Prorogation is a Paper Tiger, but Time is the Elephant

There are 15 weeks left until the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU. A new leader of the Conservative party, and so de facto Prime Minister, will be chosen by party members and presented to Parliament just before it plans to rise for summer recess on 25 July. A point of distinction between the two candidates for Conservative leadership is on the exercise of a power to prorogue Parliament in order to ensure the UK’s withdrawal on 31 October 2019: Jeremy Hunt will not use the power, Boris Johnson will not rule it out. The threat of prorogation, if serious, could prove a catalyst for constitutional crisis.

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#DeniedMyVote too: Brits in France, the European Elections and the Council of State

European Elections Day in the United Kingdom has been stained by revelations that many EU citizens were unable to vote due to various clerical errors, widely reported on Twitter with the hashtag #DeniedMyVote. It seems that something along the same lines, though on a smaller scale, happened to UK citizens residing in other Member States of the European Union, for example in France.

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Unconstitutional Prorogation

On 1 April, the British Parliament again failed to agree on a plan for withdrawal from the European Union. It has now been suggested that the government should prorogue Parliament until after 12 April in order to terminate the current parliamentary debate. This would effectively silence Parliament to achieve its preferred version of Brexit without regard to principles of democracy and representative and responsible government.

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‘Our Precious Union’: The Backstop and the Constitutional Integrity of the UK

The decision of the Prime Minister Theresa May to stand down if the Parliament approves the Withdrawal Agreement has led a number of passionate proponents of Brexit including Boris Johnson to change their view of the deal. Still, the Democratic Unionist Party said on Wednesday that the Brexit deal and in particular the backstop posed ‘an unacceptable threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom.’ This is significant not only because the DUP is in a confidence-and-supply arrangement with the Government but also because a number of ardent Brexiteers such as Jacob Rees-Mogg have said that their stance towards the deal depends on DUP’s position. In light of another meaningful vote, one has to wonder whether the DUP’s fears concerning the threat of the backstop to the constitutional integrity of the UK are justified.

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Protecting the EU from a Kill Switch: Why EU Law Does Not Require EP Elections in the UK

According to the EU, postponing Brexit beyond May 23 legally requires UK elections for the European Parliament. If no elections are held, the argument goes, the new European Parliament would not be legally constituted. Yet, on closer inspection, this conclusion is not as legally convincing as it appears.

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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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