Timothy Endicott, Professor of Legal Philosophy in the University of Oxford, gave a lecture at Policy Exchange on the royal prerogative, and why its use by the Government to trigger Article 50 should be defended.
The Government’s argument in the Miller case is that triggering Article 50 lies within the power of the Crown to make and unmake international treaties — a power the leading litigant, Gina Miller, has termed ‘this ancient, secretive Royal Prerogative’. The legitimacy of the use of the prerogative is questioned by critics, who view its proposed use to trigger Article 50 as an unconstitutional scheme to bypass Parliament. In this lecture, Professor Endicott argued that there are positive reasons of constitutional principle for an efficient, unified, and democratic executive. We can only understand the extent of the executive power, and how it ought to be constrained, if we understand what it is for. Professor Endicott argued that acting to initiate a withdrawal from the European Union is within the proper constitutional role of the executive. Using the royal prerogative in this way is entirely consistent with the sovereignty of Parliament.
The Vote of Thanks was given by the Rt Hon Lord Strathclyde CH.