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To clarify, counting backwards from October 31s by seven weeks gets you to September 12th as the deadline for a no confidence motion. But a new PM would need some time to do whatever is to be done instead of Brexit.
by asdf on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 at 03:57:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a non-zero chance the EU would stop the clock on A50 withdrawal if an election was happening.

Although everyone is completely sick of the UK by now, it would make no sense to force a crash-out if it could possibly be avoided.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 at 05:08:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The EU doesn't have a legal mechanism to stop the A50 deadline if the UK doesn't ask for an extension.

I don't see who can force Boris to ask for such an extension if he doesn't want to.

by Bernard on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 at 06:07:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I've said here before, if the motivation is there, a legal mechanism will be found.

I strongly suspect the motivation is there.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 at 06:37:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Boris lost a confidence vote and could not win one within 14 days, he would not be in a position to continue as PM. Attempting to continue would rightly be seen as a coup. He would have to resign and be replaced by someone else that might command a majority: a coalition government, a national unity government...

Logically that would lead to a general election, but also in all likelihood to a request for an A50 extension. Which the EU (even Macron) has already said could be granted in the case of an election or a referendum.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 at 07:44:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
a coalition government, a national unity government...

I should have added, above all, a caretaker government.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 at 08:23:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but

a.) there's not enough time to set up a coalition government before end of October, even if no a confidence vote were taken right now,
b.) which it isn't,
c.) and if BoJo lost it, which would be pretty embarrassing for the Conservative Party,
d.) and anyway, who would be able to get a majority?

Seems to me that it all hinges on whether BoJo

e.) asks the EU for another extension, and
f.) the EU grants it.

by asdf on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 at 08:40:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whatever the difficulties in forming a new government for the interim period between no-confidence and new election results, if Boris is disavowed by Parliament, he will cease to be PM and will have no executive powers. His wishes from then on will be immaterial from a constitutional point of view.

In that situation, a caretaker government request for an extension until things were cleared up would be, if not certain, highly likely.

Having said that, I doubt he'll lose a no-confidence vote. Corbyn might want to try one as soon as Parliament reconvenes, but he'll probably refrain if there isn't much hope of winning.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sat Aug 3rd, 2019 at 07:39:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems to me the "British Constitution" is somewhat murky on this point.

If Boris loses a Vote of Confidence (VOC) he (or someone else) has two weeks to (re)gain that confidence. Does he remain PM during this period? Is there such a concept as a caretaker govt. in the constitution? Can the UK be, effectively, without a government for some weeks? Does he move out of No. 10?

The key point being that if the British Government - any or no government - does nothing, a no deal Brexit will happen on 31st. and there is nothing anybody can do to stop it.

If no new governing majority is formed within 2 weeks, under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 "he" (or Parliament?) must call a general election. But as shown elsewhere, that doesn't have to happen until after Oct 31st. - although the rules for determining when an election must be held also seem murky. In 2017 the general election didn't happen until 7 weeks after it was called "for technical reasons" - the normal period is c. 25 days?

If Boris loses a VOC, the Queen would "take soundings" to see if anyone else can command the confidence of the house. Assuming Corbyn can't command a majority but is unwilling to stand aside for (say) a moderate Tory (do they still exist?) to form a Government, the UK is effectively without a government until such time as the General Election happens.

Of course Boris can call a general election before he loses a VOC with Corbyn's support to create a two thirds majority in the HOC - as happened in 2017. Boris then remains PM for the duration of the campaign. Presumably Corbyn would agree only if the GE is called for before 31st. Oct.

The fact that the UK doesn't have a written constitution means that there is regular talk of a "constitutional crisis" in the UK - something which simply doesn't happen in more advanced democracies with a written constitution - where the Supreme Court decides on issues of interpretation and that is the end of the matter (unless, as in the USA, the Supreme Court decides to radically re-interpret what the founders "intended".


