Published — 2 September, 2019

Prorogation of Parliament

Thank you for contacting me regarding Parliament’s role in the process by which the UK leaves the European Union (EU). 

We are at an important time in our country’s history and I want to see the issues surrounding Brexit fully debated in Parliament. It is, however, important to remember that the issue that is being debated is how the UK leaves the EU, not whether it does.  Almost all Parliamentarians promised to respect the referendum result before the referendum in 2016 and at the General Election in 2017.  I did too; I keep my promises.

Parliament has debated the Withdrawal Agreement – the only deal that the EU says is on the table – many times over many weeks and months. And Parliament has voted and rejected it three times. It has done so knowing that the consequence is leaving with no deal.

Despite Parliament voting down the Withdrawal Agreement the government does want a deal.  It is seeking a deal to be agreed at the EU Council of the 17 and 18 October, and wants to be able to put it to a vote in Parliament shortly after in time to leave the EU on the 31 October with a deal in place.

It is important that the UK does have a clear path forward for leaving the EU. We need to move forward.

I support Parliament which established a clear deadline of 31 October for the UK to leave the EU.  I want that to be with a deal and that is why I voted for the Withdrawal Agreement on the three occasions it has come forward.

Members of Parliament do not vote on proroguing Parliament.  Prorogation is solely the Prime Minister’s decision. Parliament will not be sitting, when it would have been, for about six days.  Prorogation causes so few missed days because parliament does not sit during the main Party conferences.

Prorogation before a Queen’s Speech is routine. After the longest parliamentary session for nearly 400 years a Queen’s Speech is well overdue.  This prorogation has no impact on Brexit as there will be nothing new to debate before 14 October. The government will still be working to secure a deal.

Many of the MPs now saying they oppose the prorogation are the same MPs who have been calling for a no confidence motion to topple the government.  If that were carried, we would face Brexit with no parliament for weeks as we fight a general election campaign.

They can’t have it both ways.

It is a bit rich for MPs opposing a no deal Brexit to complain that we are near the deadline without a deal in place. The default position is that the UK will leave the EU on the 31 October. Voting against the previous deal, whilst echoing the EU’s claim that it is the only deal we will get, just made a no deal Brexit more likely.

I hope and expect that all MPs who argue against no deal will support an amended Withdrawal Agreement should it come back before the House.   Supporting a deal is a very good way of avoiding no deal. 

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important issue.