POSTS BY Jack Simson Caird

The Bercow Bombshell: Political Constitutionalism in Action

In this post, I defend the constitutional logic of Speaker’s intervention. In a constitutional system such as the UK, which largely depends on political institutions and norms to check the executive, it is entirely appropriate – indeed, desirable – that the Speaker identify, interpret and enforce such norms to defend the institutional interests of the House of Commons and basic values of parliamentary democracy.

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The House of Commons’ Last Chance at Taking Back Control?

On Wednesday 27 February, MPs will have another opportunity to debate an amendable motion on the Government’s approach to Brexit. The debate on Wednesday is likely to focus on the plan put forward by Yvette Cooper MP (Labour) and Oliver Letwin MP (Conservative). They want MPs to have a legally binding say on whether the Prime Minister seeks an extension to Article 50’s two-year negotiating period. The opportunity to approve or reject the Cooper-Letwin on Wednesday represents the most important Brexit decision that the Commons has taken since the deal was rejected on 15 January.

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Brexit and the Speaker of the House of the Commons: Do the Ends Justify the Means?

Yesterday, the Speaker of the UK House of Commons decided to allow an amendment to the Brexit timetable to be selected and voted upon by the Commons, in flat contradiction of the Commons’ rules and against the advice of his senior clerks. In this post, I outline the constitutional context which helps to explain why the Speaker took his decision, even if it does not justify the way in which the decision was taken.

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The Meaningful Vote on Brexit: the End of the Beginning or the Beginning of the End?

Tomorrow, the House of Commons will, barring a last minute delay, be the stage for the conclusion of the most dramatic parliamentary debate of the Brexit process so far: the meaningful vote on the Brexit deal. In strict constitutional terms the question is simple: will MPs decide to approve the motion that is legally required (by the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018) to enable the Withdrawal Agreement to be ratified before exit day? However, the political and procedural reality is, as one would expect, less simple.

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