Wythenshawe MP Mike Kane has condemned Boris Johnson’s shutdown of Parliament as “an affront to our democratic principles”.
Earlier this week, Wythenshawe church leader, Dave Warnock, urged the Labour MP to share his views on what he calls a “democratic crisis” following the decision by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to prorogue (suspend) parliament, seen by many as an attempt to prevent MPs from blocking a no-deal departure from the European Union.
And in a statement to the Wythenshawe Reporter, Mr Kane today condemned Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament.
The Labour MP said: “Given the situation facing our country as we approach the Brexit deadline of 31 October, and the impact it could have on people’s jobs and living standards, I believe it is deeply concerning to suspend Parliament and I am opposed to it.
“The Labour Party and Parliament must do everything we can, working on a cross party basis to block a No Deal Brexit. I cannot sit back and allow the Prime Minister to drag us out of the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement because we have seen the potential economic consequences for the country.
“I believe we’re at the stage in our history where party advantage must be put to one side, we must look at the long-term interest of our country.
“Prorogation at this time is an affront to our democratic principles. Long prorogations raise fundamental questions about whether the Government of the day commands the confidence of a majority of MPs and whether it can legitimately govern.
“Finally, I want to reiterate my opposition to a No Deal Brexit. Businesses, trade unions and the Government’s own analysis have warned about the disruption No Deal would result in and the damage it would do to our economy. I am committed to working across Parliament, to do whatever is necessary to stop it happening.”
Mr Kane has previously voted against No Deal in Parliament and abstained on proposals for a second referendum and to cancel Brexit.
What does proroguing parliament mean?
A Parliament lasts for the time between general elections – supposedly five – but it is divided into sessions, usually lasting about a year. The current session has lasted 26 months.
At the end of a session, a Prime Minister formally advises the Queen to prorogue Parliament, usually for a few days, after which a new session will begin with a state opening of Parliament and a Queen’s Speech which will outline the laws the Government intends to introduce. During the suspension the Government can continue to do its job, but MPs cannot debate in Parliament, pass laws or scrutinise what the Government and Prime Minister is doing.
Proroguing Parliament is different to recess, when the session continues but MPs do not attend the House of Commons, usually during the summer and when the parties take part in their conferences.
Proroguing Parliament is a power exercised by the PM, officially held by the Queen. MPs have no say in the matter. MPs do have a say in whether a recess can take place, and there was speculation that Parliament would vote against a recess for the upcoming party conferences so that MPs could debate Brexit ahead of the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU on October 31.
MPs from all parties have condemned the suspension, some calling it a coup and some an attack on parliamentary democracy.
The move has sparked demonstrations across the country, a legal challenge and a petition signed by 1.6 million nationwide so far, including 2,331 people in Wythenshawe and Sale East. A protest is planned for Monday at 6.30 at the Peterloo Memorial in Manchester.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove, who had previously opposed prorgation said the suspension, was “certainly not” a political move to obstruct opposition to the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
The Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg said this parliamentary session had been one of the longest in almost 400 years, so it was right to suspend it and start a new session.
Ruth Fox – director of parliamentary experts the Hansard Society – said this prorogation was “significantly longer than we would normally have” for the purpose of starting a new parliamentary session.
Ms Fox said that depending on the day the suspension began – and on whether MPs would have voted to have a party conference recess at all – the prorogation could “potentially halve” the number of days MPs have to scrutinise the government’s Brexit position.