+++Jo Swinson: PM is trying to remove the voice of the people

Responding to the reports that the Government is expected to ask the Queen to suspend Parliament from mid-September, Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson said:

Shutting down Parliament would be an act of cowardice from Boris Johnson. He knows the people would not choose a No Deal and that elected representatives wouldn’t allow it. He is trying to stifle their voices.

By suspending Parliament to force through a No Deal, Boris Johnson and the Government would remove the voice of the people at the most important time. It is a dangerous and unacceptable course of action which the Liberal Democrats will strongly oppose.

Yesterday, MPs from all parties united to avert a disastrous No Deal Brexit and to prevent an anti-democratic shut down of Parliament.

We did this because a No Deal Brexit would be a catastrophe for our country. The Government itself has admitted that this will cause food and medicine shortages.

The Liberal Democrats will continue both our cross-party efforts to prevent No Deal, and our fight to stop Brexit altogether.”

Tom Brake tweeted:

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  • Declaration of war? A bit over the top Mr Brake.

    Personally I believe Boris is respecting the voice of the people. He is quite rightly ignoring unrepresentative MPs.

    Let’s see how the VONC pans out.

  • So the die is cast.

    Call VONC, give Corbyn a chance to form a government, if he fails give someone else a go. One week is not enough time to fanny about deciding who is the best person to be the leader. Just put all options to the vote and see where the dust settles.

  • trying to remove the voice of the people?

    That’s a bit ironic isn’t it?

    This party is calling for a 2nd referendum to give the people the “final say” and yet even if a 2nd referendum was granted and the result was again for leave, this party would not support leave and would still continue to do everything possible to stop it. That is not giving the people the “final say”
    The remainers position is to stop brexit at all costs.
    Well the leavers position is to leave at all costs.

    Proroguing parliament for a queens speech is entirely in order, we have a new administration with a new legislative program. And besides, opposition parties will have an opportunity to vote down the queens speech, which correct me if I am wrong, amounts to a vote of no confidence and a new election.

  • @John Peters “Personally I believe Boris is respecting the voice of the people. He is quite rightly ignoring unrepresentative MPs.”

    MPs were elected by the people; in a representative democracy, they ARE the voice of the people.

    The Brexit vote was won partly on the basis of “restoring sovereignty back to the UK Parliament from Brussels”. Parliament is Sovereign and the PM should be bound by its decisions, not the other way round.

  • Johnson has disgraced our nation.

  • Nonconformistradical 28th Aug '19 - 11:00am

    “Johnson has disgraced our nation.”


  • The opposition parties need to play this very carefully. If they force a GE through a vote of no confidence they could lose – the polls indicate a Tory victory with a decent majority. If they vote for Corbyn to become PM, that could be even worse. It will take a better mind than mine to work this out, but I think you should try and avoid an election at this time.

  • @Russell Simpson
    ” Clearly if a Final Say ref delivered a 51/49 Leave vote, then that would be that.”
    Please provide evidence for that? Please show me where your party and that of other remainers have said that they will respect the result of a 2nd vote entirely.
    Because as far as I am aware, the policy of the party and that of the Europhilles is that they will block Brexit at all costs.

    Even if another referendum was “binding” because parliament is sovereign there would be nothing stopping a new administration from refusing to enact the legislation, it would still requite votes from MP’s, which would allow remainers again to throw their spanners in the works.
    Lets say we saw a new general election that returned a Government which included Liberal Democrats, followed by a referendum result that resulted again in a vote for leave, can you honestly tell me a Liberal Democrat would honour that result and deliver brexit, or would they run off to brussels and revoke article 50?
    I know where my money is betting.

  • When will we wake up? There has been a slow gentle coup in the U.K., starting with extremist Brexiters refusing three times to leave the EU with a deal, the Queen inviting in the most right wing govt since thatcher without showing it can command any sort of majority in the house, now she will approve prorogation for political purposes, and it will likely briefly bring BJ down – but it’s exactly what he wants.

    A hereditary head of state, an unelected upper house, a broken system for the lower house, and an extremist PM doing what he likes. help!

  • Dilettante Eye 28th Aug '19 - 11:15am

    “surely leavers voted leave to “take back control” – Johnson is taking control away from Parliament”

    No he isn’t. Leavers want to take back control, and Keep It here in our elected British parliament.

    Remainers don’t want to ‘take back control’. Remainers want to ‘hand control back over to the EU’.

    That’s not going to happen. Once UK sovereignty returns, it stays here

  • So much for restoring the sovereignty of parliament.

  • David Becket 28th Aug '19 - 11:19am

    The 37% of the public who voted to leave (I can pull the same trick as the Daily Telegraph) did not vote to leave without a deal and wreck the economy.

    Johnson is clearing the decks to force through a no deal.

    Johnson was not elected by the electors of the UK, but by a few elderly right wingers..

    Brexit was sold as taking back control. Instead we have handed control to a right wing dictator with little respect for truth or democracy.

    We have been taken over by a right wing coup that would be more fitting in a banana republic, which is where Johnson belongs.

    The only democratic response is to put the final decision back to the people

  • Bless well our Brexi’s and Lexi’s are in full cry conveniently forgetting they campaigned to bring power back to Westminster from Brussels, still as long as they get their precious breit or Lexit. Brexit has had so many consequences, for example

    LGBT people ‘don’t feel safe in Birmingham, especially since Brexit’, police say


    Who was to know that by voting for a far right wet dream, you’d be voting to increase gay bashing, ironic isn’t it. There will be other consequences from the foolish decision to open Pandora’s box, alas our Brexi’s and Lexi’s are so enamoured with the unicorn of Brexit they’ll never accept the consequences have anything to do with them. Still as long as no hurty words are used they’ll be fine.

  • David,

    be fare some of our posters think they are left wing. Yes I know voting for the hard right and following the hard-right while deluding yourself you can have Lexit or it isn’t really a hard-right is delusional, but they like delusion and they certainly don’t like facts or responsibility.

  • Here’s Craig Oliver’s perceptive comment:

    “I suspect Number 10 believes it has created a win win scenario with this explosive announcement. Yes – and they get Brexit by October 31st; No – and they get to fight a ‘people versus parliament’ general election.”


  • @TCO
    There is a disconnect between the public and the MPs as to whether MPs should use their own judgement or not. The public think not. In the case of a referendum it becomes ludicrous to believe MPs are meant to use their judgement.

  • David Westaby 28th Aug '19 - 12:02pm

    To those who consider this a process justified by the 2016 referendum they should take a long look at themselves . There is no mandate in parliament or the country for a no deal brexit. Many of those who wish to prevent a no deal brexit would vote for a negotiated deal. They are not trying to reverse the referendum result ( although my personal choice would be a confirmatory referendum) They are representing their electorate . The prorogation of parliament is removing their ability to influence the outcome. This is indeed a coup which might be successful but will set a precedent that will have long term implications.

  • Andrew McCaig 28th Aug '19 - 12:10pm
  • Sandra Hammett 28th Aug '19 - 12:18pm

    I don’t believe that it is a coincidence that the PM decided to prorogue parliament the day after the anti-Brexit goup agreed to avoid a No Deal through a legislative route. This continues to be a political arms race, increasing the polarisation that both sides CLAIM to be trying to heal.
    If the anti-Brexit group had decided to call vote a VoNC, I don’t think the PM would be doing this, he would have believed he could win and we should have united and gathered support, strengthened, to beat him in his complacency.

  • David Allen 28th Aug ’19 – 10:56am……………Johnson has disgraced our nation…………

    He hasn’t disgraced me, nor a majority of the population. What he has disgraced is himself, his party and anyone who believes that such an action reflects the meaning of a ‘parliamentary democracy’,

    To compound the disgrace he hasn’t even the guts to admit his real reason for this action.

  • @Andrew

    Thank you for that link, I had not been aware of that.

    I would have more faith in Mp’s though to honour the result of the referendum as long as the electorate had a “back stop” in order to hold the MP to account.

    So what I am proposing is that before a new referendum is legislated for, we have a change in law to the right of recall, where as, any mp that votes for a 2nd referendum is bound by their vote and thus faces an automatic recall in their constituency should they fail in parliament to respect the result of that referendum and vote to enact the result.

    Remainers have done everything in their power to thwart the result of the last referendum, they have conspired with EU officials in order to thwart brexit and strengthen the hand of the EU at the every opportunity, they have lead the EU officials to believe that the remainers in Westminster would be able to overturn the result of the referendum which has enabled the EU to not negotiate a proper deal in good faith.

    I find it ironic that now Leavers start to use strong arm tactics in response, we know start hearing the wailing from the remain camp.

  • William Fowler 28th Aug '19 - 12:30pm

    Considering that Boris has oft been described as a buffoon, etc on this site, this move does illustrate that all that expensive education was not entirely wasted, the result gives the impression that there will still be a debate pre-Brexit day and most people probably won’t pay much attention to MP’s having an extended break for their conferences. It does ramp up the pressure on the EU who will have to finally decide just how resolute they are on the WA and if they do concede they gets loadsa money and a genteel transition period to sort out the FTA. Who is going to vote against such a WA if the result is no deal? Seems win, win for the Tories, they either come out as heroes for facing down the EU or the EU gets the blame for no-deal and Boris rolls on to a GE on radically slashing tax.

  • Martin – they can only do that if no other govt is formed within the 14 days of losing the vonc.

    So its incumbent on the opposition to coalesce around someone (anybody) to do the extension & hold the GE pre Brexit.

    But they wont because there is too much bickering over who should be the leader when, in the grand scheme of things, it matters not a jot.

  • @John Peters “There is a disconnect between the public and the MPs as to whether MPs should use their own judgement or not. The public think not.”

    You have no evidence for what “the public” think.

    “In the case of a referendum it becomes ludicrous to believe MPs are meant to use their judgement.”

    The referendum advised the previous government of the Nation’s wishes. Theresa May dissolved that government, then lost a majority.

    @Nick Collins “I seldom agree with TCO. On this occasion I do.”

    It’s like entering cold water. Once you’re in, you find it’s great 🙂

  • Bobby Copper 28th Aug '19 - 1:13pm


    It wasn’t just extremist Brexiteers who voted three times to refuse a deal

  • Andrew Melmoth 28th Aug '19 - 1:17pm

    A VoNC followed by an interim government extending article 50 and calling a general election was the only realistic plan to stop No Deal. Like it or not with a vote share of 40% in the 2017 election only Corbyn has sufficient democratic legitimacy to lead such a government. By torpedoing that plan Jo Swinson has put Johnson and Cummings in the driving seat. Start stocking up if you haven’t already.

  • Bill le Breton 28th Aug '19 - 1:22pm

    A critical part of a General Election campaign is what is known as the Near Term campaign – often it takes place in November before a Spring Election. It lays down concerns which are triggered later by the main campaign. – Think Big Tax bombshell etc.

    The actions today are the start of the Near Term campaign. You can bet it has been carefully organised and ‘messaged’.

    The trap set by Cummings is already sprung. He has got his opposition talking process.

    I am sure that debating constitutions and referring to Richard III or Charles I is exactly the response he wants.

    Our response needs to be about people. It has to appeal to emotions, not logic or ‘rules’.

    It has to lay down the foundations of fearfulness.

    Fear beats anger. He’s appealing to the anger of a large element of the public. He is appealing to a sense of fairness among another segment. Fear trumps that too.

    “This is frightening. This is the the unknown. This is desperation. This hints of madness.”

  • John Marriott 28th Aug '19 - 1:23pm

    What a shambles! If this is what taking back control is all about, please can I have my money back? In support of his Enabling Act, Hitler asked the Reichstag to give him “five years”. How much time does Johnson want?

    We are in for a few interesting months. In fact, we might want to change that to a few interesting weeks. In this game of poker, Johnson would appear to have revealed his hand. Now it’s up to his opponents to reveal theirs.

  • Barry Lofty 28th Aug '19 - 1:27pm

    Boris Johnson was a disgrace before he became PM, I cannot believe the UK are willing to support our version of Donald Trump but there again!!!?

  • David Allen 28th Aug '19 - 1:45pm

    Dan M-B “they wont because there is too much bickering over who should be the leader”

    Corbyn’s response, when asked about who should be the leader, has been to explain why he thinks it should be him. That falls short of an insistence that it can only be him. I would draw the conclusion that he thinks that, if he is to concede leadership to somebody else, then he could and should demand a high price.

    I think that would be fair. Labour need it to be clearly seen that the emergency government is their idea and that they are its main force. The other parties need it to be clearly seen that the emergency government is not controlled by Labour and will not take actions that have not been generally agreed by its partners. That is the basis for a fair compromise, and if the opposition parties cannot reach such a compromise, they will all share the blame for a No Deal Brexit disaster.

  • Jayne Mansfield 28th Aug '19 - 2:24pm

    Given an unwillingness to compromise over the past three years, the increasingly nasty polarisation of the two tribes, no dealers at one pole and their mirror image at the opposite pole, there really has been an ongoing fantasy that politicians like Boris would not trigger the nuclear option.

    This appalling event was all too predictable. I am not too sure what can be done at this late stage, although I hope that something can be done.

  • Excellent piece of strategy by our leader to request an urgent meeting with the Queen. That is leadership.

  • John Peters 28th Aug '19 - 2:50pm


    “As Burke found 250 years ago, constituents have very different ideas, with 63% of Britons saying that MPs are elected “to act according to the wishes of their constituents, even when this goes against their own judgement”. In contrast to the system Burke proposed, this is the ‘delegate model of representation’.

    Leave voters are much more likely than Remain voters (78% versus 57%) to think MPs are supposed to act according to their constituents’ wishes, as are Conservative voters when compared to Labour voters (81% versus 60%).”


  • David Evans 28th Aug '19 - 2:52pm

    Clearly Boris Johnson has decided to drag the Queen into politics in an attempt to get his own way and force through a catastrophic No Deal Brexit. However, perhaps the key words are “the Government is expected to ask the Queen …” and it is not clear if Jacob Rees Mogg and his two Conservative sidekicks carefully chosen to avoid the risk of any sort of discussion of the issue have met with the Queen to ask this diabolical question yet.

    Perhaps if the Queen said “I think I need a little more time to think about this and get some further advice from all my Queen’s Council and not just three of you, …” it might just bring Boris up short and point out her displeasure at being used in this way. Clearly Boris Johnson is prepared to do anything and drag anyone else through the mire of his own creation in order to get his own way.

    He has to be stopped.

  • Peter Hayes 28th Aug '19 - 2:57pm

    Matt, I rather like the idea of a recall. Our Conservative MP is totally loyal to the whips but his constituency voted remain twice, referendum and EU election. Maybe the LibDems can regain the seat in a by-election ;>)

  • jayne Mansfield 28th Aug '19 - 3:10pm

    @ David Evans,
    Unfortunately the Queen has not said that.

  • Nick Collins 28th Aug '19 - 3:12pm

    For those who have not seen it, there is a parliamentary petition against prorogation. The link is https//petitions.parliament.uk/petitions269157

    @ TCO I’ll try not to make a habit of it. I shall be 77 next month so frequent immersion, or a long sojourn, in cold water could be too great a shock to my system.

  • Jonathan Linin 28th Aug '19 - 3:18pm

    I just have the most intense feeling of frustration. The referendum was won with lies, and cheating on election expenses, even then the public was told we would definitely get a trade deal with Europe, not to mention hundreds of millions of pounds to the NHS (whose logo was appropriated by the leave campaign) and absolutely no mention of Northern Ireland. Once the result was in we were told that was it, no second run even if every element of what was promised turned out to be false.
    The referendum itself, and everything that has followed from it has never been about the needs of the country, but purely about power struggles in the Tory party. Our whole future broken on the personal ambition of one or two individuals.
    And now those who wanted to return sovereignty to the UK parliament are showing the ultimate hypocrisy by stopping parliament (as well as the people) expressing its will.
    What now ?, I will have to put up with the Mail and Telegraph telling me that Boris is protecting democracy in Orwellian double speak. How do we fight this ?

  • It’s so funny watching the Pan-European ideologues, who having spent 3 years plotting to block leaving the EU, now whining about a “no deal Brexit” their own inability to accept loss all but ensured. But but but, it was advisory, parliament is representative, the vote was unfair, our opponents are beastly and we’re nice, so we should win automatically even when we keep losing. And of course none of the backroom political deals cooked up by the anti-democratic pan-Europeanists to force the EU on Britain was ever put to a public vote, because they wouldn’t have won those either
    As a certain gentlemen might say, bless

  • Remain obsessed MPs have spent years conniving with the Speaker to bend every constitutional procedure in an attempt to undermine Brexit. The EU meanwhile, have no intention of negotiating with the UK government whilst these people are busy dismantling the UK ‘s negotiating leverage. Loss of four days of the House sitting is now prompting hysterical hypocrisy.

    Parliament has three times voted down a deal, albeit a bad one and during a six month extension has failed to agree on anything. The democratic decision of the electorate has been denied for long enough. Further delay will be more damaging to business and parliamentary democracy than a no deal brexit. Johnson is at least honouring the referendum result which was on a simple leave/remain vote. Get on with it.

  • Peter 28th Aug ’19 – 3:47pm…………….. Further delay will be more damaging to business and parliamentary democracy than a no deal brexit………………

    Strange then how the pound drops when a no-deal looks likely, and vice-versa. Still, keep writing your own fiction rather than facts.

  • @ expats
    Business leaders have prepared for no deal. They fear yet another delay which would plunge their environment into more months of uncertainty.

    The markets are worried about a no deal exit. I believe that the threat of a no deal provides the best chance of getting a deal. I know that the EU and Remainers want no deal to be removed so that we have endless extensions to article 50. They hope that in that situation the only way out would be to revoke A50.

    The public, including most of those who voted to remain, would never accept that cynical approach.

  • Mark Seaman 28th Aug '19 - 4:47pm

    As a piece of backdrop information, I make it that 28 pro Brexit Tories voted against the deal in the 3rd vote. The vote was lost by 58 votes so even if they had all changed their minds it would have lost by two votes. The DUP in that event could have swung the vote, but they were simply not going to accept the Backdrop as they felt it weakened their link to the rest of the UK.

  • Peter 28th Aug ’19 – 4:42pm………………[email protected] expats, Business leaders have prepared for no deal. They fear yet another delay which would plunge their environment into more months of uncertainty………………

    Another fiction,,,40% of businesses who deal with the EU have made no provision for a no-deal. Mind you that’s hardly surprising as, a couple of weeks ago, Johnson said the chance of a no-deal Brexit was ‘a million to one’.

  • Paul Barker 28th Aug '19 - 5:37pm

    Can I ask everyone to sign the Petition – “Do not prorogue Parliament” ; its up to 545,000 so far & rising by 1,500 a minute.
    This is about the existence of The UK as a Country.

  • Bless Peter you do know the day after no deal it is off to Brussels to try to get a deal and then the uncertainty starts again. Of cause not that takes a degree of forward thinking and you can’t see past Brexit day. Every day must be a wonder to you.
    When the price comes due, none of your ex-remain friends are going to say “O well played Glen, we are back”, your stuck with the right wing mad and bad for life, bless.

  • Even those that think they are prepared probably are not. How can you prepare for something that changes everyday, nay every minute. Preparing for stupid is very hard to do.

  • Dilettante Eye 28th Aug '19 - 7:42pm


    “Preparing for stupid is very hard to do.”

    I guess we’ll just have to take your word for it?

  • I didn’t vote leave which led to this mess, alas a claim you can’t make not so diligent eye. As Forest said “Stupid is as stupid does” which pretty much sums up the Brexi’s and Lexi’s. Still as we enter the school for fools ( unless of cause your a disaster capitalist) I expect a rapid learning curve to develop for you and your ilk, of cause some won’t make it to graduation, sad but unfortunately true.

  • Geoffrey Dron 29th Aug '19 - 2:25am

    @Peter – yes the public, including a goodly slice of 2016 remain voters, will accept Brexit even without a deal, but only if sanctioned in a GE or referendum.

    What they won’t accept, as the latest YouGov poll shows, is parliament being excluded from the chance to debate


  • Surely a VONC should be tabled first day back and, if every MP puts their money where their mouth is, especially Tory “rebels”, then it would be won. Then we can have a GE. Every party except Lab has a clear position on Brexit, and even they would have to come up with one. The new Parliament would represent the “will of the people”. I know that FPTP is an issue here but as the Lib Dems did not make changing it a red line in 2010, then that is what we’ve got. This is a better way forward, in my view, than another referendum because the losers (on either side) will not accept it and we will be discussing Brexit in perpetuity, Meanwhile back at Education, NHS, Social Care, Police, Environment ….

  • I’ve just sent the following complaint to the BBC regarding the Victoria Derbyshire programme currently being shown…

    7 Conservative party members/voters in a panel of 12 supposedly ‘cross section’ panelists. You can you possibly defend yourselves from any accusation of pro government bias when only 2 Labour supporters and 2 Llibdems are on this panel? An absolute disgrace.

  • Peter Hirst 29th Aug '19 - 6:29pm

    If there’s no rules, the strongest rule; it the law of the jungle. Why are british politicians so averse to a stronger legal framework to our governance? Every parent knows that firm rules are needed for a harmonious family life.

  • Boris Johnson may well succeed in ‘railroading’ this country into a no-deal Brexit but, if all the balanced forecasts are correct, his will be a pyrric victory.

    The irreparable damage to the UK economy may well be overtaken by irreparable damage to the UK itself.
    In March 1707 Queen Anne gave her assent to the Treaty of Union; Queen Elizabeth 2nd’s assent in August 2019 may well be the prelude to it’s end.

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