Boris Johnson ‘planning to tell Queen she can’t sack him’ if he loses no confidence vote
Boris Johnson will reportedly tell the Queen she cannot sack him in the event of MPs voting to oust him in a vote of no confidence.
The Prime Minister’s senior aides ares said to be drawing up legal advice for Her Majesty that is designed to keep Mr Johnson in place so he can take Britain out of the EU on 31 October, according to The Sun.
The paper claims Number 10 is using the Lascelles Principles, a set of 70-year-old rules that states the monarch must follow her Prime Minister’s advice.
A source said: “Boris won’t resign even if he loses a no confidence vote, and it is not within the sovereign’s constitutional powers to make him.”
They added: “The PM will advise the Queen of that and she must follow her Prime Minister’s advice. That’s how this country works.”
The move would risk bringing the Queen, who traditionally remains politically neutral, deeper into the Brexit crisis.
However, there is uncertainty over whether Mr Johnson could actually enact the Lascelles Principles, with some arguing that they are only designed to allow a monarch to refuse to call a general election.
Others suggest the Fixed Term Parliament Act meant the principles were essentially abandoned and that the Queen is still within her rights to sack a PM if they do not enjoy the confidence of the Commons.
Labour peer and barrister Lord Falconer said of the plan: “One of the conditions in the Lascelles Principles for refusing a dissolution was Monarch could rely on finding another Prime Minister who could carry on Government, for a reasonable period, with a working majority in the House of Commons.”
if in connection with a vote of no confidence an alternative PM, who commanded a cross party majority to deliver a specified programme was identified the Lascelles Principle would be satisfied.
— Charlie Falconer (@LordCFalconer) October 8, 2019
The Lascelles stuff is utter nonsense – it can’t be used to keep Johnson. But what it is – is a propaganda war by No 10 against the Palace – and a threat to the #Queen that they will spin against her, so she should fall into line.
— Prof Kate Williams (@KateWilliamsme) October 8, 2019
A) Lascelles was about protecting a functioning Parliament from dissolution, not the PM who is only PM because they have conf of MPs
B) It was effectively abandoned in 2011 with FTPA anyway
C) Queen has right to dismiss PM if they don’t enjoy conf of Commons
Apart from that 👌 https://t.co/M5TZMJC92V
— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) October 8, 2019
I'm afraid this is nonsense. The Lascelles Principles empowered the monarch to refuse to call an election, not the prime minister to refuse to be sacked. They are now in abeyance because of the Fixed Term Parliament Act. https://t.co/N1kJYwnfQG
— (((🕷Frances Coppola))) (@Frances_Coppola) October 9, 2019
He added: “If there is no alternative PM who could command a majority after Boris Johnson loses a vote of no confidence then there will be nobody for who HMQ can send to form a govt.
“But if there is such an alternative, then Boris Johnson will have to vacate Downing Street.”
Royal historian Kate Williams also dismissed the plans, tweeting: “The Lascelles stuff is utter nonsense – it can’t be used to keep Johnson. But what it is – is a propaganda war by No 10 against the Palace – and a threat to the Queen that they will spin against her, so she should fall into line.”
Opposition MPs have still yet to make their move against Mr Johnson, fearing they do not have the numbers – or a credible caretaker PM to take over.
Ordinarily the leader of the opposition would be the automatic choice but Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said she could not support Jeremy Corbyn becoming temporary Prime Minister.