The Constitution Unit


Boris Johnson and Parliament

21 January 2021 - In partnership with The UK in a Changing Europe three Conservative parliamentarians and Prof Meg Russell will look back at Boris Johnson’s relationship with parliament.

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Listen to the podcast episode 

Prime ministers often have a rocky relationship with parliament. But, from the unlawful prorogation of 2019 to the controversies over parliament’s role during the COVID-19 pandemic, Boris Johnson’s relationship with parliament has been more tumultuous than most. Despite a comfortable Commons majority of 80 since December 2019, large backbench rebellions have sometimes threatened Johnson's ability to win parliamentary votes. Meanwhile tensions with the Lords (not least over the Internal Market Bill) have been significant. These problems arguably go beyond the usual hurly-burly of politics, raising fundamental questions about the respective roles of parliament and the executive in our constitution.


  • Dame Cheryl Gillan; Conservative MP for Chesham and Amersham and vice-chair of the Conservative backbench 1922 Committee and a former Cabinet minister
  • Mark Harper; Conservative MP for Forest of Dean and former Chief Whip and Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform
  • Lord Young of Cookham; Conservative Life peer and formerly Chief Whip and Leader of the House of Commons
  • Professor Meg Russell FBA; Senior Fellow of UK in a Changing Europe and Director of the Constitution Unit
  • Chair: Professor Anand Menon; Director, UK in a Changing Europe