LibLink: Chuka Umunna: Dark and dangerous threats against MPs like me are a sign that No 10 and Cummings are getting utterly brazen

The Government is reportedly investigating MPs who have had dialogue with representatives of foreign governments. It also intends to introduce legislation to stop MPs talking to foreign governments. In an article for the Independent, Chuka Umunna said that this had a whiff of the 1930s about it.

However, the right-wing nationalists running the government are now taking things to an altogether different level – this is quite frightening, particularly if they were to get a majority at the general election whenever it comes. They are seeking to persecute and harass MPs by falsely accusing them of colluding with EU governments over Brexit. It is an absurd proposition given that the EU27 and the UK government are all working to ensure the withdrawal agreement Johnson has negotiated with the EU is delivered, and he himself wrote to them over the weekend urging them to ignore parliament’s desire for article 50 to be extended.

This, he said, was a brazen attempt to suppress dissent.

These accusations are made to call into question our loyalty and patriotism. Former Conservative backbenchers and ministers Oliver Letwin and Dominic Grieve, and Brexit Select Committee chair and former Labour minister Hilary Benn are reportedly under investigation.

This has a strong whiff of the 1930s about it – it is a brazen attempt to suppress dissent and persecute political opponents in parliament by this right wing, nationalist government.

One foreign office official put it well today when they said: “Threatening MPs with investigation is something you would expect the government to be stopping abroad, not encouraging at home.”

Chuka describes the importance of the separation of powers and contrasts with the Government’s antipathy to be held to account.

In this home of democracy, the government derives its mandate and legitimacy to govern by being able to command a majority in the House of Commons. Together with the House of Lords, the commons makes the laws and holds the government to account for its actions. The judiciary interprets and upholds the laws passed by parliament and the rule of law. This is how the separation of powers operates in the UK, with the legislature and our judges acting as a check and balance on the abuse of executive power.

And yet Johnson has shown a disregard for free speech and the rule of law and leads a right wing, nationalist Conservative government which, throughout the Brexit process, has attacked the institutions that safeguard our democracy. Sometimes Johnson has joined directly in these actions; on other occasions he lets fellow Brexiters within the nationalist, conservative ecosystem in and around his administration do his dirty work.

You can read Chuka’s whole article here.

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  • nigel hunter 21st Oct '19 - 9:02pm

    Remember that a certain UK MP with a Polish name has visited both Poland and Hungary to ask for help with delivering Brexit. Is he not trying to collude with foriegn powers?

  • Neil Sandison 21st Oct '19 - 9:27pm

    It gets more scarey as each day passes .The conservatives have always had a tendency to treat those that dissent from their agenda as the enemy from within .certainly in the 80s and 90s .But to see that now being revisited by this minority government and likely to be echoed by their Brexit Party fellow travellers should put a shiver down the spine of any liberal democrat because we know where it will lead .

  • I have always thought that those who called the Conservatives “fascists” were exaggerating but this is heading that way. I sense the hand of a certain “advisor” in Downing Street.

  • On Conservative Home this morning there is enthusiastic talk of investigating judges connection with Europe.

  • Perhaps the relevant select committee should launch its own enquiries into who is making vexatious investigations against MPs, as it seems to breach parliamentary privileges.

  • Barry Lofty 22nd Oct '19 - 2:12pm

    Everything I am hearing bares out my thoughts about this very dangerous right-wing government.It is very disturbing to read these claims.

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