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Parliament is Suspended

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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.

John Bercow to stand down

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John Bercow has announced, in a statement to the House of Commons, that he intends to stand down from his position as Speaker and MP at the close of business on Thursday 31 October 2019.

At the 2017 election, I promised my wife and children that it would be my last. This is a pledge that I intend to keep. If the House votes tonight for an early general election, my tenure as Speaker and MP will end when this Parliament ends. If the House does not so vote, I have concluded that the least disruptive and most democratic course of action would be for me to stand down at the close of business on Thursday 31 October.


I have served as a Member of Parliament for 22 years, and for the last 10 years as Speaker. This has been—let me put it explicitly—the greatest privilege and honour of my professional life, for which I will be eternally grateful. I wish my successor in the Chair the very best fortune in standing up for the rights of hon. and right hon. Members individually, and for Parliament institutionally, as the Speaker of the House of Commons. Thank you.

This decision may have been driven by recent comments that the Conservative Party plans to stand a candidate against him in his Buckingham constituency at the next election, for his role in allowing MPs to take control of the Commons agenda and his apparent lack of impartiality.

He recently told an audience at the Edinburgh festival fringe he would “fight with every breath in my body” to stop the government forcing through a no-deal Brexit by by-passing Parliament.

Early Parliamentary General Election

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Following the Government defeat in the creation of the Bill to prevent the UK leaving the EU on 31 October 2019, Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposes a General Election to be held on Tuesday 15 October 2019.

After debating for 90 minutes the question was put to a vote.

The result of the vote showed 298 in favour and 56 against. (The majority of Labour members abstained.)

However, the motion to hold a General Election did not receive enough votes in favour under the terms of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

The Act specifies that early elections can be held only:

  • if a motion for an early general election is agreed either by at least two-thirds of the whole House or without division
  • or

  • if a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government is confirmed by the Commons within 14 days
  • Motion under Standing Order No. 24 relating to European Union (Withdrawal)

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    Let the shenanigans begin (again). The usual suspects, have submitted a motion to take the control of business of the House of Commons from Wednesday 4 September 2019 in order to create a Bill, European Union (Withdrawal) (No.6) Bill, to prevent the UK leaving the EU on 31 October 2019.

    That the House has considered the matter of the need to take all necessary steps to ensure
    that the United Kingdom does not leave the European Union on 31 October 2019 without
    a withdrawal agreement and accordingly makes provision as set out in this order: …

    Details of the motion are available in full

    Motion (pdf)

    Motion (copy pdf)

    PM statement to Parliament on EU Council: 11 April 2019

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    Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement (11 April 2019) to the House of Commons on the European Council meeting in Brussels.


    With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a Statement on yesterday’s European Council.

    But before I do, I am sure that the whole House will welcome the news this morning that the Metropolitan Police have arrested Julian Assange for breach of bail, after nearly seven years in the Ecuadorian Embassy. He has also been arrested in relation to an extradition request from the United States authorities. This is now a legal matter before the courts. My Right Honourable Friend the Home Secretary will make a Statement on this later, but I would like to thank the Metropolitan Police for carrying out their duties with great professionalism and to welcome the co-operation of the Ecuadorian government in bringing this matter to a resolution. Mr Speaker, this goes to show that in the United Kingdom, no one is above the law.

    Turning to the Council, my priority is to deliver Brexit – and to do so in an orderly way that does not disrupt people’s lives. So I continue to believe we need to leave the European Union with a deal as soon as possible. And of course, this House has voted repeatedly to avoid a No Deal. Yet despite the efforts of Members on all sides, we have not so far been able to vote for a deal.

    So ahead of the Council, I wrote to President Tusk to seek a short extension to the Article 50 period to 30th June.