The Dissolution Of Parliament
A. V. Dicey (1835-1922), Whig jurist, constitutional theorist and one of the most notable scholars of our unwritten constitution wrote the following in his book – Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution:
“The discretionary power of the Crown occasionally may be, and according to constitutional precedents sometimes ought to be, used to strip an existing House of Commons of its authority. But the reason why the House can in accordance with the constitution be deprived of power and of existence is that an occasion has arisen on which there is fair reason to suppose that the opinion of the House is not the opinion of the electors. A dissolution is in its essence an appeal from the legal to the political sovereign. A dissolution is allowable or necessary whenever the wishes of the legislature are or may fairly be presumed to be different from the wishes of the nation.” (A. V. Dicey, “The Law of the Constitution”, p. 433)
The principles he expounds in his book are considered part of the unwritten British constitution. As a libertarian I am uncomfortable with the appeal for democratic justice being moved one step further from the people to an even more remote ruler than Westminster, however, in the system we currently operate it seems and three years of evidence suggests, that the opinion of the House is indeed at odds with the voice of the electors as expressed in our people’s referendum. As such the dissolution would be appropriate for that reason, regardless of any others given.
What would I prefer? I would prefer a written constitution for Britain which clearly identifies *the people* as the source of the state’s power – not Westminster, and not an even more remote and unaccountable monarch. Let the monarch remain, but let the source of power be the people and be written in the constitution as such, and let future such issues be resolved on the basis that the people are sovereign.