Should The F T P A Be Scrapped?

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ToraToraTora | 08:21 Wed 16th Sep 2020 | News
18 Answers
It was only a sop to the Lib Non Dems anyway, put it back as it was.


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On reflection, probably not. Maybe tweak it a bit if necessary otherwise I think a full term is a good thing.
Yes it would not have been thought of but for Mr Clegg's demands in exchange for looking after the spare keys to No.10. He knew that without the Act they may have been swiftly removed from his pocket.
TRue about Cleggy, but is it a good or bad thing?
//TRue about Cleggy, but is it a good or bad thing?//

Judging by what happened last year, where Parliament ended up powerless to do just about anything, I think the FTPA is not particularly good for the country. Apart from that, since its introduction it has only succeeded in its aim once (2010-2015) and there have been two General Elections since (2017 and 2019) where Parliament has not run its "fixed" term.

Whether you agree or not with the actions the government and Parliament has taken since the GE last year, it did at least unblock the drain and allow Parliament to crack on with its business. Had the Act not contained the provisions it does for the fixed term to be breached I think a very different scenario would have played out. It could be argued that since it is comparatively easy to circumvent its provisions it is of little use anyway.
A definite yes. The monarch should be free to dissolve parliament at any time on the advice of the PM. We saw first hand last year the damage the Act caused, leading to paralysis of government.
Agreed that the FTPA in its current form is more or less useless, but presumably there is some sense in taking power away from the incumbent and creating a more fixed cycle. The 2019 drama was, granted, pretty bad, although it could be said that the Government created its own problems, for example by calling the 2017 election on dubious grounds that ended up backfiring.

One solution might be to mandate elections every five years, except if there is some kind of automatic trigger related to the Government losing its majority -- say, by making a No Confidence vote a matter of routine, running monthly or whatever. I was going to go into details about how this might work, but there's perhaps no point, because the general principle that all legislation is equal means that a Government could just introduce an Early Election Bill whenever it likes anyway. In that case the only real solution is to define a formal constitution, governing election rules at least, that Parliament cannot change on a whim.

It was idiotic to introduce it in the first place. We saw how an antidemocratic opposition, especially if the governing party has members with antidemocratic sympathies, can make governing, as it should be, utterly impossible. A reset option is always vital. Otherwise one gets years of impotent parliament and consequential stagnation, or worse inflicted on the people, who are powerless to fix it.
I love the way that OG implies that having an opposition is undemocratic! Single party state for you OG?
There was no implication of the sort. More likely you inferring it.
You will have witnessed the debacle led by the opposition when Boris was selected, I'm sure.
Whatever one makes of the drama of 2019, it's important I think to decouple the FTPA from all of that. What's more important is the answer to the question "Should the timing of the election be (mostly) up to the Prime Minister, or should it be essentially fixed?" In most countries, after all, elections do run on a fixed cycle, and if there is somehow difficulty in governing then the parties involved are expected to come together and work it out in the first instance, and only if Government totally collapses might an early election be called for. An intransigent opposition can't be an excuse -- because, after all, what is the Opposition for if not to make the Government work as hard as possible to justify and implement its policies? Even if they had to give way on Brexit in the end, the details were still important; it can hardly be sensible to claim that anything that had "BREXIT" as the title was therefore totally fine no matter what it contained underneath (and, of course, we are discovering even now that Johnson appears to regret the deal he reached...)

I don't want to go too far down the rabbit hole of exploring Brexit again, though. In any case, even if OG's analysis is right, it still doesn't mean that Johnson should have had the sole and unmitigated power to call an election. That's why the FTPA handed the power in the first instance to Parliament as a whole, by either passing an "early election" motion, or by defeating the Government in a No Confidence vote.

The PM is appointed on the understanding that he can command a majority in parliament and pass the necessary legislation. Should he no longer be able to do so then he has the choice of resigning and allowing someone else to try, or ask for parliament to be dissolved. That's how it always has been until the Lib-non-Dems threw a spanner in the works.
// Should he no longer be able to do so then he has the choice of resigning and allowing someone else to try, or ask for parliament to be dissolved.//

Of course, but then the FTPA didn't undermine this at all, so I'm not sure why you think that it "threw a spanner in the works".
Yes, but he used to ask the Queen, who would never refuse, not parliament.
I am not sure about the "forcing opposition to work together" thing. In the US it has got so far down to the wire when the pres has threatened not to sign the budget into law that federal services have begun shutdown.
Yes, but that's a breakdown of a different sort. The idea of having Senate, House and President all electing members on different cycles seems to have backfired spectacularly if they refuse to work with each other, especially when all three are (more or less) equal in status but elected separately.
I suppose the difference, JD, is that the PM would ask the Monarch when it suited them, rather than just when they were forced to. I don't think it hurts to remove the first part, although I'd agree with the idea of ensuring that the second is preserved.

But all of this is moot anyway. As long as Parliament has the power to set its own rules whenever it likes, and then has the equal power in future to rewrite those rules just as easily, the FTPA is not really a barrier to anything.
The biggest problem we have, is that everything is short-term and politicians will only look as far as votes.
We could do with a cross-party long-term view as well... for immigration, building, preschools, environment, economy, homeless, and so on and so on... not everything can be both fixed and voteworthy within the next 5 years. Somebody needs to look ahead, at some point.

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