Our new Prime Minister has only been in Parliament for one day so far since he was appointed on 24th July 2019. This is not entirely surprising given that he was appointed in the last week of Parliaments usual term time and then it was due to enter its Summer recess period of five weeks ending this coming Tuesday. However if Johnson had wanted to communicate with Parliament before 3rd September, he could have requested an early end to the recess and indeed a number of senior MPs did request him to do so several weeks ago. Despite this and following numerous denials from himself and his media team and even Nicky Morgan, a member of his Cabinet, he then announced that when MPs return from their Summer break, that two days later on Thursday which is the end of the usual 4 day week for MPs, Johnson will Prorogue or close down Parliament for five more weeks. When he then re-opens Parliament, all MPs will be obliged to spend the following two weeks debating the content of the Speech he is preparing for the Queen to deliver on 14th October. This means that all of our MPs who stopped working in Parliament on 25th July will only be allowed into Parliament for 3 days over a 11 week period and then they will be obliged to spend a further two weeks debating the Queens Speech. This is despite the fact that if as many people suspect, a General Election takes place this year, that a second Queens Speech will take place following the election. After the debates regarding the Speech, there will then only be three more working days left until the 31st October to enable MPs to discuss Brexit arrangements. So the number of working days to potentially discuss Brexit will be reduced from 23 to 6 days. Any prospect of MPs coming up with ideas that may improve our departure arrangements will be almost impossible given the limited time and it is clear that Johnson intends to tie their hands and gag their mouths in the one place that together they are supposed to scrutinise what happens to our nation on behalf of their constituents.
Dominic Cummings and his team including Nikki Da Costa have behaved in a disturbing way since late July and in the case of Cummings, his previous behaviour has raised many concerns such as when he refused to attend the DCMS select committee scrutiny session. Dominic has now told the current cohort of Tory MPs that if they challenge Boris’s plans in anyway, that they will be deselected ahead of the next General Election. He has made it clear that this will be the case, even if their local constituency association party members support them or their actions. It is essential that such dictatorial actions are challenged by members of the public and members of the Tory Party as this behaviour is not acceptable in a society which offers freedom of speech and expects MPs to hold Ministers to account on our behalf. In any event it is clear that if MPs are sacked from the Party, that the Government will become too small to achieve any results.
Yesterday like many thousands of other people in our nation, I took part in a #stopthecoup event on the Streets of Liverpool as indicated in the photograph above which involved at least 1000 people. The events were arranged at around 100 locations based on what I have heard and along with Liverpool where I was staying at the end of my holiday, there were events in Inverness, Dundee and Glasgow where we visited over the last fortnight. I know that there was also an event in Brighton where I live. It was clear that whilst many of the people who I joined in with were from a range of parties, that most were not involved in politics but were very concerned about the proposal to close down Parliament. I have been staying in Liverpool for the last few days which is where I was born and grew up and where parts of my family are still located. Although I was the only person who attended from our family, it was clear that our families and their friends are very concerned about the prorogation of Parliament and the idea of leaving the EU without a deal. Some of the families and friends are happy for us to leave and some are not. However all recognise that a No Deal Brexit will be deeply damaging to our nation and that Parliament is supposed to be a place where Governments are held to account, not where the Government sets out all of the rules and prevents MPs from being able to represent their constituents. Let us hope that all MPs from all Parties will understand that they are accountable to their electors, not to their Prime Minister’s senior aides!