August 29, 2019 12.00 pm This story is over 51 months old

Giles McNeill: After 800 days, it’s time for a Queen’s Speech

Our system can bend, be flexible, and not break

Barry Turner is wrong. The proroguing of Parliament will not destroy our political system. It is far too resilient. It is one of the great advantages of having no written constitution: our system can bend, be flexible, and not break. You just need to look at the partisan antics of Mr. Speaker (John Bercow) to see how out of shape things can become without them breaking. Nor do I think John Marriott is right that our nation has been ungovernable for ‘quite some time’.

It is perfectly normal for an incoming government to hold a Queen’s Speech. Since the start of the last century, in the last 119 years, there have been 117 Queen’s (King’s) Speeches. In some years there have been two! This current parliamentary session is the longest we’ve had in over three centuries, having now run for 800 days, since 21st June 2017. It really is time for the current session to close and a new session to begin.

For all those who are suggesting that the Queen has been dragged into politics, they’re wrong too. In exercising the prerogative of prorogation, the monarch must act in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister. They may warn privately against, but if the Prime Minister insists, then they must acquiesce.

Despite all the bellicose, outrage and spluttering by opposition politicians, they had every opportunity to do something about the prorogation power when they were passing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act in 2011. They instead approved what became section 6 (1) of it: “This Act does not affect Her Majesty’s power to prorogue Parliament.”

But perhaps this isn’t about process. Perhaps Mr. Johnson has taken a leaf out of so many great generals from history. From Sun Tzu to Napoleon Bonaparte, they have all advanced the benefit of surprise. In battle you must try and confuse, disrupt and demoralise your enemy. And yesterday’s decision to ask the Queen to prorogue Parliament certainly did that.

There is now a frenzy of activity amongst those who oppose delivering on the will of the people to try and stop the prorogation. Their attention successfully diverted from other matters that had been finding some traction in recent days – a vote of no confidence, introducing legislation to stop a no-deal Brexit, taking control of the parliamentary timetable to debate Brexit further.

Boris Johnson was absolutely right yesterday when he said: “If you look at what we’re doing, we’re bringing forward a new legislative programme on crime, on hospitals, making sure we have the education funding we need”.

After 800 days it really is time for a Queen’s Speech. Time to close the current parliamentary session and start anew.

I believe that regardless of whether we get a deal or no-deal Brexit on 31st October, Lincolnshire is prepared to make a success of it.

We cannot continue with the uncertainty of the never-ending no-man’s-land of Article 50 indefinitely. It’s time to move on. We need to get past Brexit and re-focus on important issues that truly, deeply affect people’s lives. Only then can we build a brighter future for everyone.

— Giles McNeill is the Conservative Leader of West Lindsey District Council

Giles McNeill is the Conservative Leader of West Lindsey District Council