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'Can Parliament Stop a No Deal Brexit?' Professor Gavin Phillipson speaks in Westminster

Press release issued: 24 June 2019

The Law School's Professor Gavin Phillipson was one of the speakers at a meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Rule of Law in Westminster earlier this month, addressing the question as to whether Parliament has the power to stop a No Deal Brexit.

Alongside Dr Hannah White of the Institute for Government and Martyn Atkins, Senior Clerk of the Commons, Professor Gavin Phillipson was one of three speakers at the meeting in Westminster on 10 June 2019, chaired by the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve MP, addressing the question 'Can Parliament Stop a No Deal Brexit'?

The meeting discussed the possible prorogation of Parliament; whether legislation to require the Prime Minister to seek an extension to the Article 50 deadline would work with a PM who actually wanted a no deal exit; and possible routes to a General Election.

Professor Phillipson argued strongly that, given prorogation is a reserve power of the Crown, the Queen was not invariably obliged to exercise it on request, if it was clear it was being misused in an attempt to prevent Parliament carrying out its constitutional role.

He also pointed out that if it seemed likely the new Conservative party leader, when appointed PM, would be immediately defeated in a vote of no confidence, an alternative would be to delay their appointment and for Theresa May to instead ask the Commons to agree to an early General Election under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. This would avoid the new leader losing such a vote; they could instead take over at the start of the subsequent election campaign.

Commenting on the meeting, Professor Phillipson said “the discussion was lively and intense; this is one of the biggest challenges Parliament has faced since the war.”

Further information

Professor Gavin Phillipson joined the University of Bristol Law School in January 2019 as Professor of Public Law and Human Rights, and is also a qualified solicitor. His research interests lie in the fields of public law, particularly areas of European and UK human rights law, and the interface of those fields with public law and constitutional and political theory. He has published widely in these areas in top UK, US, Australian and Canadian journals, given evidence to several parliamentary committees and recently completed an Academic Parliamentary Fellowship, working in the House of Commons Library, assisting it with its work in briefing MPs on Parliament’s role in implementing Brexit.

For further information about legal news, events and research related to Brexit please visit the Law School’s Brexit Centre website.

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