Today the government are set to proceed with the five week prorogation of Parliament after MPs are asked to vote, once again, on an early General Election motion under the Fixed Term Parliament Act (FTPA). However, prior to this the Speaker will hear two applications for SO24 debates, the mechanism used by opposition MPs to take control of the order paper last week.
I have supported an SO24 motion, submitted by Dominic Grieve, to force the publication of both Operation Yellowhammer documents and private No 10 prorogation correspondence. The motion, which can be seen in full here, requests all correspondence “whether formal or informal, in both written and electronic form, including but not limited to messaging services including WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Facebook messenger, private email accounts both encrypted and unencrypted, text messaging, iMessage and the use of both official and personal mobile phones.” If the motion is passed, the government will have to release all documentation “no later than 11.00pm Wednesday 11 of September.”
The second SO24 motion has been put forward by the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, and relates to complying with the rule of law. The wording of the motion can be seen below:
“That this house welcomes the completion of all parliamentary stages of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No.6) Bill and has considered the matter of the importance of the rule of law and Ministers obligation to comply with the law.”
As mentioned above, The Government are once again bringing forward a motion for an early General Election. As I discussed in my previous update, I and the majority of the opposition, were not prepared to be lured into a vote for a General Election when the purpose is to facilitate a No Deal Brexit; this remains our position.
Following its approval in the House of Commons last week, The European (Withdrawal) (No.6) Bill passed through the Lords and returned to the house today, with no amendments. This means the Bill is set to receive Royal Assent before Parliament is prorogued; you can read further information on the bill here.
On Monday 9 September, MPs once again voted against a snap General Election. For the reasons outlined above, I too voted against the Prime Minister’s motion for an early General Election because its real purpose, to facilitate a “No-Deal” Brexit, was clear for all to see. Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, the Prime Minister would have required two thirds of MPs to vote in favour of the Motion. He received just 293, far fewer than the 434 needed.
The Emergency debate led by Dominic Grieve, which demanded the government release both the “Operation Yellowhammer” documents and No.10 correspondence regarding prorogation, passed by 311 to 302. The Government responded to this by saying they would “consider the implications and respond in due course.”
Following these votes, Parliament was officially prorogued until the 14th of October. However, as I write this on the 11th of September, the Court of Session in Scotland has ruled that the Prime Minister’s prorogation of parliament was unlawful. You may recall that my name was on this case. The Government are unsurprisingly appealing and the case will now be heard by the Supreme Court on Tuesday 17th September. Please click here to find out more.