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On the evening of Tuesday, October 8, a second prorogation of Parliament took place:

Prorogation proceeded as normal, unlike the first one on September 10, which Baroness Hale and the Supreme Court declared unlawful.

Not illegal, unlawful: done for political reasons.

Apparently, Baroness Hale has eyes into Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s soul. Could it be the spider brooch what done it?

It has been said that Spiderwoman took down the Hulk with that decision. She isn’t denying it.

The Baroness spoke to the Association of State Girls’ Schools, covered by TES (Times Educational Supplement) event on October 4. Clearly, she took exception to Boris’s use several weeks ago of the phrase ‘girly swot’. He once referred to former PM David Cameron as a ‘girly swot’. The anti-Boris/anti-Brexit brigade are still running with it.

It is unclear whether the slide below came from the Association or the Baroness herself:

Now on to the orderly prorogation that took place on Tuesday evening:

This is what happened:

People were sympathetic towards Black Rod, remembering the events of September with Speaker Bercow and Labour MP Dennis Skinner (language alert):

Norman French is still used as part of this ceremony — ‘The Queen wishes it’:

Unlike last time, all of the MPs filed out of the chamber to walk to the House of Lords:

The same clerk from the Lords read out the lengthy achievements of the government and Parliament in terms of legislation:

The government writes the clerk’s speech, which is presented on the Queen’s behalf, hence the usage of ‘my government’:

In the photo at the top right, you can see Black Rod (Sarah Clarke) on the left and the Speaker of the House (John Bercow) next to her:

After the clerk finished the long list of accomplishments, she announced the prorogation of the House of Commons, required before a Queen’s Speech, which will take place on Monday:

The ‘zombie Parliament’ is over …

… although the same MPs will convene on Monday.

At the end:

The MPs then returned to the House of Commons for a few minutes:

Then everyone left and the chamber was locked.

On Monday, it will be interesting to see if MPs reject the content of the Queen’s Speech. They vote on it:

Even if they vote to approve it, the Lords — most of whom are life peers, not hereditary — can vote against subsequent legislation, e.g. Brexit. As the Twitter user below points out, Remainer Lords did not show up for September’s prorogation:

The last PM to have a Queen’s Speech rejected was Stanley Baldwin in 1924:

The last time this happened was in January 1924 to Conservative Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin after he proceeded with a King’s Speech, under George V, despite having lost his majority in the previous month’s general election.

Mr Baldwin subsequently resigned and a minority Labour government took over.

Oh, my. The circumstances, minus the general election, sound very similar to Boris Johnson’s. That said, Boris, being a keen student of history, already knows that.

He won’t resign. If MPs vote against the Queen’s Speech, all he has to say is that opposition MPs turned down his two previous motions for a general election. This is why Labour and the Lib Dems don’t want one:

More next week.

The past seven days in Britain have proven further the old adage that a week is a long time in politics.

Last Saturday, September 7, Conservative MP Amber Rudd (Hastings and Rye) resigned from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet. Her resignation is not a huge loss, as she is a Remainer, however, the optics were potentially damaging to the new PM.

She was upset about the 21 Conservative MPs who had the whip removed last week. (The PM’s brother Jo had resigned from Cabinet days before for the same reason.) Fair enough. However, she allegedly told The Sunday Times about her resignation before she notified the PM, according to Buzzfeed’s Alex Wickham:

On Monday, September 9, talk revolved around Boris’s ‘unfair’ prorogation. A few weeks ago, Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan reminded us of the facts:

Before prorogation took place, however, former Conservative-now-rebel MP Dominic Grieve put forward a Humble Address procedure in Parliament on Monday afternoon. He wants every detail of correspondence behind prorogation as well as the emergency Brexit procedures contained in Project Yellowhammer. The Guardian has this summary of this extraordinary measure with regard to prorogation correspondence (emphases mine):

Grieve’s demand for the release of all written and electronic contact about the temporary suspension of Parliament and Operation Yellowhammer documents since July 23 to be released was approved by MPs by 311 votes to 302 on Monday.

It asked for all correspondence and communications, formal or informal, including WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Facebook Messenger, private email accounts, text messages, iMessage and official and personal mobile phones connected to the present Government since July 23 relating to prorogation.

