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UK Politics: Johnson in a Pinch(er)


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4 minutes ago, Werthead said:

From the Mirror correspondent:

This was from quite a bit earlier on and other political pundits have shot down this idea.

The BBC running polls - presumably taken before today's events - that would show a catastrophic collapse in Conservative vote share if they did hold an election. In an election based on Johnson's leadership, it may be considerably worse, with a 5 million switch from the Tories to Labour and the LibDems.

Some suggestions on Twitter going into the "mental" category, like the entire Parliamentary Conservative Party resigning and forming a new party (The New Conservatives), leaving Johnson and his five supporters or whatever alone and without a mandate. That does seem a bit extreme and I think would trigger a general election anyway, so they might as well vote for no confidence in the government instead.

It's one thing to deselect 21 MP's.  Quite another to deselect 300.

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If Johnson loses a VONC and refuses to leave, then it seems entirely appropriate for the Queen, as a representative of the government as a whole, to inform Johnson that he needs to go. 

I don't think that we need to do any pearl clutching about the precedent this would set.  The precedent that any PM who loses a VONC also loses the support of the Crown seems entirely reasonable (wise even). 

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Werthead said:

The BBC reporting that if Boris tries to call an election with the rest of the party with a huge majority saying they don't want one, they don't believe the Queen would approve it.

Also, Johnson dragging the Queen into the mess does seem to be highly improbable.

Maybe the Palace will keep him on hold indefinitely:

”This call is important to us. Please hold while we try to connect you…”

While playing God Save the Queen.

Edited by Derfel Cadarn
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3 minutes ago, SeanF said:

It's one thing to deselect 21 MP's.  Quite another to deselect 300.

A quick look at the Conservative Party Constitutions suggest he can't even deselect 1. The local party executives can reconsider MP candidates but they can very quickly just reconfirm them and confirm those are the candidates. There is no need for them to respond to a request from the party leader or PM to do so (that I can see).

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12 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

If he refuses to resign after a vote of no confidence?  The PM cannot claim a direct electoral mandate as the US President can attempt to claim.  If he refuses to resign that refusal is itself an “undemocratic” action.

You, of all people, Scot, are not the one I would expect to be calling for undemocratic actions to be corrected by undemocratic action.

5 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

If Johnson loses a VONC and refuses to leave, then it seems entirely appropriate for the Queen, as a representative of the government as a whole, to inform Johnson that he needs to go.

The Queen isn't a representative of the government, in any sense. They are, at least in theory, representatives of her. What right has the Queen to speak for anyone other than the Queen? Constitutionally, democratically, legally, the answer is none.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, mormont said:

You, of all people, Scot, are not the one I would expect to be calling for undemocratic actions to be corrected by undemocratic action.

If there was a direct election of a PM by the people of the UK I might agree. Johnson using a technicality to force the Monarch into an uncomfortable position isn’t “undemocratic” in my earnest opinion.  The “mandate” Johnson speaks of isn’t his.  It is the Conservative Party’s mandate.  If they reject Johnson… I think it is perfectly appropriate for the Queen, at the request of the majority party in Parliament, to remove the squatting Johnson.

It reminds me of a Judical action.

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison
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2 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

If there was a direct election of a PM by the people of the UK I might agree. Johnson using a technicality to force the Monarch into an uncomfortable position isn’t “undemocratic” in my earnest opinion.  The “mandate” Johnson speaks of isn’t his.  It is the Conservative Party’s mandate.  If they reject Johnson… I think it is perfectly appropriate for the Queen, at the request of the majority party in Parliament to remove the squatting Johnson.

It reminds me of a Judical action.

You'd need the Supreme Court to back that up and the Supreme Court will be freaking out about now at where this ends up going.

The situation is basically this: the PM is not directly elected, they are the head of the Parliamentary party and the largest party in Parliament gets to form a government and their leader becomes PM. The party can fire the PM because he is not directly elected. That's how the system works.

However, this is all done by convention, not law. In fact, making it law would cause chaos for the regional parties, as the heads of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parties usually sit in their local legislatures and not Parliament, and they'd not appreciate being forced to become MPs and sit in London instead.

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Posted (edited)

A reference to the many dozens of WhatsApp groups that make up political circles in Westminster these days.

A quarter of the entire government payroll has now been sacked or been fired and only a couple of them have been replaced, leaving the government likely unable to operate properly, especially since maybe close to half of those who are left will refuse to take up those roles.

Edited by Werthead
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12 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

If there was a direct election of a PM by the people of the UK I might agree. Johnson using a technicality to force the Monarch into an uncomfortable position isn’t “undemocratic” in my earnest opinion.  The “mandate” Johnson speaks of isn’t his.  It is the Conservative Party’s mandate.  If they reject Johnson… I think it is perfectly appropriate for the Queen, at the request of the majority party in Parliament, to remove the squatting Johnson.

It reminds me of a Judical action.

As Johnson is not directly elected, I have no issue with the Queen sacking him, should he defy convention, and seek to remain in situ, after losing the confidence of the Commons.

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15 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

It reminds me of a Judical action.

She's not a judge either. Again, in this country at least in theory they represent the crown, not the other way around.

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Still, all of this is at least making a good case for what I've been saying for years, which is that this constitutional monarchy stuff is dangerous bullshit. Written constitutions have their issues but at least they don't leave you sitting aroung arguing over whether it's worse for an unelected 96 year old to throw out an overgrown toddler clinging to the desk at number 10 or for the PM to become in practice an elected dictator.

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1 minute ago, mormont said:

Still, all of this is at least making a good case for what I've been saying for years, which is that this constitutional monarchy stuff is dangerous bullshit. Written constitutions have their issues but at least they don't leave you sitting aroung arguing over whether it's worse for an unelected 96 year old to throw out an overgrown toddler clinging to the desk at number 10 or for the PM to become in practice an elected dictator.

Yes, this is very suddenly going to become a pressing major issue.

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