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Prorogation (Disclosure of Communications)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:54 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 5:54 pm, 9th September 2019

I accept that intervention, because the House is being shut down and we will not be able to do our job. It is not Members of Parliament who are being shut out, but those we represent. Whether in relation to the issues mentioned by the right hon. Lady or any other issue, the people are shut out when Parliament is shut down. It is all very well for the Government to say, “We will produce some documents in relation to our analysis of a no-deal Brexit,” but we are not going to be here for the next five weeks, so when are we going to scrutinise them? Even if the Government do publish something, when do we get to ask questions? Not until it is far too late—two weeks away from the decision. To simply say, “We will publish some documents,” under Yellowhammer or anything else misses the point, which is that there can be no scrutiny if we are not sitting.

There is a wider observation, which is that if the purpose of proroguing is justified by the need to pass a Queen’s Speech, how on earth do the Government think they can now achieve that? I remind the House that the Government now have a majority of minus 40. With Cabinet Ministers and even the Prime Minister’s family resigning the Tory Whip every day, one can only wonder what the number will be by the time the House returns. Surely the Government should now just give up on the idea of a Queen’s Speech and drop Prorogation altogether.