It listed key individuals of Mr Johnson’s Government, including senior adviser Dominic Cummings and director of legislative affairs Nikki da Costa.

Grieve was Attorney General just a few years ago, so, apparently, this move is legal, even though one wonders about the legality of requesting private correspondence given EU data protection rules. An update follows below.

That was followed by Speaker of the House John Bercow’s announcement that he would be relinquishing his post by October 31. A standing ovation from Opposition MPs followed, at which point most Conservative MPs left the chamber. Then, a 90-minute verbal floral tribute followed to the Remainer from a variety of Opposition MPs, also Remainers. And these are the people who complain they lack adequate time to debate Brexit!

That evening, as MPs continued to sit in session, the PM once again put forward his motion to hold a general election. His prior attempt had been defeated a week earlier.

Once again, Boris was defeated. Those who voted Aye were in the majority, but he needed two-thirds of all sitting MPs to vote for it.

Still, no one can rightly call him a dictator.

Recalcitrant MPs should have listened to Gina Miller. This is probably the one time I agree with her — and that is only with the second sentence in this tweet:

Gina’s case on illegal prorogation was rejected, but it goes before the Supreme Court next week on appeal. Former Conservative PM John Major (pictured in the background) piggybacked his own anti-prorogation case onto Miller’s:

It’s a bit rich for Sir John to complain about Boris’s prorogation:

Around the time Parliament was preparing for prorogation, a poll was released saying that the British public do not want another extension to Brexit:

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, all hell broke loose in the House of Commons.

Black Rod, the Lady Usher in the House of Lords and Queen’s representative for the prorogation ceremony, entered the House. She was there to prorogue Parliament and summon all MPs to the House of Lords where they had to listen to a very long list of all the achievements of their Parliament. It took ages.

I stayed up to watch everything on BBC Parliament, but the following video has better views of a few other scenes in the Commons. The noise that Opposition MPs made was terrible. Then, a vexed Black Rod, who stood on the red line designating the governing party’s boundary in the House, glared at the Speaker as he made some great peroration, to borrow the word he uses against those with whom he disagrees. He then barked at two Conservative MPs telling him to get on with it and leave the chamber. One Labour MP climbed on top of Speaker Bercow to prevent him leaving!

This video is around six and one half minutes long and is well worth watching:

Here is a potted version with subtitles of the proceedings:

It was part of Bercow’s job to silence the chamber and allow Black Rod to speak.

Here are a few more scenes:

The ‘SILENCED’ signs were rich, considering these MPs are thwarting Brexit at every turn. A Leave supporter did a nice Photoshop of the Speaker’s chair:

All of the MPs were supposed to follow Black Rod to the House of Lords, but only the Conservatives and a handful of Opposition MPs did.

The rest stayed behind to film themselves in the Commons — not allowed — and to sing songs, such as The Red Flag!

The Labour MP crawling on top of Bercow was re-enacting a similar prorogation scene in Parliament from 1629:

After Bercow returned from the House of Lords, he received a second standing ovation, largely from the Opposition:

On Wednesday, September 11, The Guardian reported that Cabinet minister Michael Gove wrote Dominic Grieve in response to his aforementioned Humble Address procedure requesting private correspondence on prorogation. The government — rightly — will not hand over said documents:

A letter from Michael Gove addressed to former Attorney General Dominic Grieve states that the request would breach the rights of those named in the communications – including civil servants and special advisers.

This is an unprecedented, inappropriate, and disproportionate use of [the Humble Address] procedure. To name individuals without any regard for their rights or the consequences of doing so goes far beyond any reasonable right of Parliament under this procedure.

These individuals have no right of reply, and the procedure used fails to afford them any of the protections that would properly be in place. It offends against basic principles of fairness and the Civil Service duty of care towards its employees.

Excellent move, excellent reasoning.

However, the government did release more information about Operation Yellowhammer, which looks a lot like what we saw reported in the media earlier this year in anticipation of the original March 29 departure date:

We have enough to go on at this time. Why release procedures that could compromise national security?

Michael Gove explained that Yellowhammer details what to do in a worst case scenario. Those scenarios might never happen. They are contingency plans:

That day, three Scottish Appeal Court judges declared that the PM’s prorogation is unlawful, as they believe it is intended to stymie Parliament:

The case goes to the UK’s Supreme Court next week. The Guardian reported:

The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the power to interfere in the prime minister’s political decision to prorogue parliament.

Lawyers acting for 75 opposition MPs and peers argued Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks was illegal and in breach of the constitution, as it was designed to stifle parliamentary debate and action on Brexit.

The judges failed to issue an interdict, or injunction, ordering the UK government to reconvene parliament, prompting a row over whether the decision meant MPs could go back to the House of Commons.

The court issued an official summary of its decision declaring the prorogation order was “null and of no effect”, but Carloway said the judges were deferring a final decision on an interdict to the UK supreme court, which will hold a three-day hearing next week.

Conservative MP Nigel Evans reiterated the PM’s position:

A hypocritical Labour MP showed up alone for PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions) late that morning, following the Scottish judges’ declaration. Too bad he did not spend that energy in a vote for a general election:

On Thursday, a High Court judge in Belfast dismissed a legal challenge against a No Deal Brexit. A BBC article says:

One of the three cases brought was by the victims’ campaigner Raymond McCord who plans to appeal the decision.

The court heard arguments that a no-deal would have a negative effect on the peace process and endanger the Good Friday Agreement.

But the judge said the main aspects of the case were “inherently and unmistakeably political”.

Lord Justice Bernard McCloskey also excluded a challenge against the suspension of Parliament because the issue formed the “centrepiece” of proceedings in England and Scotland.

As the week draws to a close, a reporter for The Times (paywall) says that the EU regrets alliances with Labour and other Remainers over their incoherent policies on Brexit. Labour’s Keir Starmer is on the left in the photo, with party leader Jeremy Corbyn on the right:

As far as the government’s negotiations in the EU, Boris has made a largely favourable impression, although his negotiator David Frost is seen to be driving a hard bargain in some areas. This thread comes from the Director of the Centre for European Reform, who confirms that, to date, no firm proposals have been presented to the EU. That said, he says some EU nations believe that Boris wants to make a deal before October 31:

Elsewhere in Brussels news, Guy Verhofstadt’s wine from his estate in Tuscany is reportedly very good. Perhaps that was what he poured in this documentary clip about the EU’s Brexit Steering Group:

On Monday, September 16, the PM will meet over lunch for Brexit talks with Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxembourg.

More to follow anon as this sorry saga continues.

So far, Boris Johnson has given only one prime ministerial address, because Parliament adjourned for summer recess at the close of business on Thursday, July 25, 2019.

Boris gave a rousing little speech on his vision for Britain, which includes ‘sunlit uplands’. Bring them on!

He then took questions from MPs for around an hour before leaving the chamber. He certainly riled Labour!

The former Leader of the House — and former Conservative leadership candidate — Andrea Leadsom had this to say about sunlit uplands:

Earlier, the new Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg …

… gave a witty speech, also worth viewing:

I agree with him, but, then again, I am a regular BBC Parliament viewer:

Theresa May was at a cricket match that day, by the way.

Both Houses of Parliament are now back in session. Boris gave a short address on Monday, September 2, outside of No. 10, reporting that Brexit negotiations have been going well, that now is not the time for Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn to push for a Brexit extension. Ultimately, Boris wants MPs — and the nation — to come together to support his programme for the country:

Unfortunately, anti-Brexit people who do not want the UK to come together as a nation were protesting outside the gates of Downing Street:

Boris has been busy not only negotiating Brexit but also welcoming various Britons to No. 10 — unprecedented in frequency and transparency …

… as well as touring the nation:

Of course, he also attended the G7:

Britons view Boris positively, which isn’t surprising, since he is the first Prime Minister for a long time who has given the nation a real sense of hope:

Here are three different polling samples from the end of August. Thanks to Boris, the Conservatives have really bounced back since July:

However, as most people reading this know, it is not all plain sailing for the new PM and his government.

The 52% who voted to Leave do not want any more extensions to the Brexit deadline. The latest is October 31, and Labour’s Corbyn wants it extended for a few more months. All will become clearer today and Wednesday.

Those who want Brexit no longer care whether there is a deal or no deal at all. After all, Theresa May said over 100 times:

No deal is better than a bad deal.

As I write, we have no real details from No. 10 other than Boris’s ongoing commitment to exit the EU on October 31.

