Amendment 6

Part of Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill - Committee – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 15th July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Adonis Lord Adonis Labour 4:30 pm, 15th July 2019

I think my noble friend is referring to 1974. I have looked that up. Parliament met at the end of October 1974, having had the election. There is no precedent for Parliament not meeting in October. There is no precedent in Britain for a controversial use—a use that would not be generally accepted by most parliamentarians—of the prerogative of Prorogation since 1831, when William IV prorogued Parliament at the request of Earl Grey to prevent the frustration of a Dissolution, which was so radically different a case from the one we have today that it is not comparable. The only case that I can see in any of the Dominions that corresponds to the situation we face now is from Canada in 2008. The then Canadian Prime Minister advised the Governor General to prorogue Parliament. All I can say, having looked at the circumstances of that case, is that it was bitterly controversial. The Governor General thought long and hard about whether to accede to the advice of the Prime Minister. It was immediately after a general election, when the circumstances were very different. If Boris Johnson is thinking of dragging Her Majesty into a controversy as deep as would be involved in banning Parliament from meeting in October, he will be doing a massive disservice not only to Parliament but to all our institutions of state. I hope he does not go there.