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 3rd, 2019 at 10:57:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If Boris loses a Vote of Confidence (VOC) he (or someone else) has two weeks to (re)gain that confidence. Does he remain PM during this period? Is there such a concept as a caretaker govt. in the constitution? Can the UK be, effectively, without a government for some weeks? Does he move out of No. 10?

Yes, he remains PM until it is demonstrated he cannot form a majority (with a time limit of two weeks). If he then resigns he moves out of N° 10, of course. If he does not, (and attempts to hang on to power), we have a first-class constitutional crisis going.

Is there a concept such as "caretaker govt" in any country's constitution? It's more an expression for a cobbled-together compromise government to deal with ongoing business.

A totally hung Parliament, from which no possible compromise government can get the support of a majority, is of course possible. Given the circumstances in which there will be a default crash-out on Oct 31 and the national and international importance of same, there would be a powerful incentive for MPs to support an anti-no-deal government under a moderate figurehead PM, or go down in history as utterly irresponsible.  

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sat Aug 3rd, 2019 at 11:57:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect if Corbyn were to make way for someone like Keir Starmer to form a temp caretaker government he could get a majority in the HOC to seek a delay in A50 (or even withdraw a.50 notification?!?) and call a general election. But its all now down to Bojo and Corbyn as to whether they are prepared to set personal ambition aside...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 3rd, 2019 at 12:15:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As I don't think Boris will lose a VOC, the discussion above is theoretical. However, there will pretty soon be an election, and then it will be Boris vs Jeremy.

The question is will Boris want an election before Oct 31, or after?

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sat Aug 3rd, 2019 at 12:24:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Role of the opposition leader in a vote of no-confidence in accordance with the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

    "It is understood the Government only has to give time to
    motions tabled in the name of the Leader of the Opposition."

Brexit news latest: Opposition parties table vote of no confidence in Government | Evening Standard - Dec. 19, 2018 |

Caretaker Government - 28 March 1979

    Mr James Callaghan:  Mr Speaker, now that the House has declared itself, we shall take our case to the country. Tomorrow I shall propose to Her Majesty that Parliament be dissolved as soon as essential business can be cleared up, and then Ishall announce as soon as may be - and that will be as soon as possible - the date of Dissolution, the date of the election and the date of meeting of the new Parliament.

    Mrs Margaret Thatcher:  As the Government no longer have authority to carry on business without the agreement of the Opposition, I make it quite clear that we shall facilitate any business which requires the agreement of the Opposition so that the Dissolution can take place at the very earliest opportunity and the uncertainty ended.


Dissolution of Parliament

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Sat Aug 3rd, 2019 at 06:49:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent reference, clears a lot of things up. The disavowed PM may request dissolution and go to the country. Thatcher seems to suggest a sort of gentleperson's agreement on the conduct of necessary business until the election indicates (hopefully) a new majority.

Following that precedent, Boris could remain PM but with an agreement with the Opposition aka Corbyn. Very hard to see how that agreement could not rule out a no-deal Brexit.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sat Aug 3rd, 2019 at 08:03:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ongoing development:

Jeremy Corbyn has called on the UK's most senior civil servant to intervene to stop Boris Johnson forcing a no-deal Brexit in the middle of an election campaign, amid rising signs the country is heading for the polls again this autumn.

The Labour leader wrote to Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, accusing the prime minister of plotting an "unprecedented, unconstitutional and anti-democratic abuse of power", after it emerged No 10 would be prepared to delay an election until immediately after 31 October if Johnson loses a no confidence vote among MPs.

In his letter, Corbyn demanded urgent clarification of the rules around purdah, which are meant to prevent the government taking major policy decisions during an election campaign.

He asked Sedwill to confirm that if the UK is due to leave the EU without a deal during an election campaign, then the government must seek an extension to article 50 and allow an incoming administration to take a decision about Brexit on the basis of the result.