Then there is his prorogation of Parliament, which will meet for a few days then be in recess until October 14. The Left — and Conservative anti-Brexit MPs are saying that this is an outrage. However, there are two points to keep in mind. First, the term of the previous parliament went on substantially longer than normal and debated — worked against — Brexit for many months. Secondly, Boris is only proroguing Parliament for an extra four to six days. This is because MPs take most of September off for their respective annual party conferences: Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats. No two party conferences are held during the same time period, hence, the need to adjourn for most of the next several weeks.

Conservative MP Dominic Grieve is a Remainer who strongly objects to Brexit — and the prorogation. However, on August 30, political pundit Guido Fawkes reminded him of a prior prorogation (emphases mine, the one in red is his):

Dominic Grieve has been touring TV and radio studios claiming that Boris’ prorogation is unusually long and therefore unconstitutional as ordinarily the prorogued period cover just four or five days. Guido thought it might be nice to remind the anti-Brexit campaigner who was the Government’s Attorney General when Parliament was prorogued for 21 days, starting 14 May and concluding on 4 June in 2014. That recent prorogation spanned the Whitsun recess and a further two weeks of sitting time. In contrast, Boris’ prorogation takes up just four days of sitting time…

Paul Goodman calculated six days in his article for Conservative Home:

… yes, the number of days that Parliament now won’t sit is only six more than was originally planned.

That’s still a far cry from the aforementioned 2014 prorogation.

The Left, media and celebrities included, have been accusing Boris of a ‘coup’ and implementing something akin to the Third Reich. Paul Goodman explains why they are wrong, by way of explaining what prorogation involves:

… to compare an autumn recess without prorogation to one with it would be to compare apples and pears. Prorogation ends the session: during it, no motions or questions can be tabled. And this will be a very long prorogation: it is to last the best part of five weeks.

There also needs to be a prorogation before the Queen’s Speech, scheduled for October 14.

Goodman explains Boris’s strategy:

At a stroke, the Prime Minister has thus prevented those MPs opposed to a No Deal Brexit, or indeed to Brexit itself, from seizing control of the Commons timetable and extending the September sitting into the Party Conference season.

In short, he has given them as little time to postpone Brexit on October 31 as he can get away with – just as Ben Wallace suggested in a moment of on-camera candour.  This is bending the rulesBut it is not breaking them.  Parliament is not being shut down.  (It will sit next week and after October 14.)  Johnson is not acting unconstitutionally (because if he had been, the Queen would not have agreed the prorogation).

And he is not, repeat not, re-enacting the Reichstag FireThe Commons can pass a no confidence motion in him – this week, if it wishes.  At the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, the German Communist Party was not in a position to move such a vote against Hitler in 1933.

One has to be very clever indeed to suggest a parallel so profoundly stupid, but that’s the effect of Brexit for you.

Keep in mind, MPs have been debating and getting extensions to Brexit for months:

… the Commons cannot make up its mind what to do. It has voted against No Deal. It has voted against Theresa May’s deal. It has voted against revocation. Against a second referendum. Against Norway Plus. Against the EEA. In short, against everything – with two exceptions. The first is extension. The most likely course it will now take, if it can get its act together, will be to vote for extension yet again. No wonder the Prime Minister believes that enough is enough, and that Britain must leave the EU by October 31.

The second exception is worth bearing in mind. There will be no shortage of drama this week in the Chamber and in law courts, on TV and all over Twitter. Stand by for S024 motions, judges’ rulings, emergency Bills, Mr Speaker, Gina Miller, Brussels rumours, Dominic Cummings, Corbyn opposing the No Deal Brexit that he has done so much to further – not to mention deselection talk, with possible action, and election fever. But one should not be so gobsmacked by the actors as to miss the structure of the play.

MPs are unaccustomed to Boris’s style:

The long and short of it is that where Theresa May rolled over, Johnson pushes backIt is almost too much for the Remainer Ascendancy, with its Lord Kerr-like sense of entitlement, to be able to bear.   (And the Hard Left now has an excuse for making a nuisance of itself by, er, rising up in defence of one of our great established institutions).

All hell is likely to break loose in the days ahead.

This is British history in the making, the likes of which have not been seen in decades.

Enjoy the show!

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