Skip to main content

Proroguing Parliament

Volume 666: debated on Monday 14 October 2019

The petition of Residents of York,

Declares their deep concern over the proroguing of Parliament, not least during the crucial time of determining the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union; further that we believe that our democratically elected Parliament must have the right to set and thereby scrutinise the Government over the determinations that it is making over our future, in order to resolve democratically how it should proceed since we believe that the UK Parliament was elected by the people to serve the people.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government not to prorogue Parliament and that Parliament sits, debates and scrutinises the Government until a final agreement is made on how to proceed with our relationship with the EU, and that this is concluded democratically.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Rachael Maskell , Official Report, 9 September 2019; Vol. 664, c. 5P.]


Observations from the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Kevin Foster):

Prorogation is a prerogative Act of the Crown, exercised on the advice of Ministers, to bring about the end of the parliamentary Session. The royal prerogative is the term used to describe the powers held by Government Ministers, either in their own right, or through the advice they provide to the Queen. The Government determine the length of a parliamentary Session and advises the Queen on the date for the beginning of the next parliamentary Session.

The beginning of the next Session is marked by the State Opening of Parliament during which the Queen delivers the Queen’s Speech. The Queen’s Speech sets out the programme of legislation the Government intend to pursue in the forthcoming parliamentary session.

In regards to the Prorogation, at all times the Government acted in good faith and in the belief it's approach was both lawful and constitutional. These are complex matters on which senior and distinguished lawyers have disagreed. The Divisional Court led by the Lord Chief Justice agreed unanimously, as did the Outer House in Scotland.

We were disappointed that in the end the Supreme Court took a different view, but we respect the judgment of the Court.

As the Government have made clear on many occasions, this has been the longest parliamentary Session for almost 400 years, but in recent months it has been one of the least productive. This Government want to put before MPs a proper legislative programme, focusing on helping the NHS, fighting violent crime, investing in infrastructure and science, and cutting the cost of living. This is why the Prime Minister has requested of Her Majesty the Queen that the current parliamentary Session be brought to an end on Tuesday 8 October. The second Session of this Parliament is due to commence with a Queen’s Speech on Monday 14 October.