Corby and East Northants MP Tom Pursglove has laid out his thoughts on prorogation following the announcement of a local protest against the shutdown of Parliament during the run up to Brexit.
The Brexiteer MP, an assistant whip in Boris Johnson’s government, has spoken out following a call from his political opponent Beth Miller, prospective parliamentary candidate for Labour, to rethink his stance on a no-deal Brexit.
A protest in Corby on Tuesday evening is one of dozens taking place across the UK over the Prime Minister’s plan to prorogue Parliament during September and October which dissenters believe could allow the PM to push a no-deal Brexit through Parliament.
Here, in his own words, Mr Pursglove has detailed his thoughts on why he believes the Parliamentary break is a logical step.
He said: “Far from there being any great conspiracy, the reason behind this prorogation is that the current parliamentary session has been the longest for centuries and needs to be brought to a close, enabling the new Government to refresh its legislative programme and announce its ambitions for the forthcoming year.
”This conventional process is something routinely done when there is a change of Government and a normal procedure in our constitution, which culminates in the State Opening of Parliament, which includes the ‘Queen’s Speech’.
“There are several reasons why the Government wants to prorogue at this point in time.
“First, it wants to set out its ambitious legislative priorities, including how it intends to support the NHS, tackle violent crime, invest in infrastructure and cut the cost of living.
”The existing legislative programme has been exhausted - unsurprising given that this has been the longest session in centuries - and rightly, people want us to deliver on these key priority areas as quickly as possible and without needless delay.
“Interestingly, the Opposition have been requesting the Government to do this in Parliament for months - now we have a new Prime Minister in post, it is the right time to do so.
“Second, this is a logical point in the parliamentary calendar to do this. The Government is using time when Parliament would be in recess - as it is every year over the party conference season - and this therefore means we are losing a very small number of sitting days during this period, when compared to past prorogations.
“Unfortunately, however, some politicians have inevitably - as we have come to so predictably expect - jumped on the bandwagon, throwing around all sorts of claims about a “coup” and Parliament being shut down in an abnormal way. Frankly, this is nonsense in a descriptive, historical and practical sense.
“It is also highly ironic that those in Parliament complaining about this the loudest are those who have been at the forefront of consistently riding roughshod over convention and the way things are done for many months - indicative votes, taking control of the order paper and thus controlling the legislative agenda by ramming a major constitutional Bill through in a day, and threatening to install an unelected alternative Government, being just three examples.
”So I am afraid I have little sympathy for their present highly emotive indignation and deliberately misleading “outrage”.
“Many of those individuals, I am afraid, have been masquerading under various pretence for many months - legal, procedural, and technical - when actually, all they really want to do is to cancel Brexit altogether and think they know better than the British people.
“In the end, when MPs voted to hold a referendum in the first place, they voted to respect the result of it - whatever the outcome - by virtue of their actions in voting to hold it. That is how we do things in this country, and with good reason.
“But you also have to ask yourself why don’t they just come out and be honest about their intentions, rather than hiding behind a false prospectus? I would certainly have far more respect for that position - much as I would disagree with it - because it is very frustrating to see some of the biggest critics of ‘no-deal’ for example, refusing to vote for the single best solution to that problem - by voting for a deal, exactly as I did.
”But of course, they simply will not do that, because, despite their protestations about ‘no-deal’, they have no intention whatsoever of respecting the result and voting for a deal either. Sadly, they do not have the courage to just say so and be straight with voters.
“Ultimately, I would caution those individuals that tampering with the cornerstone democratic principle that we respect the outcome of elections and referendums and subsequently implement the results of them, is not a sensible thing to do; not least because it undoubtedly blurs the lines of our democracy more generally.
”I have to say I am sad that through their refusal to accept the result, they have reduced our politics to the state it is in, and it is no surprise when in that climate, normal parliamentary practice gives rise to profound concern and suspicion, given the heightened sense of confusion, frustration and uncertainty their actions have generated.
“The reality is that Parliament has debated Brexit on countless occasions over the past three years and there have been numerous opportunities for the various arguments to be made.
”Following our return from the summer recess next week, and then after prorogation concludes on the 14th October, there remains plenty of time and opportunity for MPs to hold the Government to account, as their number one legislative priority will be to introduce a Withdrawal Agreement Bill, should we be able to reach an agreement with the EU - the Prime Minister’s preferred course. Quite rightly, this legislation will have the appropriate amount of time allocated to debate it yet again.
“On the broader issue of delivering Brexit, the Prime Minister is right to say that this has gone on long enough, there has been too much dither and delay, and the result must now be enacted; not least to end the uncertainty for people and businesses alike.
“In contrast, some would much prefer to string this out and keep going round and round the same loop, with all the uncertainty that brings, but with the simple objective of eventually quashing the result.
”Given that 64% of people in Corby voted to ‘Leave’ and 58% in East Northamptonshire, and whilst I accept not exclusively, I do suspect the vast majority of local people, regardless of how they voted, will share the Prime Minister’s determination to get this done, so that the democratic referendum decision is delivered on and so that as a country we can move on.”