Tag Archives: Fixed Term Parliament Act

Paul Tyler writes….Clearing out constitutional confusions?

The current combination of Brexit bluster from No 10 and Corbynista claims seem to have confused even the shrewder media commentators: the rest are swallowing spin from both sides without any attempt at fact checking.

The idea that the Leader of the Official Opposition has a constitutional right to form an alternative government as soon as the current Prime Minister is defeated by a Vote of Confidence is wishful thinking by the Corbyn coterie. Similarly, the notion that Johnson can simply trigger a General Election in such circumstances is against the law.

Let me take you back to the Fixed Term Parliaments Act (which I argued for even before the 2010 election resulted in the failure of either of their parties to achieve a Commons majority). There was no logic to the previous convention. Nor could it be claimed to be fair. The captain of one political team could simply blow the final whistle whenever he/she judged that they had the best chance of winning.

In a parliamentary democracy we Liberal Democrats argued – successfully – that was a totally unacceptable anomaly, more suited to an “elective dictatorship”, as described by erstwhile Tory Chancellor Lord Hailsham. Hence the 2011 Act, promoted by the Coalition Government.

Under the Act each Parliament will normally continue for a full five year period. An “Early Parliamentary General Election” can only happen in one of two circumstances. EITHER the Commons votes by a 2/3 majority (including vacant seats) for a specific motion calling for it (as happened in 2017), OR a Motion of No Confidence is passed against the current Government, and – after a 14 day interval – neither it, nor any alternative administration, has secured a Confidence Motion.

During that period the current PM cannot trigger an election: clause 3(2) reads “Parliament cannot otherwise be dissolved”. In that respect at least Dominic Cumming’s threats are absurd

However, as you will readily observe, it is one thing to prevent crash out Brexiteers from cutting MPs out of this particular nefarious sharp practice, but quite another to so manage the process to achieve a more democratic outcome.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 22 Comments

We’re heading for a minority Labour government backed by the SNP

whitehall
The Guardian have a very useful web page called Election 2015: The Guardian poll projection. On it, each day, they update their state-of-the-parties graph with the latest polling data, which then flows into an infographic showing the parliamentary arithmetic and possible government options after May 7th.

Posted in Op-eds and Parliament | Also tagged , , , , and | 130 Comments
Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn O 4th Jul - 12:50pm
    Really don't understand all the apologizing & distancing from the coalition specifically aimed at Labour voters, many 'soft' Tory voters thought the coalition worked well...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 4th Jul - 12:37pm
    The comments from Geoffrey are ott, John, thanks, as with David, Barry!
  • User AvatarGeorge Kendall 4th Jul - 12:36pm
    @Tim Harney You are right that these words have different meanings to different people. Tories think leftwing means a big state, so North Korea which...
  • User AvatarPeter Chambers 4th Jul - 12:18pm
    I had thought that in the UK de-funding the police was what Theresa May and Nick Clegg were doing between 2010 and 2015, under the...
  • User AvatarGeorge Kendall 4th Jul - 12:12pm
    @Peter I'm glad you agree with some of my article, but it seems we disagree with other parts. Social media gives an bad advert for...
  • User AvatarMartin 4th Jul - 11:55am
    John Bicknell and Stephen Howse's comments deserve to be repeated and some here really do need to properly absorb the message. "The author of this...