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Old 09-03-2019, 10:43 PM
Northern Piper is online now
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: The snow is back, dammit!
Posts: 29,953
Oh, I agree with your first point - it doesn't have to be the same majority all the time. In a multi-party House, the government might be able to count on different small parties to support it on different aspects of its platform. The phrase "command a majority" usually connotes a minority government that can get its programme through the House, but the majority doesn't always have to be identically constituted for all votes. A multi-party House can be quite fluid in the voting patterns.

With respect to the change to the constitution, I'd say it is a change. The fact that it can be altered by a statute can be said of every part of the British Constitution. Under the 2011 Act, the rules have fundamentally changed, even if Parliament could decide to change them again.

The reason I say it is a fundamental change is that before, a vote against the government on a key measure was a confidence matter. The Opposition (and government MPs) knew that if they voted against a measure, that would trigger a defeat of the government or an election. That's no longer the case. Corbin and Tory MPs can vote against the government on key issues, without triggering an election.

Corbin is exercising the powers given to him by the new constitutional arrangement. You can call it "dereliction of duty" if you want, but he is acting consistently with the law, using a discretion he now has. He now can defeat the government's programme without triggering an election.

That is a fundamental change to Parliament, whether you like it or not. American style gridlock is now built into the British Parliament.
"I don't like to make plans for the day. If I do, that's when words like 'premeditated' start getting thrown around in the courtroom."