Robert Craig: Could the Government Advise the Queen to Refuse Royal Assent to a Backbench Bill?

UK Constitutional Law Association


As is well known, the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement was voted down in Parliament last week by 230 votes in a ‘meaningful vote’ mandated under s 13(1) of European Withdrawal Act 2018 (‘EUWA’). This led to the Opposition tabling a formal vote of no confidence in the Government under the Fixed-term Parliament Act 2011 (‘FTPA’). This is the first formal no confidence motion tabled for a quarter of a century. The motion was defeated by 325 votes to 306 votes. The survival of the Government despite the rejection of the central plank of its programme has led one leading commentator to describe the Government as ‘in office without being in power’.

For some MPs, notably the ERG group of backbench Conservative MPs, the rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement is unproblematic. This is because, as a matter of law, Parliament gave its approval to Brexit when it passed the European…

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at

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