Lexical item:

purdah (countable and uncountable, plural purdahs)

    (chiefly South Asia) A curtain, especially as used to conceal and divide women from men and strangers in some Hindu or Muslim traditions. [from 17th c.] quotations ▼
    (rare, obsolete) A striped cotton cloth which is used to make curtains. [19th c.]
    The state or system of social gender seclusion in some Muslim or Hindu communities. [from 19th c.]
    A long veil, or other all-enveloping clothing, worn by women in some Muslim societies. [from 20th c.]
    (figuratively) Secrecy, isolation. [from 20th c.]
    (Britain) The period immediately before an election or referendum during which restrictions are in force on the activity of civil servants.



Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Aug 9th, 2019 at 05:25:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Boris will lose out or gets a free ride into a no-deal Tory-Brexit in the first week of September. The discussion of the "Occupier of Downing Street #10" and the developing debate was put in a new diary yesterday ...

Summer Recess Debate - Latter Days of Boris

I don't see Jeremy Corbyn leading the House of Commons out of its dilemma. The offer by Corbyn amounted to a choice between Boris or him ... that will NOT work out well. A Labour strategy that has failed for months and like the Australian election this year, Labour loses out!

    Speculation intensified that Johnson was preparing for a snap poll after it emerged he had brought in Isaac Levido, the righthand man of the Australian election guru Lynton Crosby, to a new campaigning role at Conservative party headquarters.

Foreign Policy: Boris Ally Lynton Crosby and CTF

Thus ... after the defeat of Remain, Hillary Clinton, Bill Shorten will Jeremy Corbyn be next!

The winning strategy by Conservaties, Trump, et al. ... staying on message. How brutal it may be in content!

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Fri Aug 9th, 2019 at 07:02:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not just staying on message, it's rejecting any message that is not simplistic, demagogic, duplicitous... and, (T)trump card, more or less explicitly xenophobic.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Aug 9th, 2019 at 07:13:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Constitutional experts weigh in on the question:

"Short answer: the Queen could dismiss Boris Johnson if he lost a vote of no confidence and refused to resign," said Robert Hazell, professor of government and constitution at University College London.

"But she would only do so if the House of Commons indicated clearly who should be appointed as prime minister in his place."

Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 there is 14-day window after a vote of no confidence in which to find an alternative government capable of securing the confidence of the Commons. Any election would be held 25 working days after the dissolution of parliament.



Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen
by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Wed Aug 7th, 2019 at 06:54:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This evening I briefly listened to a Cambridge professor on the same subject.

Constitutional crisis for the Queen? PM appointed by the Queen on the condition the candidate has a majority support in the Commons.

After summer recess, need the no-confidence vote to start the 14 day period. Boris Johnson could set the election date after the 31st of October ... no-deal Brexit would be inevitable. In case another majority government can be formed, a new PM would be appointed by the Queen. This requires for him to set a date for the election. He could choose a date beyond the 25 working days, but yet before the 31st of October. To call an earlier election, he needs at least 66% of MPs to agree to it.

I think that's how I understood what he was telling the BBC viewers.

Could there be an early general election?


Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Wed Aug 7th, 2019 at 09:35:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New rebel bid to halt no-deal Brexit amid fury at PM's enforcer

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.
by Oui on Wed Aug 7th, 2019 at 10:00:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What if the Queen dies (she is 93, after all). Does Charles immediately get the power to fire Johnson, or is there some delay?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Aug 8th, 2019 at 07:52:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He is King immediately

"The Queen is dead. Long live the King"

However, it's extremely unlikely he'd do anything to rock the boat immediately. I think he's a more overt religionist that Liz and so will babble and dabble in faith

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Aug 8th, 2019 at 06:01:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What a wonderful constitutional crisis the UK would have!

#dedQueen

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Aug 9th, 2019 at 08:50:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Problem is that while the UK is busy having its constitutional crisis, Article 50 will already have taken effect.
by asdf on Fri Aug 9th, 2019 at 03:50:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there a concept such as "caretaker govt" in any country's constitution?

