Opposition proposals to restrict the power to prorogue without Parliament’s consent have met with some skepticism. Critics deride the idea as unconstitutional and unprecedented. Unprecedented, that is, unless you count 369 years of precedent…
An Act to prevent inconveniences which may happen by the untimely adjourning proroguing or dissolving of this present Parliament, May 10, 1641. 17 Car. I. cap. 7. Statutes of the Realm, Vol. 103
Whereas great sums of money must of necessity be speedily advanced and provided for the relief of His Majesty’s army and people in the northern parts of this realm, and for preventing the imminent danger it is in, and for supply of other His Majesty’s present and urgent occasions, which cannot be so timely effected as is requisite without credit for raising the laid monies; which credit cannot be obtained until such obstacles be first removed as are occasioned by fears, jealousies and apprehensions of divers His Majesty’s loyal subjects, that this present Parliament may be adjourned, prorogued, or dissolved, before justice shall be duly executed upon delinquents, public grievances redressed, a firm peace between the two nations of England and Scotland concluded, and before sufficient provision be made for the re-payment of the said monies so to be raised; all which the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, having duly considered, do therefore most humbly beseech your Majesty that it may be declared and enacted.
And be it declared and enacted by the King, our Sovereign Lord, with the assent of the Lords and Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that this present Parliament now assembled shall not be dissolved unless it be by Act of Parliament to be passed for that purpose; nor shall be, at any time or times, during the continuance thereof, prorogued or adjourned, unless it be by Act of Parliament to be likewise passed for that purpose; and that the House of Peers shall not at any time or times during this present Parliament be adjourned, unless it be by themselves or by their own order; and in like manner, that the House of Commons shall not, at any time or times, during this present Parliament, be adjourned, unless it be by themselves or by their own order; and that all and every thing or things whatsoever done, or to be done for the adjournment, proroguing, or dissolving of this present Parliament, contrary to this Act, shall be utterly void and of none effect.