No deal must be taken off the table first

Local MPs for Rochdale and Heywood and Middleton, Tony Lloyd and Liz McInnes, have rejected the notion of a no deal Brexit for the UK.

Both Ms McInnes and Mr Lloyd voted for the motion to take control of Commons business on Tuesday (3 September).

Addressing this, Mr Lloyd said: “There is no mandate for a no deal Brexit from the referendum or from Parliament. Government’s own documents demonstrate the threat of food, fuel and medicine shortages and that is dangerous. No one should kid themselves that this is Project Fear.

“We should fear instead, a no deal Brexit which is the biggest threat to people in Rochdale, and what we are seeing is terrible arrogance from a government which would cause enormous harm to jobs, living standards, and slashing workers’ rights and protections, seemingly without a care. It would also open the way for the Conservative party to sell off public services and our NHS through a Donald Trump trade deal. No wonder 21 conservative MPs voted against their own government.

“I voted against the Government in order to stop no deal Brexit, and we will legislate against Boris Johnson crashing out with no deal. With Boris Johnson shutting down Parliament and failing to make any progress in negotiations with the EU, we have been forced into these taking these steps in order to prevent a disastrous no deal Brexit on 31 October.

“Boris Johnson is in a very desperate position; he is the first Prime Minister to lose his first Commons vote since Lord Rosebery in 1894, and, by sacking 21 of his own MPs, we now have a minority government.

“I would welcome a general election in order to sweep away the Conservative government, and to end austerity and invest in our communities. However, I cannot support an election on Boris Johnson’s terms, to use a general election to force through a disastrous no deal Brexit.

“No deal must be taken off the table first.”

Ms McInnes said: “We have to stop Prime Minister Johnson allowing this country to crash out of the EU with no deal – whether that’s by his attempt to prorogue Parliament or by some other means.

“The job of Parliament is to hold the government to account and we cannot allow Boris Johnson to ride roughshod over our democracy in the manner he proposes.

“I will be voting with my colleagues and others to reject no deal.

“We have to be really careful that by supporting an election we’re not effectively proroguing Parliament. In fact, before the summer recess, I was warning of the possibility of exactly that happening, and it looks as though that may be what Prime Minister Johnson is trying to do.

“I’d like to see a rejection of Johnson’s plan to prorogue Parliament and I think the numbers are there to do it. Remember that this government no longer has a majority and Mr Johnson’s decision to withdraw the whip from Conservative MPs who vote against him shows how rattled he is.

“We are heading for conference recess and again that means three weeks in our constituencies or at our conferences. I think we should give serious consideration to Parliament being recalled for at least part of this period of time, given the seriousness of the situation that the UK faces.”

MPs debated and then passed the Brexit delay bill in the Commons on Wednesday (4 September), which would force Boris Johnson to ask for a delay to Brexit until at least 31 January 2020.

As soon as the defeat was announced, Boris Johnson tabled a motion for a snap early general election on 15 October – but he failed to get the backing of enough MPs.

Speaking on Thursday afternoon (5 September), the Prime Minister said he would “rather be dead in a ditch” than ask the EU to delay Brexit beyond 31 October.

Lawyers have said the decision to suspend parliament is “an unlawful abuse of power,” however, the legal challenge over Boris Johnson’s decision has today (6 September) been rejected by High Court Judges.

An appeal is expected to be heard at the Supreme Court on 17 September.

As the prospect of a general election emerges, approximately 200,000 people applied to register to vote in 72 hours, with more than half under the age of 35.

MPs will get another chance to vote for an early election on Monday, the government has announced.

This article was first published on Rochdale Online on 6th September 2019.