When I stated in this column last week that there is sometimes a danger of it being overtaken by events, I did not expect it to be confirmed quite so quickly.
Indeed, I went on to say that we would find that ‘next week things won’t have changed very much’. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
For months I have been telling anyone who would listen, including readers of this column, that there was no possibility of an early election, no matter how much the Prime Minister might need or want one.
I said that the Fixed Term Parliament Act introduced by the coalition government in 2010 (to prevent either of the coalition partners ‘pulling the plug’ on the coalition agreement just when it suited them) meant that the choice on an election date was no longer in the gift of the Prime Minister and could only be changed from the fixed five year term, if two thirds of MPs voted for it.
Given that the Government’s majority is only 17, I concluded that there was no prospect of the required two thirds being achievable. After all, what possible motive could opposition parties have in voting to accommodate the Prime Minister’s choice of early election date?
The rest is history. It begs the question however, if there remains any point in the Fixed Term Parliament Act, given that it has so easily been overcome, and we have in reverted to the status quo ante, where the Prime Minister effectively chooses the election date?
In any event, whatever the election result, a significant number of the 500 or so MPs who voted for the election on June 8th, will end up regretting that they did so. We can’t all have been right!