Brexit is so divisive there might be only one way to get it sorted — call the queen!
No, not to send politicians to the Tower of London, but to resolve a potential standoff with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Dominic Cummings, the most senior official in Johnson’s new-look Downing Street, has reportedly told aides that his boss — who is determined to deliver Brexit by October 31 — would be prepared to defy a vote of no confidence from the House of Commons (should one be called and should it succeed when MPs return to work in September). Johnson would refuse to resign and instead hang on long enough to use his power to set the date of the next election — after Brexit day.
That has led to speculation that Queen Elizabeth II, the 93-year-old head of state, may have to play a part in the Brexit process. If Johnson won’t go, the queen could in theory dismiss him.
It all adds up to a situation the monarch would much rather avoid, according to Robert Lacey, a royal historian and historical consultant on Netflix series “The Crown.”
The queen has a horror of being dragged into politics, partly because it is in her very nature to be neutral and retiring, and also because she deeply believes that the constitutional monarchy should do all it can to remain above the fray,” Lacey told POLITICO.
“Therefore, in the event of the 14-day rule becoming applicable, I think she is highly likely to follow the 14 days and stick by that rule, because that is the rule and there is no other law telling her what she should or could do otherwise. If some other conflicting rule or precedent can be produced — or if the 14-day limit is exceeded — then she and her advisers might see things differently.
“Her Majesty has an experienced and very highly qualified team of legal and constitutional advisers to guide her on such matters,” Lacey added. “So this question should not be seen in terms of the queen making a personal decision — beyond the fact that her personal inclination is not to take risks, and also to follow the advice she develops with her team.”