it has conducted itself the last three years.

Anonymous

Lol. An unelected PM is literally about to suspend parliament and the goons’ reaction is that the PM respects democracy.

Seriously funny that people are now this thick. We were always at war with Eurasia.

Tugger

Well it was basically the ERG that screwed the last three years, by voting the only deal that worked, down and therefore also screwing the whole country in order to get their man (Boris) in to no.10.

It’s hard to justify just how stupid leavers really are. Not one single plan in place to keep Britain afloat once we lose 45% of our export customers on the 31st October.

Come on leavers, let’s see it. Show me how we are “better off out”.

Anonymous

The tantruming screams of the Remoaners on 1 November will be glorious.

Like the freaks who screamed at Trump on Inauguration Day.

Reality isn’t what they want it to be, and they can’t handle it.

Anonymous

Quite true that last bit. Doesn’t change the fact that reality will be shit.

At least you’ll have the moral victory of having a poor decision imposed on swathes of disagreeing “remoaners”.

Anonymous

Nothing has been ‘imposed’. We had a vote. And you lost.

You’ll find that’s how things work in a democracy.

Anonymous

Never said having it imposed was legally/morally wrong.

Just shit, because the vote mandated/was interpreted as mandating a poor course of action.

Anonymous

In your opinion. Sadly (for you) we voted on it, and the majority disagreed with you.

Anonymous

More glorious still will be the tantrums of the old Brexitards who can’t get their medication any more and don’t understand why a unicorn hasn’t been delivered as promised.

Brexiteers have become freaks who screech every time literally anybody they disagree with says something they don’t like. It’s seriously exciting that they will be up against reality. I’m genuinely not sure what they actually think is going to happen the day after no deal. It’s going to be biblical.

Anonymous

GET THE HELL OUT OF MY CAR, OLD MAN!!!!

Anonymous

Biff?

Anonymous

Hope you are actually a lawyer as they are probably some of the few whose jobs will be safe . If you’re hoping to be one or doing something else ,then god help you

Liberturd Leftie

If that is your argument… Trump as a model of “success”, then the UK is definitely doomed… Trump is an unmitigated disaster, by all sane and honest measurements.

Peter Curran

Needs must:
The EU need to understand that a reasonable deal should be offered to avoid a no-deal, and that ‘We are leaving – No change of heart !’
MP’s in refusing to carry out the democratic decision/instruction of the people are only assisting the EU.
There is nothing illegal about Boris’s action.
The Queen is a functionary in this action – NOT a decision maker.
Al the usual, ‘I know best remainer’,suspects are up in arms of course.

Anonymous

My post has been censored for no reason. So I repeat.

Any constitutional crisis has been caused by the Remoaners in the establishment, who are refusing to accept the result of a democratic referendum.

Which was that we leave the EU.

With or without a deal.

Anonymous

“refusing to accept the result of a democratic referendum”

a. It was advisory
b. It achieved a massive 37.2% support from the eligible electorate

Anonymous

But you wouldn’t be saying that if the vote had gone your way, would you.

You’d be saying that the people had spoken and the result should be respected.

You’re only trying to wriggle out of it because you lost. Sorry. Democracy doesn’t work like that.

Anonymous

Farage literally said when he thought he’d lost that there would need to be a third referendum if it was 52-48 against Brexit.

This is true of all Brexiteers – you’d have never shut up either if you’d lost. Difference is that remaining is changeable and good for the country, while Brexit is permanent and disastrous.

Anonymous

WHY DON’T YOU MAKE LIKE A TREE…

AND

LEAVE!!!!!!!’

Anonymous

Farage is a complete hypocrite. No argument for me on that. And if Remain had won and he were the one calling for a second vote, I would be the first to say , “We voted, you lost, shut up.”

But he didn’t lose.

You lost.

So you are now the one who has to shut up and accept the result.

It’s that simple.

Tugger

If I remember correctly it was Farage himself who said that leavers would never accept a “remain” vote. He said that leavers would keep trying and trying until they got the vote they needed.

Now of course that we are leaving the leavers squeal like a stuck pig at the thought of leaving with a deal that protects us. “That’s not what Britain voted for” apparently.

Lol. The hypocrisy.

Anonymous

CHICKEN???

lawyer

But of course this was a second referendum. There was one before which many of us remember. The result was remain. Margaret Thatcher campaigned for remain. The brexiteers did not accept that one. So why should the remainders accept this one – which was secured on the basis of lies anyway ! VAR for referenda maybe !?

Anonymous

I can’t wait to check in with Brexiteers in April 2020, when the Brexit lorry park stretches from Folkestone to Brentwood, the Thames is littered with the cadavers of London’s former bourgeois made redundant in the great industry exodus, and ITV’s The Chase is now owned by the state, with food rations rather than prize money up for grabs.

Anonymous

They’ll just pretend it was Remainers and the EU’s fault as usual. Worse still, most of them are actually stupid enough to believe it.

anon

London Independence anyone? A singapore-style city state

Anonyman

The vote to leave happened over three years ago. Albeit I am by no means the greatest fan of Boris, mainly because he is yet another career politician, at least he wants to carry out Brexit, as promised during the referendum.

The continued moaning from the losing camp has become incredibly tedious. The scaremongering fake news organisations, celebrities sucking up to the establishment on social media and the precious upper-middle classes who have no understanding of the UK outside of London, will finally be able to put a sock in it.

Anonymous

What’s really tedious is the Brexiteers who still claim to believe in sovereignty and democracy now literally jeering on while our sovereign elected parliament is suspended to allow an unelected head of government to make the biggest change to the country since the war.

