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Four precedents are cited - 1628, 1831, 1948, and 1997, which gives you some idea of how rare this is. The first appears to have been an attempt by the King to limit the power of Parliament. The second was specifically at the request of the government to enable a general election to be held. The third an attempt by the government to reduce the power of the House of Lords, and the fourth was followed by a general election and a change of government.

What makes the current crisis unique is that it appears to be an attempt to reduce the power of the House of Commons relative to the Executive and specifically an attempt to frustrate the will of the House up to and including the holding of a VONC which could lead to a change of government or a general election or both. The UK is traditionally described as a Parliamentary democracy where the Parliament is sovereign. If this is allowed to go unchallenged, the UK will effectively become a Presidential system where the President doesn't even have to be elected.

It's as if Trump could become President of the USA once he had secured the Republican nomination because they controlled Congress at the time. No general Presidential election or ongoing Parliamentary oversight necessary. Parliament is reduced to a ceremonial adornment for set pieces like the Queen's speech while the real action on Brexit takes place elsewhere, or in this case, the inaction of a no deal Brexit.

It hardly looks like the prorogation of Parliament is going to make the EU any more disposed to giving Boris a deal it wouldn't give Theresa May. Now the EU can go all virtuous by saying it doesn't deal with despots who shut down their own Parliaments at crucial times...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 28th, 2019 at 06:35:36 PM EST
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