Alternative ways to break Brexit impasse

With Parliament seemingly deadlocked over the best way forward on Brexit and Theresa May’s deal widely expected to be voted down, no one really knows what is going to happen next.

We already know what the likely scenarios are. You can read about them here.

But what about the unlikely ones? Anything seems possible at the moment so it would be unwise to rule any of these out entirely.

The Queen intervenes

Image copyright Reuters

With no apparent parliamentary majority for any one course of action – is it time to get the Queen involved?

In Britain’s constitutional monarchy, this is not meant to happen. Her Majesty has always remained above the political fray and will, no doubt, want to stay that way.

But she is the only person who can invite someone to form a government and become prime minister.

This has led to speculation that should Theresa May’s deal, as expected, be rejected by MPs and no clear way forward emerges, the monarch could step in.

She would not be allowed to exercise her own political judgement.

Convention dictates that the monarch, as head of state, must appoint the leader of the party that can command a majority in the House of Commons. It would be up to the politicians to decide that.

Interestingly, two advocates of this option are both Republicans, who would like to see the end of the monarchy.

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Labour could be asked to form a minority government without an election, if Mrs May’s administration falls apart.

“If it’s a minority government and they can’t obtain a majority in Parliament, usually it’s then the right, the duty of the monarch to offer to the opposition the opportunity to form a government.

“I think we can secure a majority in Parliament for some of the proposals we’re putting forward.”

Former Respect and Labour MP George Galloway suggested on Talk Radio that the country would be plunged into “political stasis” if MPs reject the deal on offer.

“There are several ways that stasis could be broken. The best one by far is for Her Majesty to decide that only the country itself can rule on where Britain goes next. General election now, that is what I say, that is what I hope she will say.”

However, under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, the monarch lost the power to dissolve Parliament. She retains no residual powers in relation to dissolution.

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