The ex prime minster of the United Kingdom, John Major, has warned that Boris Johnson could use an 'order of council' to suspend the Benn Act (European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019). Is this possible?


1 Answer 1


No. There are almost no constitutional lawyers (at least, that I have seen make pronunciations on the subject) who seem to think that this is a serious means of forcing a no deal Brexit; such an attempt would be obviously unconstitutional and would almost certainly be injuncted in court within hours of such an order being issued. Orders of council cannot stymie an Act of Parliament, this is a well established constitutional principle. See https://davidallengreen.com/2019/09/brexit-padfield-and-the-benn-act/

  • 1
    And it is pretty clear that the injunction would be issued in the High Court with no stay of execution, and with leave to appeal refused. The Court of Appeal would refuse a direct application to appeal. John Major is a politician, not a lawyer (although many are both). Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 11:58
  • Not just a politician, but one with a track record of losing control of own party before he lost his own job, and who is now opposing his party's position. The phrase "a retired general refighting the last war" springs to mind.
    – alephzero
    Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 16:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .