Swinson: Parliament should be sitting so we can question PM

Responding to the Supreme Court ruling that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful, Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson said:

The court have found what we all knew all along, Boris Johnson has again proven he is not fit to be Prime Minister.

This shutdown was an unlawful act designed to stop Parliament doing its job and holding the Government to account. Given this verdict, Parliament should be sitting so that we can continue to question the Conservative Government on their disastrous Brexit plans.

This verdict has been unanimously agreed by experienced judges who have considered the case on its merits, acting as impartial guardians of our democratic system. The rule of law is an important pillar of our democracy, and those looking to use this opportunity as an excuse to attack these judges would be not only attacking them, but also the entire principle of our legal system.

It remains the Liberal Democrats priority to stop no-deal Brexit and to stop Brexit altogether.

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  • David Becket 24th Sep '19 - 12:19pm

    We are in grave danger of throwing away the opportunity a mendacious PM who acts unlawfully and a chaotic leader of the opposition provides.
    This is not just about Brexit, it is about a PM who believes he can do anything he wants. The danger is that on current predictions he could win a general election and impose his far right policies on this country for five years. That one third of the country appears to support him causes me to lose my faith in human nature.
    We should be offering a government that acts lawfully and will not follow an extremest path. We will clear the decks and attack the real issues. Top of the list must be Climate Change followed by inequality. Stop banging on about Brexit and offer a stable government addressing the real issues of the day.

  • nigel hunter 24th Sep '19 - 12:32pm

    It was illegal to close it down for so long. Going back continues the fight for or agin Brexit. It does not close the conversation down.. Yes ,he will use it as an excuse to say that Parliament opposes ‘the will of the people’. Yes there are other problems that need tackling. The biggest problem is global environment . It will mean major changes to the Planet .If the human race dies cos of our abuse of the PLanet all other human problems (including Brexit)will have been solved!

  • The leader of the opposition must call a vote of no confidence and the liberal democrats must support that, otherwise these words from Jo that the pm is unfit to govern is hollow to say the least.
    Let’s have an election and let the people decide now.

    I can hardly see a government of national unity under Corbyn happening considering the kind of policies that labour have been announcing at conference and if libdems did allow that to happen they would be opening a can of worms of what would happen with Corbyn in power, I cannot c how any relationship could happen between the parties.
    Vote of no confidence now and a new election

  • Richard Underhill 24th Sep '19 - 12:51pm

    Speaker Bercow has announced that the Commons will sit on 25/9/2019 at 11.30.
    Urgent Notice questions will be allowed.
    There will be no PMQ.
    Boris is in New York at the UN. Seven meetings are planned with Heads of Government who may each ponder to what extent Boris has authority to do anything.
    “Parliament has not been prorogued”

  • Dilettante Eye 24th Sep '19 - 12:57pm

    “It remains the Liberal Democrats priority to stop no-deal Brexit and to stop Brexit altogether.”

    So we need a General Election now, to see if stopping Brexit is ‘the will of the people’.?

  • The Prime Minister unlawfully advised the Queen on a significant matter, leading to an unlawful action. How can he remain as her principle minister?

  • David Allen 24th Sep '19 - 1:08pm

    Before we race to call for an election, let’s not forget that that is precisely what Johnson has been desperately angling for. He wants a fever-pitch “people versus parliament” election, which he thinks – rightly – that he could win.

    Corbyn will surely be tempted to call a No Confidence vote. If so he should be dissuaded. The priority must be to get Boris to resign.

  • @david
    Boris is not going to resign and rightly so.

    So if this party is going to throw around accusations that he is unfit to be prime minister then it should back up those claims by persuading Corbyn to call a vote of no confidence and it should support that, otherwise it is just a hollow accusation.

    If liberal democrats are so sure if their position on Brexit then they should have the confidence to go to the electorate with their proposals. Somehow I don’t think the opposition parties are going to do that as they are not confident

  • Richard Underhill 24th Sep '19 - 1:17pm

    1) “You have sat here too long for any good you can do, in the name of God, GO.”
    2) “You have sat here too long for any good you can do, in the name of God, GO.”
    3) ditto

  • Dilettante Eye 24th Sep '19 - 1:24pm

    David Allen

    Well for sure, a stitched up 2nd referendum would be boycotted and the result ignored, so a GE is the only route forward now, and resigning is the very last thing Boris should do.

    If you are so sure of your case over revoking Brexit, why are Lib Dem remainers unwilling to allow the voice of the people in a GE to determine who should represent them, and the UK in terms of dealing with Brexit?

  • David,
    We all the ablity to be delusional, angry and not very bright. The Brexit project relies on those traits, it is powered by delusion, anger and ignorance. The sad fact is delusion, anger and ignorance will only get you so far before reality shreds it, leaving you shivering, naked and wondering how did I end up like this or dead ( quite often dead is the outcome). Our brave Brexiteers are experiencing the first waves of reality and it is making them very angry and very confused, it will not get better for them what ever the outcome. As to the rest if us, well we must hope our better half holds out and we do not sucumbe to delusion and stupidity, because we will need every shred of rationality we can muster to get through the mess they voted for.

