'Irresponsible and chaotic' - Wakefield's MPs have their say on Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament

Wakefield’s MPs have had their say on the government’s decision to suspend Parliament in the weeks before Brexit is expected to take place.

Monday, 2nd September 2019, 10:40 am
Updated Monday, 2nd September 2019, 11:40 am
Wakefields MPs have had their say on the governments decision to suspend Parliament in the weeks before Brexit is expected to take place.

The decision, which was approved by the Queen on Wednesday, means that a five week suspension will begin next week - just days after MPs return to work.

Under the plans, MPs would return to work 17 days before the expected Brexit date of Thursday, October 31.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove said that the move was “certainly not” an attempt to block opposition to the UK leaving the EU without a deal, and would still allow time for MPs to debate Brexit.

Clockwise from top left: Yvette Cooper, Andrea Jenkyns, Mary Creagh and Jon Trickett are the MPs for the Wakefield district.

But the decision has proved controversial with opposition members, who said it would prevent MPs from passing any laws to prevent a No Deal Brexit.

On Sunday, thousands of campaigners took to the streets across the UK to protest the decision to suspend Parliament. The ‘Stop the Coup’ protests were held in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn accused Mr Johnson of “a smash and grab on our democracy” and said he would call for a vote of no confidence in the Conservative government.

Mary Creagh, MP for Wakefield, said that leaving the EU without a deal would “kill jobs, hit incomes and raise prices.”

On Sunday, thousands of campaigners took to the streets across the UK to protest the decision to suspend Parliament. The Stop the Coup protests were held in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.

A petition calling on the government to cancel the suspension has been signed more than 1.3 million times.

In July, Wakefield Council announced they had slashed their emergency Brexit reserves from £5m to £1.6m, but said that leaving the EU would have implications for the district regardless of whether a deal was agreed.

What is proroguing?

Shutting down Parliament, officially known as proroguing, brings all parliamentary business to an end.

This process usually happens once a year, around April and May, and means that no debates or votes are carried out. MPs remain in their seats during this time.

It is normal for a new government to shut down Parliament for a few days before the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the government’s plans.

But Ruth Fox, director of parliamentary research group the Hansard Society, said that proroguing the Government for any longer than two weeks would be “both unnecessary and beyond the norm”.

Those in support of the closure say it would honour the results of the 2016 EU referendum by ensuring the UK leaves the EU on October 31.

But the government has been accused of undermining the power of MPs - many of whom want to prevent a no deal Brexit.

What did my MP say?

Yvette Cooper, MP for Pontefract, Castleford and Normanton, said: "This is a completely irresponsible and chaotic way to run the country. Boris Johnson still isn’t telling us what his Brexit plan really is or what it will mean for food prices, medicine supplies or manufacturing jobs.

“But instead of answering questions or debating it, he’s just decided to cancel Parliament instead. These Tory old Etonians seem to think they can just concentrate power all in their own hands.

“And it won’t be Boris Johnson who suffers if he screws this up and food prices rise and manufacturing jobs are hit as a result of No Deal, it will be overstretched families in towns like ours.”

Jon Trickett, MP for Hemsworth, said: "They might be trying to shut down Parliament, but they won’t shut up a strong Yorkshire voice like mine and I won’t back down.

“In addition to Brexit, I am demanding answers on a range of issues that affect our local area, like HS2, hospital services, and the state pension age.

“I don’t trust the Conservatives to run the country in the interests of our area and that is why I don’t agree with closing Parliament down”.

Andrea Jenkyns, MP for Morley and Outwood, said: "This is the longest parliamentary term since the Civil war and it is both legitimate and routine constitutional practice for the PM to schedule a Queen's Speech, which Her Majesty has approved.

“The phoney outrage of those who are calling this "undemocratic" are those that have taken advantage of the political stalemate in Parliament in recent years to undermine the referendum.

“Such people have taken every opportunity to frustrate the will of the British people who voted to leave the EU in 2016. We finally have a PM who will deliver what he promises: we should let him get on with securing Brexit and governing the country.”

Mary Creagh, MP for Wakefield, said: “This unelected Prime Minister is acting like a tinpot dictator, all to force through a no-deal Brexit that nobody voted for to save the Conservative Party.

“A no-deal Brexit will kill jobs, hit incomes & raise prices. Parliament will not allow the Prime Minister to deny the British people democracy by gagging their MPs.”

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