Since the announcement that the British parliament will be prorogued in September, there has been a great out-pouring of disbelief and shock at such an unconstitutional, undemocratic, blah blah blah move by and unelected Prime Minister who has no mandate from the people.
Here is a brief list of some of the comments:
- Lord Young (Con) ““…unhappy at the timing and length of the prorogation “
- Ruth Davidson (Con) “…changes professional and personal”
- Philip Hammond (Con) “constitutional outrage”
- Justine Greening (Con) “…grubby attempt [to force through a No-Deal]”
- David Lidington (Con) – “It sets a very bad precedent for future governments.”
- Kenneth Clarke (Con) “outrageous conduct”
- Lord Heseltine (Con) “The government’s decision is a constitutional outrage,”
- Rory Stewart (Con) “Parliament should not be suspended.”
- Simon Hoare (Con) “executive trying to abuse one of its …powers”
- Jeremy Corbyn (Lab) “a smash-and-grab on our democracy”
- Tom Watson (Lab) “scandalous affront to out democracy”
- Margaret Beckett (Lab) “trashing the constitution”
- Yvette Cooper (Lab) “dangerous and irresponsible way to govern”
- John McDonnell (Lab) “a very British coup”
- Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Lab) “worthy of a tin-pot dictator”
- Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) “a dark day for democracy”
- Jo Swinson (Lib Dem) “outrageously stifling the voices of …the people”
- Ed Davey (Lib Dem) “outrageous”
- Jonathan Bartley (Green) “cynical attempt to subvert the will of parliament”
- Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru) “fundamentally anti-democratic move”
- Chuka Umunna “…behaving like a tin-pot dictator”
- Anna Soubry (Ind) “outrageous”
So, in terms of action, what if anything have any of these ‘outraged’ politicians done..? Well, in the cases of Ruth Davidson and Lord Young, their positions in the Conservative Party have been resigned – but neither have renounced their role in politics. In the cases of everyone else..? Not a one has resigned, not a one has publicly stated that they refuse to operate in a democracy of this kind. Two MPs – Clive Lewis (Lab) and Dawn Butler (Lab) suggest that the MPs should refuse to vacate parliament when it is suspended, but none of the MPs has suggested that the MPs should refuse to participate in parliament.
Technically, it is not possible for an MP to resign – although there exist protocols which means that an MP can be disqualified from sitting in the house. However, this should not preclude from the MPs refusing to attend debates in the house, and making it publicly known that they refuse to condone or cooperate with this undemocratic suspension of the house by continuing to attend.
…and of course then there are those who opposed the suspension of parliament only scant weeks ago…
- Sajid Javid (Con) “…you don’t deliver of democracy by trashing democracy”
- Matt Hancock (Con) “…I will not have it.”
- Nicky Morgan (Con) “constitutional crisis”
- Liz Truss (Con) “archaic manoeuvre”
- Andrea Leadsom (Con) “..;I don’t believe I would [support prorogation]”
- Amber Rudd (Con) “…ridiculous suggestion”
- Jeremy Hunt (Con) “…be pretty impossible to imagine ever working”
- Michael Gove (Con) “…not be true to the best traditions of British democracy”
and of course Boris Johnson himself, who said that he was not attracted to archaic devices such as the proroguing of parliament!
For all that these ministers claimed that prorogation would be the “end of the Conservative party’ how many of them have actually resigned from the government that is doings this? – None, that’s how many. Not a one.
It is clear from this entire situation that words are much easier than deeds… Ministers who loudly proclaim they are against prorogation and who weeks later quietly go about their business when it is enacted clearly set no store in the words that they use. It was stated yesterday by Boris Johnson that “If we frustrate that mandate, if we stop the UK from leaving on October 31st… This political generation won’t be forgiven for failing to honour that promise.”
Well how does Boris Johnson imagine that people can maintain faith in ‘this generation of politicians who have proven time and again that they are prepared to say anything to gain or stay in power? How can you trust a minister who says one day “I will not have it” and then clearly has it the week after? What value those words?
And Lest we forget – it is not only the government who say one thing and do another… Jo Swinson was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats and shouted loudly that she would do anything to stop Brexit. Yet lo and behold, it turns out that she will do anything… except support an interim government headed by Jeremy Corbyn.
This entire situation serves only to prove that the agendas of the politicians are utterly disconnected from the agendas of the public.
My own opinion, is that the best approach in this situation is for the members of parliament who feel that prorogation is an abuse of parliamentary democracy should immediately resign the party whip, leave their posts and force a by-election in all of their constituencies. They should never again set foot in Westminster until there is agreement to establish a formal written constitution for the United Kingdom – a constitution which sets up an independent body to monitor abuses of power and which has the authority to remove from their post any politician who lies to the public.
Anyone who continues to operate under a system which allows this, is supporting this behaviour. Every single MP who enters the house on Tuesday September 3rd is effectively supporting the prorogation of parliament.