Err, no.

No, you don’t get to do this:

David Cameron will face calls to take the unprecedented step in modern peacetime of postponing next year’s UK general election by 12 months in the event of a vote for Scottish independence to avoid the prospect of a Labour government that would depend on Scottish MPs.

Amid warnings of a “constitutional meltdown” after a yes vote, which would place severe personal political pressure on the prime minister, a growing number of Tory MPs are saying they will call for legislation to be introduced to postpone the general election. It would be the first time since 1940, a year into the second world war, that a general election would have been postponed.

Prolonging a sitting Parliament without the excuse of a World War?

No, fuck off.

If it’s going to be a problem then call it early rather than give your soon to be turfed out backbenchers another year at the trough.

20 comments on “Err, no.

  1. Not gonna happen. Lords would never wear it, even in unlikely event that LDs did, so current law would still be in force next May in any case.

  2. If you a serious politician you want to fight elections. There won’t be a yes vote in Scotland anyway. So…

  3. If there is a yes vote then couldn’t they just say in 2015 that the Scotts don’t get any MPs because they have no future stake in the country?

  4. But watching Labour contort itself in the event of a Yes vote is all part of the fun. What they would do at the end of the negotiations in 2017 (or whenever independence kicks) in is definitely going to be a popcorn event.

  5. If there is a yes vote, I imagine the Labour party will suddenly become passionately pro electoral boundary review…

  6. “What they would do at the end of the negotiations in 2017 (or whenever independence kicks) in is definitely going to be a popcorn event.”

    Not really, since the answer is in the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. If Labour and its allies don’t have a majority the day after the Scottish MPs leave, the Opposition can call a vote of confidence, which would trigger a general election if it failed [*].

    Basically this is an attempt to make a not-very-complicated problem sound complicated, although I can’t work out whether it’s dim Tories who seriously think this is a good idea or trolling by the Graun.

    [*] technically the opposition can call a vote of confidence at any time, but there wouldn’t be much point unless Labour didn’t have a majority.

  7. The point is not the governance of rUK post 2017 when the negotiations are finished and the Scottish MPs leave the Commons (as said above, a vote of confidence is called and the government either has enough votes to continue or it doesn’t), its the period 2015-17 thats crucial. If Labour win in 2015 with a less than 40 majority (ie removing the 40 odd Scottish Labour MPs removes their majority) then the Scottish MPs will be able to vote in favour of negotiation stances that are favourable to Scotland, but would not get a majority if only rUK MPs voted on them.

    If they had any honour they’d stand down as MPs voluntarily, but we are talking about Labour MPs so no chance of that.

  8. @ Wasp

    “If there is a yes vote, I imagine the Labour party will suddenly become passionately pro electoral boundary review…”

    Electoral boundary changes favour Cameron, don’t you mean pro PR.

  9. I don’t understand. They’re having the Scots vote shortly, before the election. So, if they vote “yes”, Scotland immediately has no right to MPs in Westminster, so they must leave the next day. Scotland immediately cedes from the Union and that’s that.

    What’s with 2017? What has that got to do with it? You can’t walk out of somewhere and still stick around trying to run things.

  10. I find myself agreeing totally with you Tim W on about 80% of things, and the other 20% totally parting ways.

    I don’t know (and you don’t know) quite what the right thing to do is if a major part of the UK decides to leave, but it is very much not business as usual.

    Just for the record, there wasn’t a “world war” in 1940. Germany, by mid 1940, had conquered more of Europe than it had ever expected and had they not chosen to invade Russian in 1941, the status quo might well have been kept for a long time.

  11. So, if they vote “yes”, Scotland immediately has no right to MPs in Westminster, so they must leave the next day. Scotland immediately cedes from the Union and that’s that.

    Nope. There is a transition period where Scotland will continue to be ruled both by Westminster and by the current devolved Scottish Government. Under the existing powers.

  12. PF: yeah, I was curious about what Wasp meant there too.

    Ian B: complex treaties take a while to execute. The UK government will, like it or not, be directly responsible for things that affect Scotland over that time period, so it’d be insane not to give Scots a vote over it. This is exactly what happened re Irish MPs at the time of Irish independence.

    tjamesjones: we know exactly what happens, because it happened 92 years ago. And what took place was business as usual (well, in Westminster. I imagine the Scots will kill each other over the details of the settlement quite a bit less than the Irish did).

  13. IanB, the referendum is effectively approval to negotiate an exit (although it isn’t worded like that). Actual independence is supposed to happen on 24th March 2016 (not sure where 2017 comes from).

    If the Scots do vote yes, they are signing up for something that they don’t (and can’t) know the terms of.

    If the rUK negotiators have any balls, they will have the Scots over a barrel.

  14. No, if they said they’re leaving, they’re out. Same as a wife whose husband who has announced he’s off but they’re still in the house til the mortgage is settled has to sleep in the spare bedroom.

    Once they’ve said they’re going, the MPs should be evicted from Parlaiment the next day. The Scots parliament should rightly no longer obey it either. They’re leaving unilaterally, remember. The rest of us in England, Wales and NI don’t even get a vote.

    In terms of natural justice, it is obvious that once the Yes vote has occurred, Scots nationals should have no more participation in the governance of the UK. They will now be negotiating with the nation they are no longer part of. Entirely straightforward.

  15. Ian B: that’s all very well, but given that the UK constitution is based heavily on precedent in the absence of other evidence, you’d need to provide a compelling reason why that should apply in Scotland’s case but not Ireland’s.

  16. @PF & @johnb78

    I was thinking that if Scotland leave, wouldn’t Labour be at a disadvantage in terms of seats that they are likely to win as rUK has a higher proportion of Tory and Lib Dem seats?

    As a result of that, I was thinking that they would suddenly be denouncing how unfair the system was and start campaigning for change as it wouldn’t benefit them any more…

    Or is my underlying premise flawed?

  17. Johnb78-

    There’s only a precedent that we go on the basis of precedent. Which is the same sort of flawed justification as Hume famously pointed out about induction.

    “Why should we do it like we have before? Because we always have before!”.

    The Scots are declaring UDI and in very strident terms. Once they have declared that they are leaving, there is no rational justification for allowing them continued participation in the UK’s democratic institutions; because from that moment on their class interest will be contradictory to those of the UK.

  18. @ johnb78

    we know exactly what happens, because it happened 92 years ago. And what took place was business as usual (well, in Westminster. I imagine the Scots will kill each other over the details of the settlement quite a bit less than the Irish did).

    And of course the north (of Ireland) stayed.

    If it’s yes, shouldn’t Orkney and Shetland have some say in this.

    Don’t they a) not want indepedence, and b) want independence from Scotland if Scotland does vote yes..?!

    Perhaps they might stay within the Union (with their oil)..:)

    @ wasp

    I was thinking that they would suddenly be denouncing how unfair the system was

    Yes, that’s one of the upsides – some gloriously lucky chap in Westminster gets to ask the member for Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath to leave the premises…

  19. >the member for Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath to leave the premises

    Unlikely… as I understand, while he draws a not inconsiderable salary and expenses, it’s apparently a rare event for him to condescend to actually visit his “workplace”…

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