Parliament has repeatedly voted against allowing a “no-deal” withdrawal from the European Union, and the notion of suspending – or “proroguing” – the elected chamber had been mooted as the most likely way the next prime minister would be able to force the United Kingdom to crash out without a deal.
The power to suspend Parliament lies with the monarch at the request of the prime minister. Former conservative prime minister John Major has said he would be prepared to turn to the judiciary if needed to avoid a constitutional crisis arising from any attempt to sideline parliament. Voting to do so would undermine accountability of the executive to parliament, politicise the Queen “in a toxic manner” and adopt an extremist position damaging to the national interest he said on Wednesday. Today, Phillip Hammond, the conservative chancellor, refused to rule out a vote of no confidence in any future government which tried to do so.
A parliamentary vote on a cross-party amendment intended to prevent the executive sidelining parliament was successful yesterday. MPs defeated the Government by backing an amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill, which blocks the suspension of Parliament between 9 October and 18 December, by a majority of 41.
Deeply disappointingly, our MP took a different position to the former prime minister and current chancellor and voted against defending parliament from being bypassed by conservative extremists.