Sir John Major’s Hypocrisy on Prorogation: The Courts Have No Authority to Stop It

James Bowden's Blog

Spitting Image was right: John Major really does look grey in the analogue 1990s television signals.

Something about prorogation seems to bring out a toxic mixture of anger and ignorance.

Brexit and Prorogation

The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, 2011 put the prerogative over dissolution as well as the established constitutional position of the Queen and Prime Minister with respect to dissolution into abeyance. This resulting inflexibility in the British constitution has made a right mess of things and prevented a natural dissolution of a deadlocked Brexit Parliament elected in 2017. And now Britain’s radical reformers have set their sights on the prerogative authority over prorogation as well.

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Robert Craig: Judicial Review of Advice to Prorogue Parliament

UK Constitutional Law Association

In a recent Times article, Lord Pannick QC – leading Counsel in the Miller litigation – argues that if a Prime Minister were to advise HMQ to prorogue parliament to avoid a No Deal exit, an application could be made to the courts to determine the lawfulness of such advice. Sir John Major said on the Today programme on 10 July that he would personally bring a judicial review of any decision by the Prime Minister to advise prorogation.

After briefly considering issues of timing and justiciability, Lord Pannick makes three main arguments as to why, in his view, advice to prorogue parliament to achieve No Deal would be ruled unlawful by the courts. First, he claims that proroguing parliament would contradict parliamentary sovereignty. Secondly he claims the urgency of the situation would make prorogation unlawful. Thirdly, he argues that such advice would be ‘seeking to evade parliament because it…

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