There are “only four days parliament might have been sitting when it won’t be sitting”

Michael Gove on prorogation

August 31, 2019

Claim

Dan Bloom reported in the Mirror that Michael Gove claimed outrage against proroguing Parliament was “a mite disingenuous” because there are “only four days parliament might have been sitting when it won’t be sitting.”

Facts

Without any prorogation parliament would have been in recess for, at most, 13 days over September and October for conference recess (from 16 September to 7 October, assuming a four-day week). This assumes parliament returning on the Tuesday after conference season as it did last year.

Parliament was prorogued in the early hours of 10 September with the intention it would return on 14 October for the Queen’s speech.

The plan for prorogation would have meant parliament would have been in recess for a minimum of 19 days (the 13 stated above and additionally the 10 to 12 September and 8 to 10 October).

So, in total, parliament would have lost at least six sitting days if the prorogation had taken place. On top of this, no substantive parliamentary business could have taken place during the Queen’s speech on 14 October. So in practical terms at least seven days of parliamentary sitting time would have been lost.

The prime minister also received advice from his Director of Legislative affairs that seven sitting days would be lost (she did not count the Queen’s Speech day but assumed parliament would return on the Monday after conferences, rather than the Tuesday).

Verdict

It was Michael Gove, not those outraged by prorogation, who was being disingenuous — and untruthful.

PreviousNext