Actually I don’t mean tedious do I, I mean completely and utterly mental.

Anonyman

Calling leave voters ‘utterly mental’ just goes top show that you’re just another overly emotional and hysterical leftist.

Go back to the flat in Islington that your parents probably bought for you and cry into your copy of the Guardian newspaper.

Anonymous

If you’re not a little bit emotional on a day where your country’s democracy has been shut down by an unelected leader then you must hate Britain, frankly.

Anonymous

Standard leftist rhetoric.

Anonyman

Shut down of democracy? Stop whinging, the last time that I checked we still have the right to vote in numerous elections up and down the country.

Ensuring that Brexit happens is just putting into motion something that was democratically sanctioned.

Now bugger back off to Shoreditch so that you can eat more organic vegan food you pleb.

Anonymous

The government isn’t making any change.

The people have already made it.

They voted to leave the European Union..

Parliament is the one refusing to respect democracy. Because having given us the vote, it is refusing to honour the result after we returned a result that it did not like.

Lawyer

But last time there was a referendum there was a huge majority for remain?! You should check your history. That was supposed to resolve it for good then ! But brexiteers never accept democracy.

Anon

Sovereignty means that Parliament can refuse to implement what 37% of the voting public want if it is to the detriment of the country. This is what ‘taking back control’ looks like in sovereign democracy.

Anonymous

What’s really tedious is the Remoaners who still claim to believe in sovereignty and democracy now literally jeering on while our sovereign elected parliament refuses to implement the result of the biggest democratic vote made by the country since the war.

Actually I don’t mean tedious do I, I mean completely and utterly mental.

Anonymous

The “biggest change” arises not from some caprice by BoJo, but from the Act that Gina Miller, bless her, required Parliament to pass to bring us to where we are.

lawyer

You forget the previous referendum. Huge majority for remain.

Anonymous

Love the chaos

Anonymous

Parliamentarians are the weeds of the UK.

Lawyer

But I thought that the brexiteers campaigned on a slogan of ‘take back control’ for our Parliament. Do they not like it if it does? ! Wasn’t that their whole point ! ?

Anonymous

Even if this prorogation were in itself unprecedented – which it doesn’t appear to be – the objection seems to be its purpose, not use of the procedure.

In which case, why aren’t the Twitter objectors saying that they object to Brexit altogether rather than to prorogation? It’s only a constitutional crisis, if it is at all, because Parliament can’t make its mind up. That’s a general failure, not a failure of Johnson’s: he’s just trying to break the impasse, and is doing so against a deadline.

Anonymous

Can’t reason with leftists son.

Tired of Btec Northerners calling everyone leftists

For the love of God, everyone who disagrees with the decaying of parliamentary sovereignty is not a ‘leftist’. Perhaps, some of us are concerned about the possibility of this happening again..but by a Labour PM. So kindly, go back to the Sun or the Daily mail

Not a leftist

Not everyone who disagrees with the disintegration of democracy is a leftist. Perhaps, some are deeply concerned about the precedent and what it means for our democracy. This could potentially go beyond Brexit. So go back to the Dailymail/the sun/whichever northern city you belong to

Anonymous

I’m not too impressed with Bristol professor Gavin Phillipson, who conveniently overlooks John Major’s much longer prorogation, which was to cover up misdeeds, not to implement a referendum result endorsed by Parliament both before (in legislation for the referendum) and afterwards ( in voting overwhelmingly to trigger Article 50).

Anonymous

I am bored of hearing about Brexit.

Anonymous

Boris has just lied shamelessly about why he did this. That mendacity is a disgrace to the Tory party.

Anonymous

HE JUST SAID IT WAS OVER…

YOU LOST!!!!

Anonymous

“HEY LIGHTEN UP, JERK!”

Anonymous Like Everyone Else Here

I voted leave and quickly switched to remain because Boris was so convincing, turns out he just talks rubbish and has started to make promising ‘pledges’ to stay in power….his ‘pledges’ = More Lies

Lawyer

All the people I know who voted leave are now seriously regretting it.

Ioannis Felouzis

People are regretting it…

2.ii - University of Central Lancashire = no pupillage

The irony of studying an LLB and then having to live through rioting and martial law after no-deal Brexit.

If you didn’t laugh, you’d cry 😂

Immigrant

I’m just a bit sad the country I’ve grown up in has decided immigrants don’t belong here and is willing to destroy everything to make sure it happens. Even though we have private healthcare, paid for our education at every step & lots of taxes on top of that yet we have been made to feel unwelcome at every step.

Anonymous

If you come from any of the 168 countries on the planet which aren’t in Fortress Europe you should be cheered by the fact that you will soon no longer be second class in immigration terms.

If that still isn’t enough, consider the fact that a couple of hundred thousand people leave the country every year and replacements will always be needed.

1/512th Cheyenne.

You need a Constitution to have a Constitutional crisis, THE UK DOES NOT HAVE A CONSTITUTION.

Anonymous

It has a constitution.

An unwritten constitution.

Someone should have paid more attention in public law lectures.

Anon

The endless bickering by remainers and brexiteers is what makes this situation even worse. Instead of finding fault with one another, try to bridge the divide. Stop playing the blame game, you’ll make the situation even worse.

Libeturd Leftie

Has anyone heard a Brexiteer make a cogent sensible argument for leaving the EU, other than some populous “England for the English” reductionist reactionary moan?

If someone can explain the value of a sharp exit I am all ears

Join the conversation

Related Stories