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June 14, 2019


Top Story

June 14, 2019

Queen should be kept out of politics: Stride


LONDON: The Queen should be “kept out of politics” and it would be “unfair” to ask her to temporarily shut down Parliament, according to a cabinet minister.

Commons Leader Mel Stride said he and his Conservative colleagues did not want to involve the monarch in political matters, before adding that he believes MPs are united in trying to secure a Brexit deal.

His remarks came after shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz raised Labour’s concerns over Tory leadership candidates suggesting they could prorogue Parliament to ensure the UK leaves the EU without an agreement on October 31.

She also unsuccessfully pushed Stride to offer dates for the summer recess given the ongoing uncertainty over Parliament’s role in the coming weeks on Brexit.The Commons is next week scheduled to consider legislation linked to business rates, the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster, and backbench debates on refugee family reunion and court closures.

Stride told MPs: “(Ms Vaz) raised the issue of proroguing Parliament as, I’m sort of paraphrasing her comments, a device to perhaps ensure a no-deal situation in the absence of Parliament sitting. That is not the government’s policy at all and it is certainly the feeling on this side of the House that Her Majesty the Queen should be kept out of politics. It’d be unfair to draw her into a political situation in that form.”

On a no-deal Brexit, Stride said: “I think what does unite perhaps the whole House is that a deal is better than having no-deal provided we can come together to secure that outcome.” Vaz earlier said: “One of the many governmental powers which can be exercised without statutory authority by convention is the dissolution of Parliament, or proroguing if it’s the end of the session. The sovereign acts on the advice of her ministers.

“We know that breach of conventions are not illegal, but the courts can look at it - which is why it’s so outrageous, morally and constitutionally, when candidates in the Tory leadership election are suggesting they will put our gracious sovereign in a position to prorogue Parliament.

Vaz raised questions about the government’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit, raising a cabinet note which outlined it is “still unprepared for leaving on October 31”. She added Labour will “try again for the good of the country” to block a no-deal after the government defeated the Opposition’s motion to set up a process to enable MPs to take such action.

Change UK leader Anna Soubry asked what the current government could do to prevent a future prime minister proroguing Parliament to pass a no-deal Brexit. She added: “What is the Leader of the House going to do to ensure that Parliament takes control of the process and we don’t leave without a deal at the end of October because of an irresponsible prime minister?”

Stride replied: “The future position of the government, of course, will be determined by a new prime minister, but I feel confident from all that I have heard from those who are putting themselves forward for that position that all of them recognise that a deal is the best way forward.”

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