Tory Remainers have sketched out an extraordinary plot to embroil the Queen in their efforts to thwart Brexit, by having her travel to the next EU summit and plead for it to be delayed.
As a constitutional monarch, Queen Elizabeth II has been an almost entirely apolitical figure throughout her 67-year reign, offering little indication of her personal views and never exercising her theoretical powers to veto legislation, in her parliamentary capacity, or to dispense with government ministers, in her executive capacity.
Instead, the 93-year-old monarch has always performed her state functions either “on the advice of her ministers” or in accordance with long-standing conventions — the better to serve as a bipartisan representative for the whole nation and, according to some interpretations of the constitution, as a personal embodiment of the people’s sovereignty in the abstract.
This could all change, with a plot by anti-Brexit MPs to use an arcane “humble address” parliamentary procedure to request she travels in person to the next European Union summit in her capacity as Head of State and requests a further delay to Brexit, should the next prime minister attempt to take Britain out of the EU on No Deal terms.
Daft: "the [humble] address would say that if the new prime minister ignored a vote rejecting no deal the Queen would be asked to exercise her right as head of state to travel to the next EU summit. Under their plan she would then request an extension to the Article 50 process." https://t.co/bGyD1OS4T3
— Steve Baker MP (@SteveBakerHW) July 19, 2019
Parliament already authorised Brexit with the passage of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act of 2018, with over 80 per cent of Members of the House of Commons having been elected on manifestos promising to deliver on the 2016 vote to Leave the European Union in the 2017 snap election.
Most parliamentarians are former Remain voters, however, and until now they have been able to successfully put off exit day — orginally scheduled for March 29th 2019 — with the connivance of Prime Minister Theresa May’s government.
Hardline Remainers now fear that Mrs May’s likely successor, former Vote Leave frontman Boris Johnson, will be able to stop MPs from blocking a No Deal exit from the EU by exercising his constitutional power to advise the Queen to prorogue — i.e. temporarily suspend — the parliamentary session, and simply wait for the EU Withdrawal Act to come into force on the latest exit day of October 31st.
Corbyn’s Brother Shares Petition Calling for Queen to Save Brexit by Suspending Parliament https://t.co/XGWxhBkfPZ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 20, 2019
“One option [to stop a No Deal Brexit] is a humble address to Her Majesty,” a senior Tory Remainer told the BBC.
“You would ask humbly that Her Majesty requests an extension to Article 50. If that went through that would be seen as an instruction to her first minister. But what if the new prime minister refused to enact the humble address?” they asked rhetorically.
“Under EU law only two representatives of a member-state can attend and negotiate on behalf of a member state at the European Council: head of government or head of state. So we could simply request that the Queen goes and submits the request for the extension.”
Such a move would put the Queen in an essentially unprecedented postion if it was carried through, with the monarch potentially in a situation where she was issued with clashing “instructions” from Government and Parliament.
Some argue that the situation is already unprecedented, however, with anti-Brexit MPs acting in defiance of the 2016 referendum and, for the most part, their own 2017 general election mandates — and that the Queen should exercise her latent powers to ensure Brexit goes through in accordance with the principles laid down in Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England in the 1700s.
Remain MPs want to force our 93 year old Queen to go to Brussels on her hands and knees and beg the #EU for an extension.
— Alliance of British Entrepreneurs (@AllianceBE) July 19, 2019
The plot to have the elderly monarch personally plead for another Brexit delay was met with shock by Brexit supporters, with Tory MP and former Brexit minister Steve Baker branding it “daft”, and the grassroots Alliance of British Entrepreneurs, which represents a number of Brexit-supporting small businesses, saying it was “Absolutely disgusting” that “Remain MPs want to force our 93-year-old Queen to go to Brussels on her hands and knees and beg the EU for an extension.”