, 9 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
If we're to pull anything from the wreckage of this Parliament, we need to restore the convention that govts resign when they cannot carry their major legislation. It's one of those rare policies that's good for Parliament, good for the executive and good for democracy. [THREAD]
2. It's good news for the Executive, because it raises the stakes for MPs like Boris Johnson, whose ambitions loom larger than their principles. It concentrates the minds of rebel MPs, who must decide whether they are willing to collapse their own government by voting against it.
3. It's good for Parliament, because it stops a government from simply ignoring MPs' decisions. It protects them from the kind of manoeuvre that Theresa May has tried to use against them: letting the doomsday clock run down to midnight, in order to crank up the pressure on MPs.
4. From a constitutional perspective, it upholds the principle on which our entire governing system depends: that governments must command the confidence of the House of Commons. That precludes the kind of gridlock that has paralysed our constitution in recent months.
5. Crucially, it offers a safety-valve against the most dangerous trend in our politics: the portrayal of MPs as the "enemies of the people". It would compel May to test the claim in her Downing Street broadcast: that Parliament was frustrating the will of the people.
6. Above all, it's good for democracy. In a hung Parliament, in which no party has a majority, it compels governments to work with other parties - and to consider other opinions than its own. Or if it thinks they are being unreasonable, to put its case to the electorate.
7. If one proposal fails, it clears the way for others to be considered - not through "indicative votes" on abstract principles, but by compelling a new government to *take responsibility* for negotiating something different. That exposes (and so discourages) fantastical options.
8. Had this rule been applied in December, one of three things would have changed after May's defeat: either the policy, the government, or the Commons (in a general election). We would not have been stuck in the politics of the undead, with a policy that can neither live nor die
9. In recent years, governments have approached the constitution like the dodgy builder in Fawlty Towers: knocking down a wall here, putting a door there, until the hotel nearly collapses around them. Structures are there for a reason. It's time to put this one back. [ENDS]
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