Former Prime Minister John Major has suggested that the government could obtain an "Order of Council" postponing the Benn Act until after 31 October. He indicates that this would not require the consent of the Sovereign.

How can such an Order be obtained? How many Privy Councillors exist and how many are needed to form a quorum to vote on such a thing?

  • 1
    Note that almost nobody seems to think that this is a serious means of forcing a no deal Brexit; such an attempt would be obviously unconstitutional and would almost certainly be injuncted in court within hours of such an order being issued. Orders of council cannot stymie an Act of Parliament, this is a well established legal principle. See twitter.com/davidallengreen/status/1177490685919821832
    – Dan Scally
    Sep 27, 2019 at 9:29
  • 1
    @DanScally: there's a related question over on Law.SE. Sep 27, 2019 at 10:33
  • @DanScally Thanks. Yes, I posted this question before I had heard Dominic Grieve and assorted other QC's opinions. I just assumed (dangerously) that a former Prime Minister would know what he was talking about.
    – WS2
    Sep 28, 2019 at 7:45

1 Answer 1


There are bout 700 members. here is a link to a list. It is a life appointments signiticed by the title "Right Honorable" (Rt. Hon).


The quorum is 3! The vast majority of members don't actually turn up!

Fun fact: since Queen Victoria the tradition is that Privy Council meetings take place with everyone - including The Queen - standing up.

  • Indeed. It has always been a source amusement for me that stand-up meetings are the latest fashionable thing in Agile circles.
    – richardb
    Sep 27, 2019 at 14:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .