Follow-up letter ca. 17th June 2019 drawing problem-solving strategies partly from the official UK Cabinet Manual

original e-mail header: Tories automatically to continue in government? Cabinet Manual names possible steps to resolve brexit

W-M circulates a letter sent 15th June 2019 to UK elected Members of Parliament, Westminster, London
Contact your MP to find out what they think about this and how they propose to solve "brexit"!

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To: Those seeking constructive ways to solve the "brexit" blockade

For our elected parliament the House of Commons, after the expected resignation of Prime Minister May, it appears that "a range of different administrations could be formed". (1)

Further to our letter (see below, "copied letter" of 13.6.2019) we have discovered that the Cabinet Manual (1) in its described contingencies harmonises with our suggestion for creative, conciliatory and efficacious approaches to resolution of the "brexit impasse" and the selection of a new prime minister or alliance. We are aiming first for a solution which avoids a motion of no confidence, circumvents the uncertainties and strife associated with an early general election, and produces an ad hoc, "bespoke" arrangement designed to solve "brexit" in a fair and timely manner.

Copied here are some relevant excerpts from the Cabinet Manual (bold print)

Change of Prime Minister or government during a Parliament

2.20 Where a range of different administrations could be formed, discussions may take place between political parties on who should form the next government. In these circumstances the processes and considerations described in paragraphs 2.12–2.17 would apply.

2.13 Where a range of different administrations could potentially be formed, political parties may wish to hold discussions to establish who is best able to command the confidence of the House of Commons and should form the next government. The Sovereign would not expect to become involved in any negotiations, although there are responsibilities on those involved in the process to keep the Palace informed. This could be done by political parties or the Cabinet Secretary. The Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister may also have a role, for example, in communicating with the Palace.

2.17 The nature of the government formed will be dependent on discussions between political parties and any resulting agreement. Where there is no overall majority, there are essentially three broad types of government that could be formed:

• single-party, minority government, where the party may (although not necessarily) be supported by a series of ad hoc agreements based on common interests;

formal inter-party agreement, for example the Liberal–Labour pact from 1977 to 1978; or

formal coalition government, which generally consists of ministers from more than one political party, and typically commands a majority in the House of Commons.

Given that the ruling Conservative party has dismissed its leader and will cause her to resign as prime minister, and has no majority in the Commons, this party has no automatic right to continue as the leading party in our UK government (see brief explanation in our letter of 13.6.2019, copied below). We have a condition referred to in the Cabinet Manual (2.20, 2.13) "Where a range of different administrations could be formed". Under these circumstance we endorse the Manuel's suggestion that "political parties may wish to hold discussions to establish who is best able to command the confidence of the House of Commons and should form the next government". Central to these discussions would be the need to agree on proposals, which can attract a majority in Parliament, to resolve the "brexit" impasse.

Please make contact if you wish to comment on our proposal.

We appeal for constructive advice concerning practical ways for Parliament to proceed, from those familiar with parliamentary procedure and constitution of state.


Author known to W-M and Citizen, Democracy, Constitution)


Copied letter.
Some addressees and respondents are noted below.

Reply please via e-mail

13th June 2019

A question about our constitution of state.

Why should the incumbent party automatically be allowed to continue in government? The party (Conservative and Unionist) is in crisis and since 2016 in government they have failed to enact their central policies. An important reason for this weakness is that since 2017 the Conservative and Unionist party has no majority in our elected parliament the House of Commons: They lack the full support of the UK electorate.

Briefly we will outline further arguments and constructive suggestions for resolving the "brexit impasse".

Crucially, because they do not have a majority in our elected parliament the House of Commons, they have no constitutionally guaranteed right to rule, no automatic right to remain in government simply because they have lost leader May and hope to elect a more appealing leader and prime-ministerial candidate.

The Conservative Party over years (2010 onwards) in government has failed to resolve a major issue of our time, UK – EU relations. Why should such a party have the apparent right to continue in government when they have failed to deliver on this issue, are so divided, are about to select a leader who may well be less competent than the current one, a party for these and other reasons manifestly incapable of realising good and reconciling policy for the UK?

Theresa May was anointed as prime minister with the claim that her "confidence and supply" deal with the Democratic Unionists would enable her to carry out her policies. That has turned out to be unreliable. Several important divisions (votes) in the House of Commons have been lost, the party has proved itself to be incapable of obtaining majorities in Parliament. After their misjudged election of 2017, the Conservative party and Theresa May claimed that, despite their lack of a majority, they would provide stable government, This has has turned out to be wrong, a failed prediction.

Through their Commons MPs the Conservative party recently withdrew support from their party leader May who apparently resigned as leader and reportedly promised to resign as prime minister as soon as a replacement (presumably a new leader of her own party) can be appointed. So, clearly, the government of Prime Minister May was not stable.

Candidates to replace May as Tory leader were NOT (in contrast to May) elected to the House of Commons as party leader.

The appointment of Theresa May as prime minister was personal (ad hominem – sorry about gender). She had to make her case for forming a new government (to our quasi-presidial powers). Now after May has gone, another candidate or candidates for the job of prime minister must presumably present their proposal to conduct government in ways which have reasonable chances to solve the challenges facing the UK (us).

We have argued above (June 2019) that the Tory party must NOT automatically be allowed to continue in government. Now other party leaders should be invited to present their proposal to form a government. They would need to describe policy which could attract majorities in Parliament. For instance, the idea of accepting the EU – UK withdrawal agreement on the condition that a referendum be held which enables the electorate to decide on whether to accept this agreement. Creative ideas are called for, things which do not fit easily to our encrusted, mystifyingly uncodified and mainly ancient governance system and constitution of state. For instance, inter-party, task-oriented, provisional alliances could be formed in order to bring about minimally conflictual resolution-seeking solutions to public issues. Parliamentary majorities would be needed: Such could well be available in a genuine search for compromise, with motivation to find optimal solutions for all people concerned.

Your urgent attention to the above question would be much appreciated by many citizens of the UK.

Yours sincerely,

(Author known to W-M and Citizen, Democracy, Constitution )

Added 15th June 2019:

Replies received (to 15.6.2019) from:
Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (H o C)
Lords select committee: Constitution Committee
The Commons Library

Replies awaited:
Privy Council
Cabinet Office
1. The Cabinet Manual