Her Majesty & Brexit

BY JAMIE FOSTER

The Brexit row involving Dominic Grieve and others may risk dragging the Queen in to politics. Parliamentarians have a sacred duty not to involve the monarch in politics but Brexit is risking breaching that duty. This is due to the fact that the government and the Commons are being brought into conflict about how the legislation is to be considered. In this situation the question of Royal Assent will become a live question. Government advice to the monarch is likely to be not to give assent to legislation arising out of the new procedure that Dominic Grieve’s amendment leads to. How is the Queen to react to advice not to give royal assent to a piece of legislation? It is a terrible position for her to be put in.

The trouble with messing with centuries of precedent is that things have worked in the way that they have for a reason. Parliament is conducted in a certain way in order to discharge the many duties incumbent on parliamentarians. By trying to change things the safeguards are removed and duties are breached instead of being discharged.

Grieve and the other Remainers may think they are being very clever in their attempt to thwart Brexit but they are putting the Queen in an intolerable position. It is unthinkably awful that the monarch should be called upon to referee between her government and her parliament. This is the type of situation that arises when MPs try to change the effect of things they don’t agree with by the back door.

MPs are twisting themselves in knots trying to avoid a no deal Brexit while a no deal Brexit is becoming more and more inevitable. Looking at the deal that is on the table it is not surprising that a no deal Brexit would be preferable. Mrs May’s deal locks us into an unknown relationship with the EU while removing the tools to set ourselves free. In many ways it is worse than EU membership. A no deal allows us to determine the relationship we want with the EU over time.

In coming whether to decide to give Royal Assent to individual pieces of legislation the Queen would have in mind that the people have made their wishes on Brexit clear in a referendum. She would bear in mind whether the legislation had the effect of putting the people’s will into action or not. This is something that politicians should have borne in mind before voting on a piece of legislation. This balancing act should not be left to the monarch in coming to give Royal Assent to a piece of legislation.

It has not been a bright moment in history for our parliamentarians who have not shown themselves to be up to the task of Brexit. There has not been a keen guiding light emerging to show the way. Just a lot of squabbling individuals caught up in their own view of where we should be going. Dominic Grieve talks about doing the right thing but in reality he is doing the egotistical thing, prioritising his own view over that of the people.

As the Queen soldiers on towards her hundredth year the last thing she needs is Remainers dragging her into the mire of politics. She has done enough for this country to avoid being pulled into political squabbles that politicians should be able to resolve for themselves. It is time that our politicians had a word with themselves and sorted out what they are doing. To be fair they have not been helped by the way that the government has approached the negotiations for a deal. It could have had this process of reaching out to garner views across the House at the beginning rather than at the end of negotiations. As ever Theresa May has shown herself incapable of listening or of reaching out to those who don’t hold her views. It is a real shame that she became leader of the Tory party as a different person at the helm could have led to a different result at this stage.

In the end the time has come for politicians to have a good long look at what they are doing and to back off where what they are doing threatens the fabric of our democracy. It is time Dominic Grieve and others developed a rounded social conscience and recognised the effect of their actions on the parliamentary process and held off from the excesses of their plans for the greater good. Sometimes the right thing to do is nothing, and this is one of those times.

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