reply to post by Misoir
This seems to be the most appropriate thread for voicing my great irritation and indignation at a reported suggestion from David Cameron .
Apparently "David Cameron promised to change the law to make it impossible for a prime Minister who had not been directly elected, such as Mr. Brown,
to remain in office for longer than six months without calling a general election."
Much as I dislike Gordon Brown and hope that he loses, the fact that he was not "directly elected" is a fake issue. The truth is that no Prime
Minister in the history of the country, including the Blessed Margaret Thatcher herself, has ever been "directly elected", because that's not the
way the constitution works. You become Prime Minister in this country by being able to win votes (including, crucially, Budget votes) in the House of
Commons. If you've got your Commons majority, you can become Prime Minister- end of story.
The idea that General Elections choose Prime Ministers is based partly on ignorance of history, and partly on a false analogy with the American
If we go back only to 1930, we can see that changing prime Ministers in the middle of a Parliament is a normal fact of life. There was nothing wrong
with the way that;
MacDonald gave way to Stanley Baldwin
Baldwin gave way to Neville Chamberlain
Chamberlain gave way to Winston Churchill
Churchill gave way to Anthony Eden
Eden gave way to Harold Macmillan.
Macmillan gave way to Alec Douglas Home
Harold Wilson gave way to Jim Callaghan
Thatcher gave way to John Major
or Tony Blair gave way to Gordon Brown.
And all these changes took place without anyone feeling the need to call an election immediately afterwards.
In the same period, the following Prime Ministers came to power as a direct result of a General Election;
and, of course, Blair.
In fact (and I've only just noticed this in compiling those two paragraphs), the first group is slightly larger than the second. There is nothing
illegal, unconstitutional, or even unethical about changing leadership without calling an election. It's normal
. It's part of the way the
My best hope is that if he tries to go through with this silly idea, it will get shipwrecked on the rocks of trying to find a legal definition for
"directly elected". Which is presumably meant to mean "being leader of the winning party at the time of an election". At the moment, there's no
legal obligation for a Prime Minister even to be a member of a political party, let alone be a party leader. That would have to be imposed. The legal
pitfalls would be enormous.
The whole "direct election" theory is a misunderstanding of the constitution based on ignorance, and Cameron is pandering to that ignorance.
He should be ashamed of himself.