A NEW word has entered the national lexicon: prorogation. And have I had a lot of emails about this!

Prorogation is the act of ending a session of parliament, in anticipation of the new session, started by The Queen’s Speech, in which the government sets out its legislative agenda.

We are well overdue for a Queen’s Speech. Normally an annual affair, we are at the end of the longest session of parliament since the English Civil War. The new Prime Minister needs to set out his agenda and I look forward to it.

Prorogation has two effects. The first is that closes down parliament for the period of prorogation. This is not the same as a recess, when parliamentary activity can continue, such as select committee meetings, as well as the House of Lords sitting.

Indeed, Parliament cannot be recalled from the conference recess due at the end of next week because of prorogation.

The second is that it acts as a re-boot for parliament. Everything in the previous session ends and the new session acts as a completely fresh start.

There are, for me, a couple of simple questions about this prorogation, ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline.

Would it make any difference to prorogue in early November? I suspect no one would have any argument about it, so why now? There must be a Brexit related reason.

Speculation is rife that this is about shutting down debate. That may be true. But it is also about what happens after the EU summit on October 17.

The summit may result in a new deal being on offer. But if no new deal is forthcoming, the only way to get any sort of deal is to present the old one again.

Only by proroguing parliament now can the PM be allowed to present the old deal, giving one last chance of any deal passing before October 31.

To those who are delighted at this action, my second question is how would you react if the other guy was doing this for different reasons?

Our constitution is set by precedent. This precedent now allows any future PM of any political flavour to prorogue parliament for a longer period, and a political reason.

This may be an act of constitutional vandalism; or it may be an act of strategic genius. We won’t truly know until October 31.