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Tim Casey

Suspending Parliament

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What’s the big deal? You live under a monarchy, what did you expect? There is even a term for it (prorogue). 

Your MPs don’t want Brexit. Seems like *that* is the anti-democratic move, stalling it so it won’t happen.

 

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It's a monarchy but it isn't the monarch who chooses to prorogue, it's the ruling political party. The Queen just assented to their request (for what reason we can only guess). The big deal is that those MPs who don't want brexit (or at least not a no-deal brexit) have been summarily prevented from acting. The UK is supposed to be a parliamentary democracy but the prorogation is the act of a dictator...

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The problem is, so much parliamentary procedure is built on tradition and "gentleman's agreements" rather than law. The problem with the prorogue isn't it's legality, it's that it would normally have happened at the start of this parliament session, but it was intentionally delayed because of Brexit (to allow parliament more time to sit). So to suddenly say "let's do this now" essentially gives Johnson a 5 week filibuster where he doesn't even to turn up, much less speak!

Technical the Queen could have not given her assent, but that comes back to the tradition and gentleman's agreement bit, in reality she always defers any decisions about parliament to the PM.

I guess from the outside it looks very British that fact mass outrage and protests in the street, because of what is essentially "unsportsmanlike behaviour". But then the stakes are very very high! 

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Three things:

1) The problem isn't proroguing in and of itself, the problem is the timescale.  It's usually a few days, it's not been as long as five weeks in several decades.

2) Where we are right now it's not stalling so that brexit won't happen, in fact it's quite the opposite.  The UK will leave the EU by default unless we do something stop it in the interim.

3) The UK is a representative democracy, not a direct democracy.  The anti-democratic move would be for parliament to fail to act in the country's best interests.  What the populace may think they want is an irrelevance, we don't get to decide individual policy.

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On 8/29/2019 at 11:21 AM, Ian Silvester said:

It's a monarchy but it isn't the monarch who chooses to prorogue, it's the ruling political party. The Queen just assented to their request (for what reason we can only guess). The big deal is that those MPs who don't want brexit (or at least not a no-deal brexit) have been summarily prevented from acting. The UK is supposed to be a parliamentary democracy but the prorogation is the act of a dictator...

Is it though? If it's baked in to the process and they are following the process how can it be dictatorial?

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On 8/31/2019 at 7:28 PM, Tim Casey said:

Is it though? If it's baked in to the process and they are following the process how can it be dictatorial?

Because of its length and the timing. There's no precedent for a five week prorogation when such a high stakes item is in flight. On the BBC this morning Boris Johnson gave a speech on the steps of 10 Downing Street that was all but drowned out by the crowd chanting "Stop the coup!" 😯

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Guys, I thought they suspended Parliament? WTH?

Heard today Boris lost the majority.

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He's pretty screwed at this point ☺️ Last Monday parliament voted against prorogation; during the debate one Conservative MP defected to the Liberals - he literally walked across the floor and sat next to the leader of that opposing party 😋 That was Boris' majority walking out right there! By the time of the vote another 20 of his party voted against his motion(!). The following day he requested a general election, and the opposition said "Umm, nah!" which is hilarious. He also lost another motion. So then, for comparison, Margeret Thatcher lost 3 motions in 11 years as party leader, and Boris has lost 3 in 24 hours 😆

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5 hours ago, Ian Silvester said:

He's pretty screwed at this point ☺️ Last Monday parliament voted against prorogation; during the debate one Conservative MP defected to the Liberals - he literally walked across the floor and sat next to the leader of that opposing party 😋 That was Boris' majority walking out right there! By the time of the vote another 20 of his party voted against his motion(!). The following day he requested a general election, and the opposition said "Umm, nah!" which is hilarious. He also lost another motion. So then, for comparison, Margeret Thatcher lost 3 motions in 11 years as party leader, and Boris has lost 3 in 24 hours 😆

I saw that in the news. I guess prorogation has no teeth, if parliament can just vote it down. That's what I was trying to figure out; how could they be in session if parliament is disbanded.

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My bad - they didn't vote down prorogation itself. Instead they rushed through legislation prior to the commencement of prorogation to make no-deal Brexit illegal. The aim of prorogation was to prevent parliament acting against no-deal, so the house arranged an end run against the gambit 😊 This only succeeded due to the defection of the 21 Tory ministers.

Oh, latest tally is that Boris is now 5 motions lost for 5 motions tabled. This is a first in the history of the UK parliament - no prior prime minister has ever lost their first five parliamentary bills!!

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"I guess prorogation has no teeth"

It's not supposed to "have teeth."  It's the end of the parliamentary session is all, I guess in US terms it's what you'd call recess?  

 

 

"latest tally is that Boris is now 5 motions lost for 5 motions tabled."

Incorrect.  He's six for six.

image.png.6b4373df4b3b47c5dc2a709fe2186fe0.png 

Edited by Alan Coo

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