Most constitutions I am aware of are pretty explicit as to what happens if a PM loses a VOC or a general election. Usually this entails the outgoing PM staying on in a caretaker capacity until such time as a replacement is elected. The theory being you need at least a caretaker government in place to handle any day-to-day issues or emergencies which may arise. Of course lacking a parliamentary or popular mandate, a "caretaker government" can't undertake any major new initiatives in its own right.

Some countries - e.g. Belgium - take this to extremes and it can be many months before a successor is elected which can create quite a hiatus in the process of government. In Ireland last time around, no party got more than 25% of the vote and 30% of the seats which eventually resulted in a "confidence and supply" arrangement between the two major parties and a very small minority government.

Added to this Fine Gael changed leader half way through the parliamentary term which means Leo Varadker is the leader of a very small minority government without a personal popular mandate. It hasn't damaged his legitimacy in the slightest, but severely circumscribed his freedom of action. Without Brexit, and if the economy hadn't been growing strongly, the opposition would have kicked him out as soon as the confidence & supply agreement ended.


Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Aug 4th, 2019 at 04:10:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the US there is a community of people who want to "make government so small you can drown it in a bathtub." Not a large one, but the idea is out there.

So in our case of a hung congress, there is a constituency for a "no government at all" situation. In fact, we are operating that way right now, sort of, with an obstinate democratic majority in the house and an obstinate republican majority in the senate (and an obstinate president).

But I think our rules are clear enough to prevent the case of not having an executive branch at all.

by asdf on Sat Aug 3rd, 2019 at 04:20:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank:
The key point being that if the British Government - any or no government - does nothing, a no deal Brexit will happen on 31st. and there is nothing anybody can do to stop it.

My (key) point exactly.

To avert a no-deal Brexit in less than 3 months, something needs to happen. In the UK. We're in deep trouble.

by Bernard on Sat Aug 3rd, 2019 at 06:07:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Until the UK parliament groks they don't have legislative jurisdiction over the EU No Deal is a certainty.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Aug 4th, 2019 at 01:04:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What has been agreed?

...

  • The extension is flexible: dubbed a "flextension", it means the UK could leave the EU earlier than October 31 if the exit deal is ratified.

  • EU leaders have reiterated that the legally binding Withdrawal Agreement on the terms of the UK's exit cannot be reopened; nor can the extension be used to start negotiations on future relations.

  • However, the non-binding Political Declaration covering future ties may be reconsidered "if the position of the United Kingdom were to evolve".

Term "flextension" at EU Malta meeting - April 2019

Flextension failed in its purpose to pressure UK parliament to accept the offer on the table ...

Europeans likely to grudgingly agree to delay Brexit

Merkel and Macron don't see eye-to-eye ... interests don't line up as both wrestle for the powerposition  in the EU.

Today Mark Rutte and Jeroen Dijsselbloem were on the losing side (Nordic, Germany/Merkel). Italy joined the Mediterranean countries and the Visegrad group.

Untapped potential: How new alliances can strengthen the EU | ECFR |

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 at 09:30:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shall I post Tusk's "flextension" offer again?
yanno, to memorialize the clusterfuck ERA proceeding from Council accommodations forthcoming.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 at 08:46:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I read the chart correctly, the 7 weeks only kicks in after the second of two no confidence motions is passed - 2 weeks after the first - so the first no confidence vote would have to be passed end August when Parliament isn't meeting. So the bottom line is there is no way to force a general election before Oct 31st., and it would probably take most of September for anti-Boris forces to get their act together in any case.

Realistically, a vote of no confidence would have had to be passed before Parliament was prorogued before the summer, and that didn't happen because new PMs are traditionally accorded a honeymoon period.  Of course in any normal democracy, a newly appointed party leader would have to win a vote of confidence in the HOC BEFORE being appointed PM, but then the UK is far from being a normal democracy. I refer you to my letter to the editor published on that subject.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 at 09:15:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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