I would like to update you in relation to yesterday’s vote in the House of Commons.
In recent weeks the possibility has been raised that Parliament might be suspended, ‘prorogued’, in order to avoid scrutiny in the run up to October 31st, the date on which the UK will leave the EU unless a further extension is sought. This is associated with a possible ‘no deal’, about which Parliament has expressed great concern, with a strong preference to leave the EU with an agreement, which would safeguard trade, business and many other aspects of leaving, including the complex border issue of Northern Ireland and the Republic. The suggestion has been that to avoid such scrutiny, Parliament might not sit, thus allowing a ‘no deal’ to happen. I have always held the view that a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU carries substantial risks to my constituents, and that I would seek to oppose such an outcome while an agreement, to leave, not remain in the EU, in our mutual interest was sought seriously.
While both leadership candidates have made their preference to leave with a deal clear, and not to use prorogation as a device, Boris Johnson has not ruled out prorogation.
In order to prevent such a possibility, which I believe would be highly damaging to the constitution of the UK, I proposed with Hillary Benn MP an all-party amendment yesterday. It was carried by a substantial majority.
The outcome is that Parliament is likely to remain sitting throughout October, enabling it to represent constituents at a crucial time.
It offers no definitive view on ‘no deal’ or a deal, but ensures that MPs will be able to give a view on whatever the Government might propose. It does not bind the hands of a new Prime Minister.
I remain of my view regularly expressed, and demonstrated by my votes in Parliament, that the UK should leave the EU, with an agreement, in the best interests of the UK, and with the best opportunity of a good future relationship with the EU. I very much hope that this will be the outcome of our discussions before October 31st and will be wishing the new Prime Minister well as he seeks this.