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The Prospect editorial: Balances and checkmates

The government now has power to swipe away inconvenient safeguards. Vigilance is required

By Tom Clark   March 2020

Over three extraordinary years in the governance of Britain, the unthinkable has repeatedly become fact. Time-honoured understandings went out the window, conventions were trampled on, and it often felt as if the fundamentals of the constitution were being remade. MPs would never seize control of the parliamentary timetable from ministers, until they did. A modern speaker would never prevent a government from staging a vote it hoped to win, until John Bercow did. Of course, it was inconceivable for a 21st-century prime minister to shut parliament down at a critical moment,…

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