Ross Clark Ross Clark

Theresa May will only regret it if she doesn’t call an early election

Is there anything more absurd than hearing a bunch of Remainers claiming that they have achieved a great victory for Parliamentary democracy in today’s High Court ruling that Parliament should vote on the exercise of Article 50, beginning Britain’s exit from the EU? Parliament voted for a referendum, in which the British people voted to leave the EU. All that today’s judgement does is frustrate that process. As I wrote last week over Heathrow, the judicial review system is fast-turning Britain into a Krytocracy, in which judges wield the real power.

All that said, why is the government bothering to fight the judgement? If the Remainers want more Parliamentary democracy, Theresa May should give it to them. She should go back on what she has previously said, and call a general election, with exiting the EU as a central manifesto promise. There is little doubt as to which way that would go. We could then have Commons votes every morning, noon and night on Brexit. The results would be a foregone conclusion and no-one could complain that Parliamentary democracy was being frustrated.

Neither could the House of Lords frustrate the process for long, as it would be bound by the Parliament Act. But while Mrs May is at it, she should also put in the manifesto a promise to replace the unelected House of Lords with a fully elected upper chamber. There has never been such a groundswell of opinion against the unelected elite, so why not start with the Lords, stuffed as it is with Labour, Lib Dems and Cameron’s cronies – all a hangover from the days they were in power.

The only obstacle to an early election is the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

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