My intervention to the Minister in the Lords Amendments debate for the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill

Rt Hon Sir John Redwood MP (Wokingham) (Con): Will the MinisterĀ confirm that, if we dismiss LordsĀ amendment 1 today, the courts will not have a role in fixing the dates for elections, because, surely, that is matter for us, answerable to the electors?

Michael Ellis, Paymaster General, Minister of State, Cabinet Office: My right hon. Friend is quite right that it is not productive, and, in fact, it would not be in the interests of the judiciary themselves, for the courts to have such a role.

We committed to repealing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, as it had led to paralysis at a time when the country needed decisive action. In a similar vein, the Labour manifesto said that the 2011 Act

ā€œstifled democracy and propped up weak governments.ā€

A vote in the Commons could create paralysis in a number of contexts, including minority Governments, coalition Governments, or where our parties, Parliament or even the nation, at some point in the future, were divided.

As aĀ majorityĀ on theĀ Joint CommitteeĀ on the Fixed-term Parliaments Act noted, a Commons vote would have a practical effect only where Parliament were gridlocked. The problem is that if the Government of the day had a comfortable majority, a vote would be unlikely to make any difference; it would have no meaningful effect, beyond causing unnecessary delay and expense. However, when Parliament is gridlocked, a vote could mean denying an election to a Government who were unable to function effectively. We witnessed the consequences of such a vote painfully in 2019, so let us not repeat that mistake by devising a system where those events could happen again. LordsĀ amendmentĀ 1 is, therefore, with the greatest possible respect, without merit.


  1. Sea_Warrior
    March 15, 2022

    The paralysis of Parliament – caused by politicians setting themselves against the will of the people – caused me to think that the monarch needed more power. I would have liked to have seen the Queen order a dissolution of Parliament and an election to be held. I trust her judgement more than that of our courts.
    O/T: I hope that Marina Ovsyannikova, who staged an on-air protest last night, is given immediate political asylum here if she requests it. There are few more deserving candidates for our protection.
    Also O/T: Russian shelling of civilian targets in Ukraine are war-crimes. Every Russian divisional commander, and his subordinate artillery commander, must be identified and made aware that a war-crimes docket against them is being prepared.
    Well that’s it. I’ll get on with my day.

    1. rose
      March 15, 2022

      I think George V and George VI would both have commanded a dissolution in the situation we were in. So would Edward VII.

  2. Mark B
    March 15, 2022

    Good morning – again

    The Fixed Term Parliament Act, designed to placate the LibDems in 2010 and get them into a coalition government, has been a complete failure. Why ? Because despite it we have had more GE’s since 2015 then the years before creating great uncertainty and paralysis of government.

    Finally. The courts should not busy themselves with what should and should not be legislation. This is a clear and exclusive right of Parliament and any attempt to change this would be a trespass and a dangerous precedent. It has already muddied the waters regarding the proroguing of parliament, and this must stop.

    Time to put limits on what the Supreme Court, a Blair idea, can and cannot do !

  3. Nottingham Lad Himself
    March 15, 2022

    As expected the Tories are determined to do literally everything that they can to ensure that this country remain an elected dictatorship, and that the power of that dictatorship be as unfettered as possible.

    So we will continue to have the position as today, where the votes of about twelve million can blight the lives of sixty-eight million.

    1. Peter2
      March 15, 2022

      68 million isn’t the electorate NHL

      1. Nottingham Lad Himself
        March 16, 2022

        Which is precisely why there should be constitutional limits on what a minority among them can inflict upon them all.

        Thanks for making my point.

        1. Peter2
          March 16, 2022

          It just shows you again using silly arguments NHL
          There are elections every few years where voters can change governments.
          You just moan because the voters gave the Conservatives a huge majority.
          I had to put up with three BlairBrown governments so I have a little bit of empathy for you.

          1. Nottingham Lad Himself
            March 17, 2022

            No, it is you Leave fanatics who moan endlessly, that the government does not align its policy with the obsessed, extremist fringe of the Leave vote, and at least goes through the motions of having some regard for the lives of the other sixty-five or so million people in this country.

            I know many on-balance Leave voters, but who are nothing like the bulging-eyed ranters who seem to post on sites like this.

          2. Peter2
            March 17, 2022

            I dont moan and rant endlessly on here NHL
            That’s your role.
            As you demonstrate so well in this post of yours.

            Where you also ignore all the points I raised.

  4. Lifelogic
    March 15, 2022

    Yet another disaster from Cast Rubber call me Dave PPE liar, low tax at heart (but always the opposite in reality), EUphile (but pretend not to be), I will deliver the section 50 letter the next day and stay on either outcome, uet then he pathetically abandons ship – and the disaster of fixed term parliament act. Imagine the disaster of a Labour SNP coalition what would the price of that be. Voting at age 10+ and another referendum in Scotland perhaps?

    The biggest outrage was his total failure to get government to prepare for a for both referendum outcomes – army leaders in war have quite rightly been shot for less. Then we have Greensill! What have we done to deserve such appalling PMs Heath, Major, Brown, Blair, Cameron, May and now greencrap Socialist Boris all absolutely appalling.

  5. rose
    March 15, 2022

    The tampering with our constitution by Peter Hennessy and his Cabinet Secretary friends was evident in this debate. You will remember how they made us have a coalition in 2010 because that was what they wanted, and how they rushed from studio to studio telling us the Queen must be kept out of politics. What they meant was that they were usurping her prerogative, just as now they are trying to usurp the right of the electorate to have an election when a new parliament and a new government are needed. No-one ever challenges them on this canard that the Queen must be kept out of politics; and even more curiously, very few people insist it is the judges who should be kept out of politics. In fact these people deftly landed us in a situation where the judges exercised the Royal Prerogative, when they are supposed to take an oath of allegiance to the Crown and to keep right out of politics.

    The SNP and others were putting up a strong fight to make ours into a continental parliament, where the electorate has very little say at all in what goes on, and where there isn’t a monarch.

    1. hefner
      March 16, 2022

      The Royal Prerogative concerns the dissolution of Parliament, the appointment of the PM, the granting of the Royal Assent to laws voted by Parliament and the dismissal of the Government.
      When did the judges exercise the Royal Prerogative? Did ā€˜theyā€™ dissolve the Parliament, appoint a PM, grant validity to laws or dismiss the Parliament?
      As far as I remember the details of what happened in either 2010 or September 2019, they did none of these things. If anything the Supreme Court decision in 2019 gave back Parliament the voice that was about to be silenced by ABdPJ.
      More recently Lord Hennessy had given his opinion in the HoL debate and the Lords had voted for Amendment 1, which was later defeated after debate and vote in the HoC.

      A very curious comment, rose.

  6. Everhopeful
    March 15, 2022

    Oh dear.
    I do not understand this at all.
    But what are they planning now?

  7. Iain Gill
    March 15, 2022

    can we have a new rule that Oxbridge PPE grads are not allowed to stand for elected office or work in the public sector?


    1. Mickey Taking
      March 16, 2022

      you missed out Eton scholars…..

      1. hefner
        March 16, 2022

        Iain, MT, do you realise how many/few of the 650 MPs you would be suppressing by doing that? Only 30 to 40. Thatā€™s around 5-6%. It certainly is not representative of the UK general population, but just because someone on this blog has a fixation on the degree that people might have done twenty years before entering Parliament does not fill the HoC with several hundreds of Oxford PPE graduates.

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