HER Majesty, The Queen, is expected to be “above politics”, but if ever there was a time when she could usefully be expected to assist in a constitutionally dangerous situation verging on anarchy, it is now.

The retiring Prime Minister is required to advise Her Majesty on a successor who will command a majority in Parliament and be able to form a government, and Her Majesty conventionally accepts the advice.

READ MORE: If the new PM can't command a majority, we will need an election

On other occasions there are different possibilities, as with Ramsay MacDonald in 1931, when the monarch, George V, suggested to the Prime Minister the possibility of alternative arrangements for the government of the country, in that case the formation of a national government.

READ MORE: David Pratt: Gripped by Brexit and dysfunctional, the UK is nearing failed-state status

In 1905, A J Balfour tendered his resignation, which was accepted by the monarch, Edward VII. Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman, leader of the Liberal party, was summoned to the palace and was asked to form a government. On taking up this responsibility, he immediately called a General Election.

Let us imagine the conversations of 2019 at the palace:

Her Majesty: “Good morning, Mrs May. I welcome your advice regarding Mr Johnson. As you know, I have the benefit of closely observing proceedings over many years and particularly with even greater interest in the last three years. I will assume that you, with your own experience, are certain that a stable government can now be formed. I leave aside any question to you of the suitability of whom you propose for this high office”.

Mrs May: “Yes Ma’m, thank you Ma’m”.

Later the same day, at the palace:

Her Majesty: “Good afternoon, Mr Johnson. I would like to tell you about my grandfather, whom I remember very well. I know that in 1931 when there was a serious economic problem he suggested to Mr MacDonald, the Prime Minister, that it might be a good idea to form a national government. To this Mr MacDonald readily agreed.

“I have to advise you that on this occasion I have decided in the greater interest of the country to involve myself in the constitution a little deeper than the usual acceptance of the advice of the retiring Prime Minister. I feel that the certainty of a stable government and a parliament able to support the government is possibly sufficiently doubtful and with great attendant constitutional risks.

“I am therefore proposing to recommend that you attempt to form a government. There is, as I understand, a risk of a vote of no confidence or some other event prejudicing progress, such as a proposal to prorogue parliament. In the event of any doubt, I will respectfully ask you to be so good as to return to the palace in a week to recommend that you advise me to dissolve parliament and that you will call a General Election’’.

Mr Johnson: ‘“Yes Ma’m, thank you Ma’m”.

Back in the real world (the world of realpolitik), the serious point is that we are in dangerous times. The lack of a written constitution is being debated. Proroguing parliament, an arrogant and cowardly proposal under the present circumstances, is being considered. Well outside the usually accepted convention of our so-called constitutional monarchy it is being threatened (and it is meant to be a threat by those proposing such a course). There are questions about what Mr Speaker of the House of Commons could or would do in such dire circumstances and whether Members of Parliament can, even at this late stage, be expected to think of the greater good of the country which, of course, includes Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the English counties, and the greater good of our neighbour, the Republic of Ireland.

Robert MacLachlan

NOT having heard of anyone who approves of this utter fiasco performance of the two present contenders for the leadership of this “failed state” (outside of a small number of like-minded self-seekers), I find it hard to believe that one will actually impose himself on this tail end of a decadent empire.and pretend he has any idea how to make it better (lies and wild promises won’t cut it).

It occurs to me there is one person who could make this situation slightly better for the 60 million or so people who should be involved, and should have been asked (if still a democracy, that is).

I understand that the appointment of PM must be approved by the head of state, and while there may be no precedent for a “NO WAY!!!” there is always a first time and if this resulted in a General Election, it might result in our being out of the “banana republic” category and back to being JUST a state with a head of state remembered for something spectacular.

James Ahern
East Kilbride

I TRUST that I am not alone in expressing deep concern over the announcement that the UK Tory government’s new “hub” in Edinburgh, opening next March, is to be named Queen Elizabeth House, and will even contain a dedicated Cabinet meeting room, the first of its kind outside of London.

READ MORE: Westminster’s ‘Queen Elizabeth House’ to move into Edinburgh

Ominously, David Mundell has stated that he will “very much look forward to inviting the Cabinet to meet in the building once it is open for business”. A similar development, also with a Cabinet room, is apparently planned for Glasgow.

These two projects quite clearly are a direct, intentional and deliberate threat to the established role and autonomy of our democratically elected Scottish Government at Holyrood, and in my view both should have been stopped at source before a single brick was laid.

Our elected representatives should be objecting to them now, and in the strongest possible terms. Do I have a seconder?

Alan Johnson

IT comes as no surprise that the new UK Government HQ will be named Queen Elizabeth House – after all, highlighting that the UK is still subservient to a royal family and not a full functioning democracy is par for the course for the politicians who reside in Westminster.

My only surprise is that they haven’t wrapped the whole building in a Union flag – but I guess there’s still time for that. It’s interesting to note the UK Government has taken a 25-year lease on the property. Let’s hope that for the majority of this lease, the building becomes the R(emainder of) UK embassy as Scotland embraces its independence.

Cllr Kenny MacLaren