Parliament is Suspended

Parliament has been prorogued, meaning that Parliament has been suspended, for 5 weeks until the 14 October. The formal process took place during the early hours of Tuesday 10 September 2019 amid visible protests from MPs and the Speaker (who is shortly due to retire from his position).

A number of MPs protesting against the prorogation of Parliamment, holding signs reading “silenced”, attempted to stop the Speaker leaving the House of Commons for the House of Lords and the Speaker said:

Black Rod, I treat you and what you have to say with respect, and I recognise that our presence is desired by our Majesty the Queen’s Commissioners. They are doing what they believe to be right and I recognise my role in this matter.

I’m perfectly happy to play my part, but I do want to make the point that this is not a standard or normal prorogation.

This is not, however, a normal Prorogation. It is not typical. It is not standard. It is one of the longest for decades, and it represents, not just in the minds of many colleagues but for huge numbers of people outside an act of Executive fiat.

What does “executive fiat” mean ?

It can probably be interpreted to mean “the enforcement of a rule by people who have absolute power to do so, regardless of democratic process

The Speaker then led MPs towards the House of Lords for the formal prorogation ceremony. Only MPs from the Government took part in the ceremony leaving Opposition MPs in the House of Commons heckling as MPs left the chamber. Those remaining in the Commons held a “sing-song” in the chamber while the prorogation took place in the House of Lords.

Remember these are your elected representatives.

Opposition benches in the House of Lords were empty as Labour and Liberal Democrat peers boycotted the ceremony apparently in protest at the suspension of Parliament.

The Prorogation of Parliament proceeded to its conclusion with the Lord President winding up:

“My Lords and Members of the House of Commons:

By virtue of Her Majesty’s Commission which has now been read, we do, in Her Majesty’s name, and in obedience to Her Majesty’s Commands, prorogue this Parliament to Monday the fourteenth day of this October to be then here holden, and this Parliament is accordingly prorogued to Monday the fourteenth day of October.”

The Speaker returned to the House of Commons to report back to MPs, but this time Conservative MPs did not return in order to register their protest at the behaviour of other MPs.

Thus ended this first session of the Fifty-Seventh Parliament that was opened on 13 June 2017.