Two of the Conservative Party leadership candidates have not ruled out the prospect of adjourning Parliament, to ensure MPs would be powerless to block a no deal departure from the EU. Dominic Raab and Esther McVey are said to be considering such a move, which would end the current parliamentary session. Speaking at the Chatham House London, Sir John Major, said such a move would be “dangerous territory” and that he could not imagine previous prime ministers “putting Parliament aside” to get through a “difficult policy”.
The former prime minister said Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone, Margaret Thatcher or Winston Churchill would never have considered dissolving Parliament to force through policy, even in their most difficult moments.
He said that the idea should be stamped out absolutely.
Sir John said: “It is fundamentally unconstitutional and to hear that argument come from people who in the Brexit debate talked of the sovereignty of Parliament being at stake, it is not only fundamentally distasteful, it is hypocrisy on a gold plated stem.”
He added that he did not think the House of Commons “will allow it to stand”.
Sir John said: “To be absolutely frank, I don’t think anyone who proposes [it] or even lets it flit through their mind for a second has any understanding of what Parliament is about, what sovereignty is about, what leadership is abotu or what the United Kingdom is about and the soon the House of Commons stamp on this idea, absolutely comprehensively and forever, the better.”
He also said it is not credible to take the UK out of the EU without a deal.
If the next prime minister decides to proruge Parliament, the Queen risks being pulled into the Brexit debate, as the move would require Her Majesty’s permission.
Tory Brexiteers are considering the move, as it would mean MPs would be powerles to block a no deal departure from the EU on October 31.
More to follow…
Mr Raab, the former Brexit secretary, prompted an outcry when he said he was considering proruging Parliament.
Rory Stewart, who is standing against Mr Raab for the leadership, said that proroguing Parliament would be “unlawful, undemocratic and unachievable” and “the idea itself is profoundly offensive to our liberty, constitution and traditions”.
Commons Speaker John Bercow has blasted Mr Raab’s refusal to rule out suspending Parliament and insisted MPs would “not be evacuated” from the Brexit debate.
Mr Bercow told MPs: “Parliament will not be evacuated from the centre stage of the decision-making process on this important matter.
“That’s simply not going to happen.”