We haven’t really talked about this much here, but ICYMI, there’s a new Prime Minister. Boris Johnson replaced former PM Theresa May last month, and was officially received and asked to form a government by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace shortly before she left for Balmoral.
Now the big news is that Johnson ordered Parliament prorogued from Thursday, September 12 to Wednesday, October 14, curtailing the amount of time MPs have to debate a potential no-deal departure from the European Union ahead of the October 31st Brexit deadline.
The Queen consented to the suspension, but it’s worth underlining that she did so at the request of the government. This wasn’t her decision and it would have been highly unusual for her to flout her minister’s recommendations…unusual to the point of unheard of. That’s worth bearing in mind if and when you see headlines blaring that the Queen prorogued Parliament; she’s not Charles I.
Royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell told the BBC:
“The Queen has never during her reign refused to accept the advice of her ministers. She is a monarch guided by precedent. Therefore she will have felt pretty boxed in – that she had no option.
“She and her advisors, I have little doubt, will be frankly resentful of the way this has been done and will be concerned at the headlines which say ‘Queen suspends Parliament.’
“Well, she has done so on the advice of ministers. For 67 years, for all she has kept out of politics, she has kept a very shrewd eye on politics. She will be very concerned on the way the United Kingdom will see itself, and the way the United Kingdom will be seen internationally.”
Assuming there’s no change in plan, the Queen will address Parliament when it re-convenes on October 14th, a tradition that amounts to the Queen reading a government-prepared script that lays out their agenda for the next year. In theory this happens annually, but the Queen’s last speech was actually in 2017.