THE fallout from Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament has focused on the constitutional implications as the judiciary is asked to decide on the legality of a prolonged prorogation at a time of political crisis.
Yet an unintended consequence is all pending legislation, like the Domestic Abuse Bill, has to go back to square one unless the courts intervene before the Queen’s Speech which is scheduled for October 14.
And while the Prime Minister has, in fairness, acknowledged the validity of these misgivings, he also knows that his legislative programme will be followed, probably sooner rather than a later, by a general election in which a new government will again have to start from scratch.
As the number of deaths from domestic violence reaches a five-year high, Mr Johnson is duty-bound to work on a cross-party basis to enact, at the earliest opportunity, legislation that will compel town halls to provide accommodation for victims trying to flee from their abusers.
To them, this issue is not one of the political games being played out by some in Downing Street. It is, invariably, a matter of life and death – every day of delay and dither potentially increases the risks to their safety – and all parties should now recognise this.
It also provides a chance to look again at the deployment of the much-vaunted 20,000 officers being recruited by the Government. Though welcome, these recruits will primarily replace existing vacancies and it will take time to train them to the requisite standard. Again this is very little comfort to abuse victims, a point that Mr Johnson would be advised to address urgently.