Brexit is an unholy mess for Boris but if he were to take advice from downstairs, or Down Under, he might salvage both his reputation and Brexit.
Therefore, I would like to give Prime Minister Boris Johnson some advice. He should follow the strategy of two of his predecessors, Lord Grey (1832) and Herbert Asquith (1911). The strategy was common to both and may be shortly stated.
In 1832, after the Reform Bill was rejected by the House of Lords, Lord Grey advised William IV to create sufficient Peers as to guarantee the bill’s passage through the Parliament. The King let it be known that was his intention and the Lords passed the bill into law.
In 1911, the Parliament Bill which deprived the Lords of its absolute power to reject legislation had been rejected by the Lords reflecting the view of Edward VII that the bill was an attack on the Peers. Edward died and his brother George V was advised to create sufficient peers as to guarantee the bills passage. When the Lords became aware of this, they passed the Parliament Act into law.
Boris Johnson must obtain control of the legislative process. If he cannot control the process in the Commons, then he must do so in the Lords.
To exercise that control, he needs to advise Her Majesty to exercise her prerogative and create sufficient Brexit peers to prevent the Remainer dominated Commons, which he does not control, from changing the law with amendments as it suits them. But Boris should do it now and create the peers. Tomorrow would be far too late.
Go to it Boris. Such an exercise of the prerogative would prevent any future Remainer government from changing the Brexit arrangements. And it would wipe the smirk from Commons Speaker John Bercow’s face once and for all.
David Long is a retired solicitor, economist and PhD candidate at Griffith University School of Law.
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