image caption: Gurmukh Singh OBE

Brexit Constitutional Crisis - Sikhs and other minorities can be affected

    Britain faces a political crisis which can lead to a constitutional crisis. For example, the Parliament has ruled out Brexit without a deal. One option open to the next Prime Minister to get out of the European Union (EU) without a formal deal can be to prorogue the Parliament. That means to shut down the Parliament for a short while. That sort of drastic action can have a lasting impact and trigger a constitutional crisis. The danger of a breakdown of law and order cannot be ruled out.

  The difference between a political crises and a constitutional crises is not easily understood. Experts tell us that a political crisis is short term upheaval in the political system until the democratic process e.g. a general election, takes over to re-balance political power. A constitutional crisis has more permanent impact. It is a challenge to the system itself. According to a source, a constitutional crisis suggests something more fundamental: a deeper contradiction in the system requiring an altogether different solution.

There are now signs that if Britain is compelled to leave the European Union without a deal against Parliamentary support, that can lead to a constitutional crisis. In fact, as far back as March 2016, the Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, warned that a vote to leave the European Union would spark a constitutional crisis that could put the future of the UK at risk. I suppose, by that he meant that the union of United Kingdom would be in danger of breaking up if one or more UK sub-nations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales voted against Brexit.

For some time now, there has been a breakdown of collective cabinet responsibility. What cabinet ministers say in the Parliament is not the same as what they then say in public or do behind the scenes. The Prime Minister can no longer depend on his or her ministers to back decisions taken at Cabinet meetings. According to experts: Unworkable and unsustainable contradictions are the symptoms of a constitutional crisis. Such a government cannot function. There is a public loss of confidence in both, the ministers and the Members of Parliament. The political credibility of the Parliament has suffered because results of the Brexit referendum have not been delivered. The impression given is that the Parliament continues to behave against the wishes of the majority. Members of Parliament are torn between their role as representatives of their local constituents and as members of a political party.

In such a situation even a general election might not be enough to fix the longer term damage. The new majority in the Parliament might cancel Brexit i.e. stop Britain from leaving the EU. That would mean a very large number of people who voted for Brexit will be literally up in arms! According to experts the Brexit issue has underlined and heightened a political split in the electorate based on social values.

That cannot be good for British democracy. With a general global political swing to the right, especially in Europe and America that will also be bad news for the minority communities in the UK.

Gurmukh Singh OBE