Boris rides the storm

The inevitable hail of editorial outrage has descended on the head of PM Boris Johnson after yesterday’s Supreme Court decision overturning the Queen’s prorogation of Britain’s Parliament.  He in turn has hastened back from the UN to resume the battle in a reconvened legislature.

The general line is gross-abuse-of-convention-thank-God-for-the-Supreme-Court.  For example, the Financial Times concluded in thunderous tones“The 11 judges unanimously concluded that Mr Johnson’s five-week suspension of parliament was an unlawful attempt to silence MPs, at the very moment the UK, through Brexit, faces the biggest shake-up in its constitutional status for decades. “ Continue reading “Boris rides the storm”

Queen breaks law – but badly advised

In a stunning denoument, Britain’s Supreme Court has ruled that if you want Brexit, you really need to vote for Boris Johnson.

Well, not exactly …  The Court decided – unanimously – that Boris’s advice to the Queen to prorogue Parliament for five weeks was unlawful – and it follows that the Queen’s decision was null and of no effect – in effect Parliament was not prorogued at all. Continue reading “Queen breaks law – but badly advised”

Parliament is sovereign – but that means it has to exercise its sovereignty

As every first year constitutional law student knows, in the Westminster system, Parliament (or the Queen-in-Parliament) is sovereign.

There is no question where responsibility for the UK’s leaving the EU must lie – with Parliament.

So the British Parliament exerted its plenitude of sovereign powers when it installed a government pledged to Brexit following the 2017 general election. And when it passed laws setting a leaving date.  Also when it rejected the EU withdrawal treaty negotiated by former PM Theresa May.  And definitely when it granted supply to the May government and its succeeding Johnson government to keep on trucking.

So what is one to make of Boris Johnson asking the Queen to prorogue Parliament (that is end the Parliamentary session in mid-September and then start a new one after a delay of a month or so – ostensibly to pass his triumphantly-negotiated but highly-unlikely new EU withdrawal agreement). Continue reading “Parliament is sovereign – but that means it has to exercise its sovereignty”

The Ihumatao saga could have a far-reaching impact on NZ politics

Is the government digging itself into a hole as it awaits a solution to the problem of contested land at Ihumatao?

For two days in a row, PM Jacinda Ardern has backed away from questions over a   Crown loan being used to purchase the land where a housing development has been held up because of a long-running protest.

Continue reading “The Ihumatao saga could have a far-reaching impact on NZ politics”

Andrew Little’s priggish rebuke suggests “Fascist” might be an acceptable word when his “hate law” is enacted

Justice Minister Andrew Little sounded distinctly priggish, when he chided National’s Nick Smith in Parliament yesterday.

Smith had asked if Little stood by all his statements, policies, and actions on electoral law and referenda?

The answer was yes, he did.

But Little couldn’t resist the temptation to go further and say:

” … I should point out that the accepted plural of ‘referendum’ these days is ‘referendums’.” 

This was a disquieting reminder that the “accepted” way of saying things could well be incorporated in a new “hate” law which Little seems keen to have enacted to curb our freedom to express ourselves.   Continue reading “Andrew Little’s priggish rebuke suggests “Fascist” might be an acceptable word when his “hate law” is enacted”

Soper throws some light on case of man “in a very dark place” over Parliamentary harassment report

Parliament is the place where laws are made. Justice is dispensed elsewhere, as the bloke stood down from Parliament after publication of the Francis report probably would attest.

Veteran Parliamentary reporter Barry Soper reports that the man

…  was stood down by the closed shop Parliamentary Service last week, which is exempt from the Official Information Act and will not have to release documents over the alleged incident.

The Francis report, dealing with bullying and harassment in Parliament, revealed three serious allegations of sexual harassment. Continue reading “Soper throws some light on case of man “in a very dark place” over Parliamentary harassment report”

It looks like taxpayers (for now) have been spared the air fare to fly Bridges to Washington

Deputy PM Winston Peters, leading off the general debate  in Parliament  this week,  had  some  fun at  the  expense  of  Opposition  Leader  Simon  Bridges.

Predicting the early demise of National’s leader, Peters said Bridges had  cancelled  an overseas  tour.

Just the other day Mr Bridges, who is planned and appointed to go to Washington, which is the annualised tour for the Leader of the Opposition to go to Washington, decided to cancel. Why? Well, he’s too scared that if he’s away—

SPEAKER: Order! Order!

PETERS: Oh, he’s too worried that if he’s away—I can’t challenge his fortitude, but he’s so worried that if he is away, the mice will play. Can I just say this: you know, he should go, because even an inmate deserves a last meal—a last meal. He should go. National is a party of four d’s: distracted, divided, desperate, and divisive. The Government’s a party of four d’s: driven, determined, dynamic, and delightful”. Continue reading “It looks like taxpayers (for now) have been spared the air fare to fly Bridges to Washington”