The Prime Minister’s explosive request to suspend Parliament in the run-up to the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU, has split opinions among Stratford District’s two Tory MPs.
The move, which would cut the amount of time MPs would have to pass laws to prevent a no-deal Brexit, was described as a ‘constitutional outrage’ by the speaker of the house John Bercow.
It would mean Parliament would be suspended until 12th October, when a Queen’s speech would be presented to the house.
The UK is currently set to leave the EU on 31st October and MPs opposed to a no-deal scenario have pledged to try and push forward legislation to prevent such an outcome.
After being contacted by the Herald, Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi revealed that he supported Boris Johnson’s actions, while Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright believes the fullest possible time should be set aside to enable Parliament to scrutinise the Government’s actions.
Mr Zahawi said: “The current session of Parliament has lasted more than 340 days and has been the longest session in almost 400 years. As the Prime Minister said in a letter to MPs, “Bills have been introduced, which, while worthy in their own right, have at times seemed more about filling time in both the Commons and the Lords, while key Brexit legislation has been held back to ensure it could still be considered for carry-over into a second session. This cannot continue”.
“I fully agree with the Prime Minister and therefore support his request to the Queen that she end the current parliamentary session in September and hold a Queen’s speech on Monday 14 October. We urgently need to get on with helping the NHS, fighting violent crime, investing in infrastructure and cutting the cost of living for people up and down the country.
“After the Queen’s speech, MPs will have ample time to debate the Government’s new legislative programme in the usual way. Parliament will also be able to hold votes on any deal with the EU that the Prime Minister achieves should he succeed in securing requisite changes.”
While Mr Wright does not dismiss the idea of the UK leaving the EU on 31st October, even without a deal, he argues that a Queen’s speech could instead be put before Parliament after that deadline.
Mr Wright said: “The Prime Minister is right to say that the current legislative session has lasted much longer than usual, and I can agree that a renewed domestic policy agenda would be a good idea. It is perfectly normal for a new Government to wish to set out such as new agenda in a Queen’s Speech, and that involves proroguing Parliament for a period of weeks. However, we are not in perfectly normal times.
“The Prime Minister has decided that the UK must leave the EU, if necessary, with no deal on the 31st October. That leaves less than a month for Parliament, as the body whose constitutional job it is, to test the soundness of that decision. Although it is true that the current Parliamentary timetable envisages several weeks of Parliamentary recess to allow for party conferences in that period anyway. I for one would readily forgo those weeks of party-political activity in favour of urgent national debate on a time limited issue of huge significance and I don’t think I would be the only MP to do so. That recess does not need to happen.
“So, the question becomes not is it valid and important for the new Government to bring forward a Queen’s Speech, to which the answer is yes. The question is rather is it more important to do that in October (as opposed to a month later for example) than to discuss the Brexit process fully while it is still relevant to do so.
“So unlike many of those expressing their outrage at the Prime Minister’s announcement today, I do not reject out of hand the Prime Minister’s case for leaving on the 31st October, if necessary with no deal, but it is a decision of huge significance and the Government should be prepared to defend it and to accept and to respond to detailed scrutiny of it, especially given there is a deal, imperfect but viable, still available. Allowing the fullest possible time for that to happen is the clearest possible sign of a Government confident in its decision making and, more importantly, the clearest recognition that Government must take Parliament with it in this course of action