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Old 07 July 2016, 03:43 PM
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United Kingdom UK Set to Have a Second Woman Prime Minister

Good news: The next prime minister of the UK will be a woman. Bad news: it will be either Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom. They have come out as the top two in the Conservative leadership race. Their names will go on the ballot paper to go to all Conservative members. Whoever becomes the new Conservative party leader will also be Prime Minister. I am not at all happy that our new Prime minister will be chosen by members of just one political party.

May (in the Remain camp, albeit a quiet one) has always been seen on the right of the party. She is currently the Home Secretary and easily won the vote among Tory MPs. Leadsom, a prominent Leave campaigner, and promoted the 'we give the EU £350 million a week' claim (widely criticised as the amount is less than half that). She has really annoyed a lot of people in the EU.

I think May will be the best person to get a good deal for the UK in the exit negotiations, but most Tories voted 'leave' and so Leadsom may be elected. At present Leadsom is not even in the Cabinet and has the support of only a minority of Tory MPs.

Thus we could end up with the unusual position where the leaders of both main parties do not have the support of the majority of the MPs they are leading. Jeremy Corbyn was elected by the Labour membership and few Labour MPs support him. The UK's 'interesting times' are set to become 'more interesting'.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36737426

Last edited by Andrew of Ware; 07 July 2016 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 07 July 2016, 04:02 PM
Dr. Dave Dr. Dave is offline
 
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I have a question that I probably should have put in the Stupid Questions thread, but here goes:

In the UK, what does it take for a voter to be a member of a political party, can he or she change, and if so how quickly? Also, would changing cause some undesired consequence? What I am getting at is, could everyone who wants to go and register now as a Tory so they can participate in this selection, and then register back to their desired party after October? What I mean by unintended consequence is something like would the voter's "real" party lose some standing if they lost registered members?

To give you background to understand why I ask, here in the U.S. the answer is you just check a box on your voter registration application and you can do that up until several weeks before an election in most states. All that party registration generally does (for someone who himself is not running for office) is say which primary election you vote in (in most but not all states) but in the general election you can vote for whomever you want, and you can change back for the next time there is an election if you want.. There is no consequence for the party you "leave" and no consequence for the voter except for getting mailings and calls from the party you switch to.
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Old 07 July 2016, 04:18 PM
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Well to join the Labour Party sufficiently to vote for Corbyn as leader, I just had to pay £3 on-line for membership, give my details and cast a vote.

There are some checks involved on the basis of the information you give, though - I assume that they're checking to make sure you're not already a member of another party, or something like that. And to be honest I'm not even sure whether I even count as a full member of the Labour Party based on that. I get a lot of email from them now, but I was getting a fair amount before that, presumably based on my email address being picked up from petitions or sites I'd visited that identified me as somebody who might vote Labour.

It's predictable that Gove has dropped out. I can't imagine a single person in the country, Conservative or otherwise, Remain or Leave, would have wanted Gove to be Prime Minister except Gove himself and Sarah Vine. Of the others, I'm not sure I'd even heard of Andrea Leadsom before this week. I'd certainly not have been able to tell you who she was. So I also guess it will be Theresa May.

There should definitely be a general election as soon as possible, though. This surely counts as exceptional circumstances. Although under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, that needs either a vote of no confidence, or a resolution to hold an early election, and that might not pass. And I don't know quite who it would help to vote for, either - to have any decent Lefty outcome from Brexit we would need a Labour government with under a leader with similar principles to Corbyn's (or Corbyn himself) but he's not likely to win at the moment, and with Labour being in as much of a mess as the Tories, I don't suppose they'd support an election resolution anyway.
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Old 07 July 2016, 04:25 PM
Dr. Dave Dr. Dave is offline
 
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Another Q- does Cameron's party have a majority of the Parliament or is it a coalition?

ETA: And thanks for the UK Civics lesson!
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Old 07 July 2016, 04:34 PM
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I agree that there should be a General Election. Surely the Fixed Term Parliament Act could be amended so that if there is a change of Prime Minister there should be a general election within a year. I still think it is wrong that 350,000 Conservative members elect the new Prime Minister. What the rules are concerning becoming a Conservative party member. If they are as lax as the Labour Party's then I suspect every dedicated Leave supporter will join so they can vote for Leadsom.

If May becomes the new Prime Minister then there may well be calls from the Leave supporters for a general election, fought on the issue of whether the UK remains in or leaves the EU. In a way this could be like a second referendum. However, all this pre-supposes that Article 50 has not been invoked.
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Old 07 July 2016, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Dave View Post
Another Q- does Cameron's party have a majority of the Parliament or is it a coalition?

ETA: And thanks for the UK Civics lesson!
No, the Conservatives have an outright majority - but only just (16 out of 650 MPs). The vast majority of MPs want to Remain in the EU.

http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-a...f-the-parties/
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Old 07 July 2016, 04:55 PM
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Ok, Andrew, you have now made yourself expert on all things British Parliament. The speaker is not a member of a party, but does count as a member? Does he/she get to vote? How do they choose the speaker? Here, the speaker of the House is the person who gets the most votes, which is usually the leader of the larger party.
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Old 07 July 2016, 04:56 PM
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Can article 50 be invoked without an Act of Parliament? If it's irreversible, then it seems like something a majority of Parliament should have to sign off on. Could it have been invoked at any time on the PM's whim?
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Old 07 July 2016, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dfresh View Post
Ok, Andrew, you have now made yourself expert on all things British Parliament. The speaker is not a member of a party, but does count as a member? Does he/she get to vote? How do they choose the speaker? Here, the speaker of the House is the person who gets the most votes, which is usually the leader of the larger party.
Oh, dear, I would never claim to be an expert on parliamentary matters, but am interested in politics. Yes, the Speaker is a Member of Parliament and he or she was originally an ordinary MP. However, once they become the Speaker they give up all party allegiance and must act impartially. Note that in the page I linked to the Speaker is listed separately. The Speaker conducts the debates and keeps order (or tries to keep order!) in the House of Commons. They do not have a vote, but if the vote is a tie then they have a casting vote. Invariably this will be for the Government (even if they were not originally a member of that Government's party).

After each general election the Speaker has to be re-elected by the MPs. S/he always profess reluctance to be the Speaker and after being re-elected they have to be 'dragged' to sit in the Speaker's chair. If MPs do not like the way the Speaker is performing s/he can be voted out of office (the Speaker then reverts to becoming an ordinary MP).
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Old 07 July 2016, 05:29 PM
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Thank you Andrew.
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Old 07 July 2016, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by NobleHunter View Post
Can article 50 be invoked without an Act of Parliament?
Looks that way:
Quote:
The prime minister can trigger the two-year process of negotiating the UK’s withdrawal from the EU without a vote in parliament, government lawyers have advised.
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/...nt-lawyers-say
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Old 07 July 2016, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by NobleHunter View Post
Can article 50 be invoked without an Act of Parliament? If it's irreversible, then it seems like something a majority of Parliament should have to sign off on. Could it have been invoked at any time on the PM's whim?
Now that is a very interesting question. The usual answer is that it was an Act of parliament that agreed to the Treaty of Lisbon (this treaty has Article 50) and so it must be an Act of parliament that revokes the treaty (by invoking Article 50 - I hope you are following this).

As nearly always the BBC has all you need to know about invoking Article 50.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politic...endum-36639846

I thought this was interesting:

Quote:
In January 2016 the director of Vote Leave, Dominic Cummings, told the Economist magazine the UK would not have to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty immediately after a leave vote and the final terms of Brexit could be put to voters in a second referendum. But the idea of a second referendum has been widely dismissed by politicians so far.
However, Government lawyers have said that the Prime Minister could use Royal Prerogative to trigger Article 50 without a vote in Parliament. I am not sure if this could be contested in the Supreme Court. In any case I am fairly certain that Article 50 will not be invoked until the end of next year, at the earliest. There are national elections in France and Germany next year and the UK will not like to be a part of the way through negotiations and then have new regimes to deal with. After all, there is a two year time bomb ticking once the article is invoked. (If the far right party in France win their election, they are anti-EU, then we could be into some very interesting times.)

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/...nt-lawyers-say

Last edited by Andrew of Ware; 07 July 2016 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 07 July 2016, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by NobleHunter View Post
Can article 50 be invoked without an Act of Parliament?
Apparently it can, although this wasn't official (in the UK) until a day or two ago - I'd seen legal arguments either way. Steve has given references to the decision...

Article 50 itself just says that the process of invoking it has to be constitutional under the constitution of the country concerned. Which is one situation in which the UK's lack of a written constitution becomes a bit of a disadvantage... But I'd imagine the EU would go with the same legal advice that "we" ("the UK") is satisfied with, and so (under current advice) they'd accept an invocation by the Prime Minister without needing a Parliamentary decision to revoke the previous act to join the EU. If not, then it could potentially become very confusing indeed.

It also raises the question of who exactly it is that decides that the UK's legal advice on this matter is good... It certainly isn't up to Oliver Letwin, who's the person quoted in the article Steve linked. Is there the potential for our Prime Minister (whoever that turns out to be) to invoke Article 50 off her own back, but the EU to reject that invocation as unconstitutional under UK law as they understand it? (And is Scottish law the same as English law on this matter?) Again, if so, it could become rather confusing.
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Old 08 July 2016, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
I agree that there should be a General Election. Surely the Fixed Term Parliament Act could be amended so that if there is a change of Prime Minister there should be a general election within a year. I still think it is wrong that 350,000 Conservative members elect the new Prime Minister.
I think you will find that there are actually only about 150,000 members of the Conservative Party (149,800 in Sep 2014).

Joining the Party seems to be a three step online process: https://www.conservatives.com/join. The main page of the Party Website has no reference at all to the reverendum and Britain leaving the EU, by the way - and nothing about choosing a new leader and PM.
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Old 08 July 2016, 07:23 AM
Coughdrops Coughdrops is offline
 
 
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So AoW, is this going to be anything similar to the situation in the US, with two candidates and neither one very well liked beyond their core supporters?
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Old 08 July 2016, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Apparently it can, although this wasn't official (in the UK) until a day or two ago - I'd seen legal arguments either way. Steve has given references to the decision...

Article 50 itself just says that the process of invoking it has to be constitutional under the constitution of the country concerned.
The Treaty of Lisbon was made law in the UK by an Act of Parliament and so it can only be revoked by Act of Parliament. However, under 'exceptional circumstances' (sorry, I can't remember the actual phrase) a Prime Minister can over-ride the authority of Parliament. These circumstances have not been clearly defined, but during a time of war is the usual reason, and I would imagine any use of the powers in this case will be challenged in the courts.

In addition I think it would be very unwise of a Prime Minister to fly in the face of Parliamentary authority by using their special powers in this way. It could be a very rocky road for the PM in Parliament after this.

Quote:
Which is one situation in which the UK's lack of a written constitution becomes a bit of a disadvantage...
Actually the UK does have a written constitution, starting with Magna Carta, passed into law by Act of Parliament in 1297. Since then there have been numerous other Acts of Parliament, in effect 'amendments', such as the Bill of Rights, Test Act, Triennial Act and - most recently - the Fixed Parliament Term act. It is just not in one handy place like other constitutions, but written it is. A lot of Parliamentary procedures are not written down, however.

Quote:
Is there the potential for our Prime Minister (whoever that turns out to be) to invoke Article 50 off her own back, but the EU to reject that invocation as unconstitutional under UK law as they understand it? (And is Scottish law the same as English law on this matter?) Again, if so, it could become rather confusing.
There was an article I heard about, in the Financial Times, I believe, that suggested that devolved Parliaments in each country has to approve things such as invoking Article 50. This would mean the Scottish and Northern Irish Parliaments would have to approve the invocation. Some lawyers have said that the UK Parliament can over-ride any decision in these devolved parliaments if it is something that affects the whole of the UK. I'm glad I do not have to sort out this mess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Enrico View Post
I think you will find that there are actually only about 150,000 members of the Conservative Party (149,800 in Sep 2014).

Joining the Party seems to be a three step online process: https://www.conservatives.com/join. The main page of the Party Website has no reference at all to the reverendum and Britain leaving the EU, by the way - and nothing about choosing a new leader and PM.
I got my figure from an interview with a Conservative party official, so sorry for not checking on the figure. From the link you gave it appears that you can only become a voting member three months after joining. As the election is on 6th September (or thereabouts) then anyone joining now cannot vote in this election. This must be a relief to Theresa May. I can imagine a lot of UKIP members and other extreme right wingers joining the party to vote for Leasdom. This was the problem Labour had. Many extreme left wingers joined - for £3! - and then voted for Corbyn who is now not supported by most Labour MPs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Coughdrops View Post
So AoW, is this going to be anything similar to the situation in the US, with two candidates and neither one very well liked beyond their core supporters?
I think you are probably correct. This is why I think that there should be a general election within a year of a new PM taking office. After all, neither May nor Leasdom has a mandate to govern from the electorate as a whole. It cannot be amended now (Parliament is about to go into summer recess), but I think this is something that should be done in the future.
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Old 11 July 2016, 01:02 PM
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Well Andrea Leadsom has dropped out (apparently because of very negative media coverage from the Conservative press, who all support Theresa May), so Theresa May will be the next PM.

The Labour Party's election co-ordinator has put the party on alert for a general election, but that happened just before Andrea Eagle got enough support to trigger a Labour leadership contest as well, so I doubt either party is now going to want an election until they've sorted out their internal issues...
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Old 11 July 2016, 02:09 PM
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Leadsom was always going to be in trouble after claiming on Friday that being a mother means she would make a better Prime Minister. It was made worse when she said she had been mis-reported - and that didn't look good when The Times released a tape of her saying just what she had denied saying. An apology came yesterday and so I am not surprised at her resignation.

All the latest news here from the BBC

As for Labour triggering a General Election, then this will not happen, as you say, until they get their leadership problems sorted out. Come the autumn, however, I can see Labour putting forward a motion of no confidence in Theresa May. With May being a Remain supporter there might just be enough Leave Conservative MPs to defeat the government. She will probably survive any attempt to unseat her, but will she still call a General Election to get a mandate about her proposals for the UK to exit the EU.
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Old 11 July 2016, 02:52 PM
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The Treaty of Lisbon was made law in the UK by an Act of Parliament and so it can only be revoked by Act of Parliament.
The question is being debated in Parliament as I write. The argument on the other side is that the act to invoke the Referendum itself implicitly gave permission to revoke the previous act in the event of a Leave vote. Jacob Rees Mogg has just argued that it's absurd for Parliament to invoke the Divine Right of Kings when they've been given a mandate by the people of the country... (eta) They've finished now and are talking about medical support to Kurds in Iraq. Hmm, that didn't last long or seem to achieve anything terribly conclusive.

Meanwhile, here's a letter from 1,000 lawyers putting forward the case for an Act of Parliament. I'd have thought that even Leave voters could see that it would be hugely irresponsible to invoke article 50 without these recommendations in place, and to my mind it was pretty stupid even to hold the referendum without some of them:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-a7130226.html

Last edited by Richard W; 11 July 2016 at 02:58 PM. Reason: It was Jacob Rees Mogg, not William, who has been dead since 2012 and probably doesn't take part in Parliamentary debates...
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Old 11 July 2016, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
Leadsom was always going to be in trouble after claiming on Friday that being a mother means she would make a better Prime Minister. It was made worse when she said she had been mis-reported - and that didn't look good when The Times released a tape of her saying just what she had denied saying. An apology came yesterday and so I am not surprised at her resignation.
I don't know anything about Leadsom but one of the criticisms I heard about the vote to leave the EU was that there was a pretty big generational divide in terms of who voted to leave and who voted to stay. It makes sense to me that someone with kids would have much stronger feelings about the consequences of this decision down a longer road. That said this may not have all been what Leadsom meant!
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