Why The Attorney General is Right, Parliament is Dead

Why it’s clear we urgently need consensus politics

Darren Matthews
Sep 27 · 4 min read

Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, raised the temperature considerably in parliament by calling it dead. His brash approach poured scorn on the opposition parties for resisting the call to vote for a general election.

But, despite the uproar, the attorney general is right to call it a dead parliament. The only thing of consequence that can happen is that a vote of no confidence or a general election is approved.

So, given the minority government, why is parliament still sitting? Why is it a dead parliament?

A Lack of trust

The crux of this issue boils down to one of trust and Brexit.

As it stands, the UK will leave the EU on the 31st of October. But without a deal in place, the Prime Minister will have to implement the so-called ‘Benn Act’.

The Benn Act makes it legally binding that the Prime Minister must request an extension in the event of there being no agreement on leaving after the EU conference on the 19th October.

Despite the Prime Minister’s bluster, there seems little sign of anything like a deal falling into place, meaning an extension will have to be requested.

But still the PM says we will leave on the 31st October.

It is this statement that keeps MP’s in a state of mistrust with the Prime Minister. It is this lack of trust that is stopping opposition parties from calling and easily winning a vote of no confidence. Thus, forcing a general election. Until that happens, parliament is as good as dead…

Consensus Politics

There is an overriding need for some leadership to resolve the issue of the dead parliament and tackling Brexit.

For me, what we are lacking is a consensus to work together. We are a democracy, where consensus is supposed to sit at its heart. It is a methodology for getting things done in politics.

Views and opinions are so polarised right now that it seems politicians can’t see the wood from the trees. We don’t need opinions; we need solutions. We need a consensus to break this dead parliament.

Boris Johnson’s determination to leave the EU on the 31st of October has become a red line. The infamous red lines that locked Theresa May into a negotiation position she couldn’t move from.

Boris finds himself in the same position, his determination to show everyone he wants to leave the EU all part of his madman theory. This might be all part of his game theory plan but at what cost?

The cost is the potential destruction of democracy in this country.

The public is fed up with it. The anger in Parliament will seep out into the public if we are not careful. Leaders on all sides of this argument need to stand back and see the bigger picture.

How do we get a consensus to break the deadlock of a dead Parliament?

agreement or consensus in parliament
agreement or consensus in parliament
Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

As I said earlier, this comes back to leadership. Parliament has done everything it can to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

MP’s are not privy to the game that Boris is trying to play. But given the high stakes of a no-deal Brexit, should we be using it as leverage to force a concession from the EU?

For me, this is on Boris to accept that the only way to move this forward is to facilitate a general election. He needs parliamentary support for this, so he has to give MP’s what they want. Write to the EU now and request an extension based on a general election.

Boris might argue that he will have to lose face so to speak, but who becomes the bigger person. The Prime Minister might just have taken the high ground for once.

Take the argument to the polls and let the people decide. If Boris is for the people, then he will get the legal mandate with a majority government to do what he wants.

Then we see the end of this dead parliament and a way forward to resolving the Brexit situation.

The answer has to be consensus politics…

UK Politics Today

The Place for UK Politics

Darren Matthews

Written by

I’m a passionate writer who normally finds angst within the world of leadership and strategy. All framed within subjects such as business, politics and writing.

UK Politics Today

The Place for UK Politics

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade