Prorogation of Parliament — [Joan Ryan in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:03 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Labour, Ellesmere Port and Neston 5:03 pm, 9th September 2019

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship for this very important debate, Ms Ryan. I thank my hon. Friend Helen Hayes for her excellent contribution: she spoke a great deal of sense. We probably disagree about some of the eventual outcomes, but her defence of democracy was first class, and I wholeheartedly support it.

Paul Scully talked about a lot of issues, but something I regretted hearing from him was that we should not be here contemplating our navels. That is certainly not something that I do when I am here, and no hon. Member I am aware of spends their time here doing that. They are here representing their constituents and doing their very best for them. It would be wrong to suggest to the public at large that our time here is not important: it is normally well spent.

Many of my constituents signed the petition to block Prorogation. More than 10 times as many added their names to the petition against Prorogation as signed the one to support its implementation. I suspect that the number who are concerned about events will continue to rise. Many constituents have contacted me through social media and email. I agree with them that for the Prime Minister to shut down Parliament at such an important time in our country’s history, in the end stages of the Brexit process with by far the largest negotiations this country has undertaken in at least half a century, is nothing short of an outrage.

The Prime Minister is not content with ignoring Parliament: we know that he ignores his Cabinet colleagues, too. The number of people who were consulted about this decision before it was made was small. It is no wonder that most Cabinet members were not consulted, given that many of them spoke strongly against Prorogation during the Tory leadership campaign. For example, Sajid Javid said:

“You don’t deliver on democracy by trashing democracy.”

Elizabeth Truss said that the idea was an “archaic manoeuvre”. Michael Gove said:

“I think it would be wrong for many reasons. I think it would not be true to the best traditions of British democracy.”

I agree with what they said, even if they do not agree with themselves any more.