Is David Cameron planning to heap embarrassment on the Queen if the General Election this week produces an inconclusive result?
This is not because of his continued defence of his PR guru, Andy Coulson, whose tenure as News of the World editor was apparently – according to reports this morning – even more sullied by its role in apparently actively commissioning the illegal interception of royal messages.
No, it is because of the plans disclosed this morning for the Conservatives to ignore the rules drawn up by the Cabinet Secretary on what is to happen in the event of a “hung Parliament”.
According to Nicholas Watt the Guardian’s Chief Political Correspondent:
“The Queen does not summon a prime minister to resign; convention dictates that is for the prime minister to tender his or her resignation. Cameron indicated yesterday that he is prepared to challenge this convention.”
Presumably, the plan is for David Cameron to turn up unannounced at Buckingham Palace and demand to see the Queen, tell her to tell Gordon Brown that he is no longer Prime Minister, and then instruct her to invite someone else (ie D Cameron) to form a Government.
The whole point of the Cabinet Secretary drawing up a procedural document was to avoid Her Majesty being drawn into political controversy. This does not seem to be something that worries Cameron’s Conservatives. Apparently, they will be quite happy to embarrass the Queen and trample over constitutional convention.
And the reason for this?
“Senior Tories believe Cameron will require political momentum if he wins the largest number of votes but falls short of an outright majority.”
Either you have it or you don’t.
And, if you have to embarrass the Queen and ignore the constitution to get what you want, you probably don’t.