Prorogation after the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019
Senior parliamentarians have asserted that the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 was enacted to prevent prorogation of Parliament in the autumn. This understanding of the Act’s legal effect was very widely reported. Closer analysis suggests that the true position is otherwise. This is relevant to the lawfulness of yesterday’s Order of Her Majesty in Council that Parliament be prorogued from a date no earlier than Monday 9 September and no later than Thursday 12 September to Monday 14 October, when the next session will begin with a new Queen’s Speech. While the Act limits the practical effects of prorogation in certain circumstances, nothing in the Act prevents prorogation in the autumn, including from the second week in September. The Government can comply with the requirements of the Act before the prorogation begins and the Act does not require Parliament to be recalled in these circumstances before 14 October. Indeed, the Act would not even have prevented the current session of Parliament having been brought to an end on 15 October and the next session commencing on 1 November, after the UK is due to leave the EU.