Wednesday, February 21

What does Johnson’s plan to prorogue Parliament involve



Boris Johnson has confirmed he plans to hold a Queen’s Speech on October 14.

That means MPs face a race against time to thwart the Prime Minister taking the UK out of the EU without a deal.

Johnson says he wants an opportunity to set up new bills to ‘level up’ spending on his priorities, including the NHS, education and policing.

But his plan will also dramatically cut down the amount of time MPs have to block Johnson pressing forward with a chaotic no-deal Brexit .

Here’s everything you need to know about Boris Johnson ’s new plan – and what it means for Brexit.

He’s setting the date for a Queen’s speech.

This effectively reboots Parliament, setting off a new ‘session’ and shutting down the old one.

This usually happens every year – though it doesn’t have to, and Theresa May chose not to have a Queen’s Speech in 2018-19, so she’d have more time to push Brexit plans through.

Parliament always breaks up for a recess before the Queen’s speech – at least for a few days.

And when they return, the slate is clear. Any legislation that was in the process of passing through Parliament is cancelled and they start the new session effectively from scratch.

What does proroguing Parliament mean?

‘Prorouguing’ means to suspend a session of Parliament without calling a new one.

While there has been much talk of ‘proroguing’ Parliament, Johnson actually isn’t doing this.

He’s ending the current session and setting a date for the start of a new one.

Politicians should probably stop using the word because most people don’t know what it means, it doesn’t really apply here and it’s really unhelpful.

It’s the (usually) annual address given by the Monarch to MPs and peers, opening the new session of Parliament.

It’s used by the Prime Minister to outline the Government’s legislative programme for the upcoming session.

That hasn’t been revealed, but here’s the most likely scenario.

Parliament is expected to return from recess on Tuesday September 3. It’s then expected to sit until September 11 or 12, when it would break up for party conference season.

Usually, Parliament would return straight away after the end of Conservative Party Conference, which finishes on October 2.

What’s being suggested is that the conference recess be extended for another full week, returning for the Queen’s speech on Monday October 14.

It massively slashes the amount of time MPs have to pass any kind of blocking measures through Parliament.

Let’s assume the Commons sits Monday to Friday – which it doesn’t always, but let’s assume it would in a crunch.

If the original timeline were to take place, there would be a maximum of eight sitting days before the conference recess.

And assuming they returned the Monday after Tory conference, there would be scope for 19 sitting days between then and the October 31 deadline.

That’s 27 days in which an anti-no-deal coalition could work on ways to block it.

Now, if there’s a Queen’s Speech on October 14, in all likelihood Parliament would stay in recess for the week before.

There are usually five full days of debate following a Queen’s Speech – and another two days of votes on the speech on October 21-22.

This would make it exceptionally difficult to schedule any further business in the Commons during that time.

So that would leave just seven potential sitting days between conferences and the Brexit deadline – and just 14 in total.

There’s also the small matter of the European Council meeting on October 17, which will be the PM’s last opportunity to seal a new deal with the EU.

Boris Johnson this morning said there will be “ample time” to debate Brexit before and after the October 17 meeting.