The EU loyalist Best for Britain group appeared to invoke the fate of the beheaded King Charles I after Queen Elizabeth II agreed to prorogue (temporarily suspend) Parliament for a few weeks before the Brexit deadline.
Following news that the Queen rubber-stamped Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s request to suspend the parliamentary session — the longest-running for almost 400 years — so that his government can bring forward a new legislative programme on October 14th, the George Soros-funded group tweeted that it would “make no sense for the Queen to back this deeply undemocratic, unconstitutional and fundamentally political manoeuvre from the government,” in comments later attributed to its CEO, Naomi Smith.
“If the Queen is asked to help, she would do well to remember history doesn’t look too kindly on royals who aid and abet the suspension of democracy,” the anti-Brexit group added darkly, appearing to allude to the fate of the monarch’s ancestor Charles I, who tried to govern without Parliament and was in the end publicly beheaded.
In fact, it is misleading to suggest the Queen’s decision to approve the Prime Minister’s request for a suspension has involved her in politics in a personal way, any more than the Houses of Parliament involve her in politics when they vote for a law and put it in front of her to receive the Royal Assent.
In theory, the Queen could decline the “advice of her ministers” on Government decisions like whether or not to prorogue, as she could in theory refuse to grant her assent to parliamentary bills — but it is understood that she does not do so by constitutional convention, with her final decision on such matters being essentially ceremonial.
Best for Britain’s assertion that prorogation is “unconstitutional” also seems dubious, as it would not have been approved if if there was no legal basis for it — and the great constitutional jurist A V Dicey was clear that “The House [of Commons] can in accordance with the constitution be deprived of power [when] there is fair reason to suppose that the opinion of the House is not the opinion of the electors” in his seminal Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution.