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An elected Head of State for Britain

State Opening of Parliament

State Opening of Parliament

This piece of flummery (at which Britain is very good) can usefully be modified to emphasise the new relationship between the People & the Head of State. How about this for a procedure:-

The President goes to parliament, using the same old coach (why not? it is public property). Both houses of Parliament (now presumably both elected), meet in Westminster Hall (as only it is big enough). Black Rod hammers on the door but, instead of the present summons to the Commons, requests that parliament receives the President (or Protector, Ken's preferred title). The two houses together have a vote (hopefully, a formality) to receive the President, thus keeping up the tradition from when Charles I (remember him? We had to cut his head off) invaded the house to arrest members. The speakers of the two Houses together open the door & ask the President in. The Prez then reports briefly on what tours they expect to do in the following year, thus officially informing the Houses of invitations received (or solicited) in their rôle of embodying the Nation as a whole and then invites the Prime Minister to present him with the programme for the following session, thus cutting out the nonsense of , 'My Government will...' that the present monarch performs, which is to emphasis the point that it is Her government, not Yours. The Prime Minister would then usually start by asking permission (this being a constitutional matter) of the President to continue the progress of bills left over from the previous session, thereby eliminating the time-wasting procedure at present, of bills falling if they do not complete their passage in one session. It would also stop filibustering a bill out. This would normally be granted but it is possible to think of scenarios when it would not. (In 1913, it would have been suicide for a President to let Irish Home Rule slip through like this). The Prez listens to the Prime Ministers speech, thanks him & retires without comment. The Leader of the Opposition then moves that speech should be debated by the House of Commons (since the speech is technically from the PM for the President's information) & the houses then retire to their usual debating chambers.

A procedure such as this would:-

  • emphasise the primacy of the elected parliament in legislative matters
  • emphasise the primacy of the President in constitutional matters
  • illustrate the new relationship between the Head of State & the People.


Other pages:-

The Constitution

Buckingham Palace etc

Personal manifesto

Nominations received

Index page

Contact: Ken Baldry, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY, +44(0)20 7359 6294 or e-mail him

URL: http://www.ourpresident.org.uk/open.html

Last revised 26/12/2003

© 2001-2003 Ken Baldry, print, copy & pass on, please or e-mail your friends about this campaign.