Saturday, 10 June 2017
Washminster is back....
The June 2017 election is over (will this be another Parliament - like those of 1974 - to be known not only by their year, but by their month?) - and lots of questions about constitutional rules and political practice arise. Now that I've stopped walking the streets of Milton Keynes (which armfuls of leaflets and letters) and calling on peoples' doors - I am back to write about the events as they unfurl.
Next week MPs will head for Westminster - as the new Parliament begins to swing into action. The key events will be -
Election of the Speaker - see http://www.parliament.uk/about/faqs/house-of-commons-faqs/speakers-election/
MPs take their oaths - which is done on an individual basis. Forward thinking MPs elected for the first time in this election will be keen to be amongst the first of their group - if they wish to be "father of the House" in a few decades time. [The longest serving MP gets that honour - and where a number arrive at the same time, the first of them to have taken the oath is deemed to be the longest serving] - http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/elections-and-voting/swearingin/
State Opening of Parliament - due on Monday 19th June. The Queen's Speech will set out the legislative plans of the Government. It is followed by days of debate - and a vote. In the past a defeat on the Queen's Speech would lead to the fall of the Government. In 1924 the Conservative Government fell, and the next day the first Labour (Minority) Government was formed. If the Government were defeated this time - the Prime Minister would be expected to resign - and the Queen would invite the person most likely to form a new Government to become her Prime Minister. We are then into delicate issues of who that might be - could it be the leader of the next largest party? (Labour) or could another Conservative stand a better chance of pulling together sufficient support? The Queen would rely heavy on advice - but there could be a danger of the Monarch being involved in controversy. An immediate General Election is unlikely, and the loss of the vote, on the Queen's Speech is not mentioned in the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011 - so either a vote of no-confidence would have to be lost or two thirds of MPs would have to vote to dissolve Parliament would be needed. http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/occasions/stateopening/