What was the point?

Parliament will be prorogued later today. It has been sitting since the court judgement – that is during the latter half of the Labour conference week, when it would normally have been recessed, during the whole of the Tory conference week, when it would normally have been recessed, and during yesterday and today, when it could normally have been prorogued.

What exactly has parliament achieved with this extra time? I know of no act passed. What was the point? (This is a real question, not just rhetorical. By all means inform me in the comments if you can answer it.)

It was claimed to be essential that parliament perform its functions during this time. What essential thing(s) did it do?

Updated: 8th October 2019 — 4:46 pm


  1. The point was to get out some bad headlines about Boris. Possibly a handful of fence-sitters were swayed either way. It seems like the real damaging thing (the Benn act) was done before the prorogation anyway.

    Then again, like a lot of remainer actions, the Benn Act may eventually help us by ensuring no deal.

  2. As far as I can tell, and I’m no expert, it did nothing substantial. Approved a handful of SIs. Wittered on about domestic violence, or some similar high matters of state.

    I’ve been reading Hansard since the judgement: it’s quite illuminating, particularly when you then compare it with later coverage from Reuters or (spit) the BBC. Gives a more realistic picture of the arguments being made, good and bad. Some MPs come across as complete cretins, but maybe that’s because their party platform is embarrassingly threadbare.

  3. And just to underline the original point, from Hansard just now:

    Martin Vickers
    Following the ruling of the Supreme Court, Parliament returned early from Prorogation, and we have spent a fortnight now in effect going through action replays of what has already taken place. Has any assessment been made of the cost to the taxpayer of Parliament being here and serving no useful purpose?

    Madam Deputy Speaker
    I thank the hon. Gentleman for that point of order. Perhaps I should point out, however, that I am sure we would all agree that the debates that take place in our Parliament are always worth while, that the debates over the past few weeks were conducted in the proper fashion on excellent subjects and that all Members who spoke made marvellous contributions. We should now move on to the general debate on baby loss awareness.

  4. That statement from the Deputy Speaker, no less, was so ridiculous I was forced to wonder if it could be really be true. It really could.

  5. We are ruled by actors. They acquired their positions by posturing. Naturally they think that performance art is all important.

  6. The point is that a second 11 of extras from Iolanthe could show us how self-important they were and poke their noses into a matter outwith their competence (in all senses). If they trash the 1689 Bill of Rights, then they should expect the kind of uncertainty that hung over 17th-century judicial appointments to be visited on them.

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