Oh, the growlings and the howlings now that Boris Johnson – for which read Dominic Cummings – has asked the Queen to suspend Parliament.
Bercow: “I have had no contact from the Government, but if the reports that it is seeking to prorogue Parliament are confirmed, this move represents a constitutional outrage.”
Corbyn: “…an outrage and a threat to our democracy”.
Sturgeon: “This simply cannot be allowed to happen.”
Tory chairman James Cleverly blandly says that it is merely that the Government seeks “to hold a Queen’s Speech, just as all new Governments do”, but is not fooling anyone and does not seem greatly troubled by that.
It is an audacious move, and it is indeed constitutionally unprecedented. But that’s the thing about breaking precedent; once broken it stays broken. Oliver Letwin, Dominic Grieve, Yvette Cooper, Hilary Benn and Nick Boles were all happy to dispense with Parliamentary precedent in March. Bercow smirked while he betrayed his office to let them do it. Many warned them at the time that what they had done their opponents could also do. They went ahead anyway. And now they find themselves in the position described in a famous quote from A Man for all Seasons, that of having cut a great road through the law to get at the devil only to find that the devil has turned round on them and there is nowhere to hide, the laws all being flat.