Prorogation will establish ‘dangerous precedent’, legal academics warn

Prorogation will establish 'dangerous precedent', legal academics warn

The planned five-week prorogation of Parliament will establish a “dangerous precedent” and undermine the “integrity” of the British constitution, a group of legal academics has warned.

In a letter to The Times, the group – which includes Professor Michel Keating of the University of Aberdeen and Professor Nicola McEwen of the University of Edinburgh, both co-directors of the Centre on Constitutional Change – said the prorogation is “far from normal”.

The suspension of Parliament would be “the longest since 1930”, they warned, and is “clearly designed to evade scrutiny, including legislation, and even a potential no-confidence vote”, which “sits badly with the core principle in our democracy of government accountability to parliament”.

The letter has been signed by a total of 21 academics from leading universities and research institutions, including OxfordCambridge and UCL.

It ends: “The UK constitution depends not just on law but on conventions and precedents. If key players reject the accepted norms they undermine the integrity of the system. This sets dangerous precedents, both for the UK and other countries that look to us for democratic inspiration.

“This improper prorogation should hence not proceed. MPs may seek to block it, and so may the courts. The preferable route would be for the government to recognise its mistake and reverse it.”

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