Topic: Public Law summative essay paper

Coursework question below:
THE PROBLEM
Imagine it is 2024. In the general election of May 2024, the
Conservative Party loses a substantial number of seats but continues to
have an overall majority of MPs in the House of Commons, albeit by a
very narrow margin. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, continues in
office but soon announces his intention to resign later in the summer.
In July 2024, Conservative Party members elect Priti Patel to be their
new leader and she becomes Prime Minister.
In the run-up to the May 2024 election, the three main opposition
parties — the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, and the Scottish
National Party — formed what some describe as a ‘progressive
alliance’, with an agreement to work towards the reform of the
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electoral system. Their aim is to ensure that, in future elections, the
proportion of seats in the House of Commons will more closely reflect
the proportion of votes cast. Despite their disappointment at the
election result, these opposition MPs are encouraged over the summer,
when a small group of disgruntled Conservative MPs decide to rebel
against the government and join the alliance in support of electoral
reform based on proportional representation. This group of Tory
rebels, although small, is enough to tip the balance of power in the
House of Commons.
The pro-reform MPs consider their options. They do not want to table a
motion of no confidence in the government. The main reason is that
sources close to the new Prime Minister have indicated that, if the
government were defeated in a no-confidence vote, she would simply
ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament, using the prerogative power that
was ‘revived’ by the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (Repeal) Act
2021 (hereafter ‘the 2021 Act’). If Parliament were dissolved, there
would be another election, which according to most polling data would
lead to a larger Conservative majority of seats in the Commons. The
opposition and rebel MPs have no appetite for another election using
the existing first-past-the-post system.
The pro-reform MPs decide to introduce a Private Member’s Bill — a
Fixed-term Parliaments Bill — to repeal the 2021 Act and reinstate the
provisions of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. In October 2024,
the Labour leader Keir Starmer introduces the Fixed-term Parliaments
Bill in the Commons. Emphasising the Bill’s extraordinary cross-party
support, Starmer says that it will enable the parliamentary majority to
form a new coalition government, led by him, with the principal aim of
bringing forward an electoral reform Bill, which he says will be ‘a
necessary next step on the long road towards a genuine representative
democracy’. Within a couple of days, the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill
passes all its stages in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
However, in a statement to the House of Commons, Prime Minister
Priti Patel says that the Bill will not receive Royal Assent. She calls
Parliament’s passing of the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill ‘an assault on
democracy’ and ‘an act of constitutional vandalism’, which she says
justifies the government’s ‘unusual but perfectly legitimate’ decision
to withhold Royal Assent. She tells opposition MPs that the
‘constitutionally proper’ way to get electoral reform would be for its
supporters to win an election, then form a government, and then put
the question to the people in a referendum. She reminds the so-called
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progressive alliance that their policy was ‘decisively’ rejected at the
election in May 2024 and in a referendum in 2011. ‘Ordinary people
have made themselves clear,’ she concludes. ‘They do not want
electoral reform; they want the government they elected to govern.’
That evening, Keir Starmer tables in the House of Commons a motion
of no confidence in the government, together with a motion for a
‘humble address’ to the Queen indicating that the House would have
confidence in a government led by Keir Starmer. The following day,
the House of Commons passes both of these motions by a majority of
one. Having therefore lost the support of the House of Commons,
Prime Minister Patel advises the Queen to dissolve Parliament so that
there can be a fresh general election.
YOUR TASK
You have been asked to provide legal advice to Gina Miller, who wishes
to apply for judicial review to challenge the government’s actions in
relation to the withholding of Royal Assent and the dissolution of
Parliament.
Provide legal advice to Ms Miller about:
(1) whether the government can lawfully withhold Royal Assent to
Starmer’s October 2024 Fixed-term Parliaments Bill, which
has been passed by both Houses of Parliament; and
(2) whether the government can lawfully advise the Queen to
dissolve Parliament in the above circumstances.
You should imagine that you are writing your legal advice in 2024. You
should assume that the law of judicial review is as it is in February
2021, save that the draft Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (Repeal) Bill
is enacted in 2021 as originally published in December 2020.

Type of service: Academic paper writing
Type of assignment: Essay
Subject: Law
Pages/words: 6/1500
Number of sources: 6
Academic level: Undergraduate
Paper format: OSCOLA
Line spacing: Double
Language style: UK English

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