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Early Parliamentary General Election (No. 2)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:48 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Boris Johnson Boris Johnson The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party 10:48 pm, 9th September 2019

If that is what the hon. Lady thinks, why does she not have a word with her right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition and tell him to reverse his absurd policy of spending an extra £1 billion a month to keep us in the EU, when we are spending £1 billion on 20,000 more police officers on the streets of this country?

The Liberal Democrats also called for a referendum on our membership of the EU, and once they got it—by the way, they lost that referendum, of course—they did nothing but try to overturn the result, arrogating to themselves the authority to decide which democratic elections they respect and which they reject. Now—where are they, the Liberal Democrats? There they are—they want a second referendum, but they are already planning to campaign against the result. When asked whether she would implement Brexit if the people voted for it a second time, the party’s new leader, Jo Swinson, replied no. Every time the Liberal Democrats lose a referendum, they just call for a new one over and over again. It turns out she is the new leader of the referendum party, the Jimmy Goldsmith of our times.

But the Liberal Democrats are models of coherence by comparison with the Leader of the Opposition. His strategy, mysterious as it is, is that by some process he becomes Prime Minister—but without an election, because he is against elections. He then goes to Brussels and negotiates a new deal, presumably keeping us in the customs union and the single market. He then comes back and passes that deal through the House and takes it to the country in a second referendum, whereupon he campaigns against his own deal. [Interruption.] That’s the plan, isn’t it? Perhaps he can clarify. He would urge the nation to reject his own handiwork.

We know the real reason Labour does not want a general election under his leadership. Most of them do not want one because they fear that their party will lose, but there is a small terrified minority of Labour MPs who do not want an election because they actually think the Leader of the Opposition might win, ladies and gentlemen.

As for the Scottish National party, last week the First Minister for Scotland correctly said:

“It’s starting to feel like Labour doesn’t want an election at all”.

She then issued a clarion call to her assembled armies in Westminster to “force an election”. What are they doing? How do those brave stalwarts of Scottish separatism propose to force that election? By heroically abstaining!

The common thread joining all these parties is their extraordinary belief that the national interest requires them pre-emptively to protect the British people from the consequences of their own democratic decisions. The truth is they believe in democracy only when it delivers the results they want. Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition have a constitutional duty—[Interruption.]