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Old March 9th, 2015, 04:36 AM   #31
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I think that the interesting part of this is not whether Halifax could gave been Prime Minister or whether his tenure would have been short, the question is whether if he had been Prime Minister during the Battle of France, then maybe there would have been no Dunkirk, 300,000 British and French would not have been brought off and would he then, as did the French, agreed to Germany's peace terms.

Would that have led to a) an earlier attack on Russia, which might have been successful since before winter set in. 2) would the Nuclear weapon program have continued and would Manhattan been successful without British participation 3) would Britain have kept the Empire, especially India? 4) would the USA ever have been able to launch an invasion of Europe?

It seems Churchill's character was a "hinge factor". Without him there would have been great differences. For those who think that Churchill's personality was overplayed, without him, who would have been Prime Minister. If no Churchill, and no Halifax, who would have replaced Chamberlain? Would Churchill have stayed in power?
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Old March 9th, 2015, 05:09 AM   #32

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Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
The idea of the PM only sitting in the HoC, although preferable from the late 19thC, only became a "tradition" in 1902 when Lord Robert Salisbury engineered his nephew Arthur Balfour to succeed him (creating the phrase "Bob's your Uncle" as a byword for nepotism). ...
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Old March 9th, 2015, 06:54 AM   #33

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Originally Posted by Poly View Post
Since 1911 it has been generally accepted that no peer can ever be PM whilst sitting in the House of Lords

Britain, of course, has no written constitution (all hail) but it is simply not possible for a someone who is not a member of the House of Commons to be PM


So what ?

That was then

True but a PM in the Lords doesn't have the converse right

ie: a PM in the Lords can't demand the right to speak in the commons
You are missing the point. It is not what is ACCEPTED, it is what is POSSIBLE. The whole idea of not having a written constitution is that the rules can be made up to suit the occasion--like the fixed-term Parliament Act of 2011 that was fished out of the air in order to cobble together a coalition that is an affront to a democracy. Something that could not be achieved in the US or France without a lengthy constitutional convention and substantial majorities.
The idea that since 1911 the PM should only come from the Commons is predicated on the fact that in that year the Lords could no longer amend money bills and the Prime Minister's official job is actually First Lord of the Treasury. However, Lord Salisbury was the last PM who sat in the Lords and he ran the portfolio of Foreign Secretary and handed the job of First Lord of the Treasury and Leader of the Commons (traditionally PM's jobs) to others.
Again the point is that Douglas Home WAS Prime Minister for a month without being a member of either House. Macmillan did not stay on as caretaker and Butler as Deputy PM did not step in pro-tem.

That Prime Minsters operated from the Lords may have been then, but the RULES have not changed- a member of the HoL COULD act as PM. Whether under the 1999 reform of the HoL a member could resign and then stand for a commons seat is moot at present as no one has tried and many proposals have been put forward to prevent any "house swapping".

While a PM --or any minister in the Lords has no right or any current mechanism to permit him (or her) to speak in the Commons at present, the subject of the thread was Halifax in 1940 and such a dispensation could have been allowed (on an emergency basis) by a simple Commons majority and the Royal prerogative--there is no little-bitty piece of paper tucked away somewhere to prevent it.
This flexibility of the British Constitution, for good or ill, means that anything is possible if it is needed--if, for example, a modern day Guy Fawkes was successful in wiping out both Houses of Rats, the Queen could appoint Bert Scroggins the doorkeeper or Corporal Jones of the Chelsea Pensioners as Prime Minister if she so wished. In, say America, one would have to sift through the official list of elected folks to find a legal replacement.
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Old March 9th, 2015, 02:36 PM   #34

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Originally Posted by redcoat View Post
Halifax was more popular than Churchill with the Labour party, many of whom still hated Churchill for his actions during the General Strike of 1926.

The Labour party leadership was asked by Chamberlain about who they would serve under in a coalition government, they replied after consultation with the National Executive of the Labour Party that they would not serve in a coalition with Chamberlain as PM but that they would serve in a coalition under either Halifax or Churchill.
Thanks...I didn't know that, although this was with the Leadership and National Executive of the Labour Party; I wonder how many of the parliamentary party would have voted for Halifax? Good point and post.
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