The news today that Boris Johnson will try to dissolve Parliament to enable him to push though a “No Deal” Brexit is unfortunately unsurprising. Pandering to the right of the Conservative party and the Brexit party, he will do literally anything to stay in power.
Aside from the dire economic consequences for our country, risking jobs and livelihoods, the risks to national security and infringement of the Good Friday Agreement, his behaviour is constitutionally unprecedented. The UK’s democratic system is envied around the world, yet he is behaving with all the attributes of a dictator, choosing to shut down Parliament rather than face its scrutiny because he knows he does not command its confidence.
This is no way for a Prime Minister and Government to behave.
But I have been working with cross party colleagues for months, preparing for such a moment and I am confident, that despite the Prime Minister’s attempts to reduce the amount of time Parliament has to act before 31st October, we will stop No Deal. We have the strategy and crucially we have the numbers. With Conservative Brexit policy finally unveiled for all to see, the patience of those Conservative MPs who do not support No Deal is over. The well-worn rationale of “now is not the time” has expired. There is no more time. This IS the time.
But this assertion of backbench power and legislation is just step one in our efforts to curtail the powers of this reckless Prime Minister. A vote of no confidence and the installation of a temporary Government of National Unity will swiftly follow if required. And the most powerful antidote of all? That elusive Remain Alliance, if all else fails and we end up in General Election territory.
Over recent weeks and months, I have been working through my Unite to Remain (www.unitetoremain.org) initiative to build a Remain Alliance to win in Westminster, by bringing together the Remain parties and Independent MPs in England and Wales to nominate a single Remain candidate in key parliamentary seats. Following our successful test case in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election, our work has progressed well and I am proud to be working alongside real politicians – those prepared to put country first above themselves and their parties. They understand that if we continue to work along traditional party lines, we will split votes, allowing the ideological fringes of politics to win. With the spectre of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage hanging over our consciences, I know we will achieve what would previously have been considered impossible. We will build a robust Remain Alliance plan in time for any General Election and ensure as many Remain supporting MPs as possible are returned to Parliament.
And yesterday, Luciana Berger MP and Stephen Doughty MP, successfully brought dozens of us, from all parties together, to sign the Church House Declaration. Now standing at over 200 signatures, we agreed to stand shoulder to shoulder and do whatever is required to keep Parliament alive. At this time of uncertainty and grave constitutional crisis, Parliament has an essential role to play. MPs must be able to represent the best interests of their constituents and their country by holding the Government to account. We will not be silenced.
We must not allow the UK to crash out of the EU without a deal and I will continue to work tirelessly with all colleagues to change the path our country is headed on. We can and we will do this.
Over the next 2 weeks, constituents will continue to be understandably worried about what we can do to stop No Deal and my role in Parliament. In addition to my surgeries, I am actively considering whether I should hold another public meeting, as I have done in the past. Much of our anti No Deal strategy in Parliament cannot be shared publicly as you will appreciate, but once this period has passed, please keep an eye on my website for details of such a public meeting.