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Tory MPs have blocked a bid to prevent prime ministers being nominated without the consent of Parliament. The Prime Minister (Nomination) and Cabinet (Appointment) Bill was brought forward with Theresa May and Boris Johnson both having previously assumed office without a general election. Conservative MP Peter Bone railed against the bill in the House of Commons, claiming that it could have led to former Speaker John Bercow making Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister.
In the proposed bill, in a situation where the reigning Prime Minister resigned, the Speaker of the House of Commons would nominate the next Prime Minister, who would then be voted for by Parliament.
Mr Bone said: “What would have happened when Mrs May resigned? If that proposition was in place and we had Speaker Bercow in the chair.
“It would have not been impossible to see the situation where the opposition combined to vote for the Rt. Honourable member for Islington North, and maybe one or two disenchanted Conservatives joined that vote.
“Then Mr Speaker would be proposing to the Queen the Rt. Honourable member for Islington North as Prime Minister of a Conservative Government, which nobody on these benches would support.”
He continued: “That’s a nice try, but honestly that doesn’t work.
“The fundamental issue is allowing Speaker Bercow to nominate to the Queen, the Rt. Honourable Gentleman for Islington North.
“What an absurd idea.
“And for that alone, leave for this bill should not be granted.”
SNP Cabinet Office spokesman Pete Wishart, who brought forward the proposal, insisted that any Prime Minister should demonstrate that they have the confidence of the Commons.
Mr Wishart said: “All of us are right relieved to see the Prime Minister back in such rude health, press-upping his way to his disastrous Brexit.
“And looking at this epitome of a butcher’s dog, it’s hard to believe that it was touch and go for him only a few short weeks ago.”
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He added: “So thank goodness that the Prime Minister pulled through.
“What we found with the Prime Minister’s incapacitation was the equivalent of government by headless chicken.
“Without the Prime Minister’s customary decisiveness and note for detail, we had no real idea who was running the country.”
Mr Bone also branded the bill “an interesting way of pretending that sovereignty doesn’t exist”.
He insisted: “Sovereignty is the Queen, the Queen is the sovereign and the sovereign appoints the Prime Minister.”
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