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Early Parliamentary General Election (No. 2)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:06 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party 11:06 pm, 9th September 2019

We are the responsible party in this room, and we do not want to crash out with no deal. There is also the issue of trust in a Prime Minister who is unable to answer any questions and is desperate to suspend Parliament to avoid any scrutiny.

Thirdly, if the Prime Minister is making progress, as he told the House last week, why did the Taoiseach tell him only this morning that he was yet to receive realistic, legally binding and workable plans. That was only this morning, so the Prime Minister must be able to remember it. Perhaps he could explain why the Taoiseach felt the need to say that. [Interruption.] I realise the desperation of the Tory party when all it can do is rearrange the mics on the Titanic.

Finally, since the Prime Minister did not bother to turn up—[Interruption.] With great respect, I inform Conservative Members that I have no intention of giving way to any of them, okay? Since the Prime Minister did not bother to turn up for the previous debate, will he respect the law and implement the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 if he has negotiated an agreement that is backed by this House on 19 October?

This Parliament is not a platform for the Prime Minister’s games. It is a Chamber in which the elected representatives of the people hold the Executive to account. That is what parliamentary democracy is about. The Prime Minister has been asked four simple questions—[Interruption.] I am not giving way.

The Prime Minister is talking up no deal to one wing of his party and talking up getting a deal to another. The sad reality is that he is not preparing adequately for the first and not negotiating at all for the other. Sunday 15 September is International Day of Democracy, when the UN celebrates Governments being held accountable to their national Parliaments in a democracy. This Government are only interested in shutting down Parliament to avoid any scrutiny. The Prime Minister’s obfuscations and evasions are being rumbled both at home and abroad, and that is why he does not answer questions and is so keen to avoid any scrutiny.

Tonight the Prime Minister will be attempting to prorogue Parliament for one of the longest Prorogations there has ever been—shutting down Parliament, shutting down democracy, avoiding questions, and taking this country over the cliff of a no-deal exit, with all the damage that will do to many of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in our society and all the damage it will do to trade and jobs, and all because he wants to take this country in the direction of a trade deal solely with the USA rather than anybody else. We are not walking into traps laid by this Prime Minister.