  • I suspect the next set of opinion polls will see little change ( apart from Labour’s share that I feel will be down), the Brexiteers will double down and double down again in an effort to avoid looking at the clown in the mirror, alas for them that clown isn’t going anywhere it is just applying more clown makeup.

  • Paul Barker 24th Sep '19 - 2:24pm

    Ideally, this rotten Government should be replaced by a temporary Administration led by a “Neutral” Figure, one that could ask for an Extension for a real purpose, either an Election in the Spring or a Referendum in The Summer.
    The Polls have been fairly stable, suggesting that Voters need more time to absorb everything that has happened. Plus, no-one wants an Election just before Xmas.

  • William Fowler 24th Sep '19 - 2:49pm

    Corbyn as PM, Spreadsheet Phil as chancellor, Jo as deputy PM, etc… six months for a People’s Vote whilst the new govn has such disparate views that nothing else can get done, other than maybe implementing Boris’s spending plans…

    Boris completely stone-walled on asking the EU for an extension in his interview today, still leaving on Halloween regardless… but still insisting he will obey the law. Obviously given a pep talk by Trump.

  • David Allen 24th Sep '19 - 4:02pm

    “If liberal democrats are so sure of their position on Brexit then they should have the confidence to go to the electorate with their proposals.”

    Johnson has painted himself into a corner and is trying to bluff his way out. Johnson knows that No Deal Brexit will be a disaster, and that if he goes for No Deal and then calls an election in its aftermath, he will be annihilated. So his cunning plan is to tease, taunt, and cajole his opponents into forcing an election before Brexit. Then, Johnson can instead campaign on the bogus claims that No Deal Brexit will be paradise and that he is the hero who can fight off those evil Enemies of the People in Parliament and the judiciary.

    Nice try, Johnson apologists, but we mustn’t fall for your dirty tricks.

  • @David

    There are plenty of people like me who have never voted Tory in their lives. Up until a couple of months ago I would not have even contemplated it. If an election had been called 6 months ago I would have withheld my vote. Now if a general election is called I will hold my nose and vote Tory to get Brexit done, be it with a deal or no deal. There are plenty of people that I have talked to who are going to do the same, there is a large amount of Scots where I live who have been life long labour voters and despise Tories but they are going to vote Tory at next election as they want Brexit.
    You believe that u r strengthening your position by delaying a general election and contributing to a zombie government. I believe this will backfire spectacularly and push more people into Johnson’s reach..

  • Labour have made some policy announcements that may well split the remain vote further. Lowering vote age to 16 for 2nd referendum etc, the more the remain vote is split, the larger the Tory majority. I believe the opposition parties are going to regret delaying given a “people’s vote” in the form of a general election. The longer this goes in the more entrenched and motivated Brexiters will becomes and I believe they will get behind Johnson over farage as he will be best placed to deliver it

  • David Becket 24th Sep '19 - 4:34pm

    Boris and co are thinking well beyond Brexit. With the political situation in turmoil and emotions roused he could well win a general election, which then gives him five years to implement far right policies, which will benefit him and his super rich friends. If matt you have never contemplated voting Tory stop and think, look at Boris’s end game. Is Brexit worth it?
    We need a period of calming down before we have an election, a peoples vote might just give us that.

  • Matt,
    When they shred the support systems you rely on, it will be too late to cry “Help me, help me” and your fellow Brexiteers will look the other way as you go under. You are gambling with your life and that am afraid is no exaggeration. Many Brexiteers believe live can’t get worse well under a red in tooth and claw Brexit they will soon find it can and it rapidly will.

  • I can’t see how you get to a referendum before a GE, from where we are now, unless Johnson does a massive u-turn. If we VONC him, any GNU can only (legitimately) exist for as long as it takes to extend Art 50 and call a GE. Any attempt to do anything else – especially if it tries to call and run a referendum – is just going to play into the hands of Brexiteers and the Tories generally. #StopTheCoup can apply equally to a GNU trying to govern without an electoral mandate. We could argue until blue in the face that we have a representative democracy and you elect MPs not governments etc, but it would ring very hollow indeed, and no doubt we’d cop the bulk of the flak.

    And then there’s the small problem of how you get a workable GNU together in the first place when Swinson has taken the line she has with Corbyn. I don’t see how she resiles from that approach. You *might* get a temporary GNU under a neutral PM for a very short period, if Corbyn and Swinson each swallow their pride. However Labour aren’t going to swing behind a non-Labour, or even non-Corbyn, PM for any length of time. (Would we sideline Swinson for several months for the sake of one? I highly doubt it.)

    Everyone is doing a wonderful job of backing themselves into corners, at just the time we need to be meeting in the middle.

  • Dilettante Eye 24th Sep '19 - 6:09pm

    David Allen

    “Johnson has painted himself into a corner and is trying to bluff his way out.”

    You think a request for a GE is a bluff?

    Sorry David, Lib Dems can’t hide from voters and democracy forever. You Lib Dems are going to pay a very hefty price once voters get to give you their view at the ballot box.

  • Paul Barker 24th Sep '19 - 7:48pm

    If Johnson really wants an Election all he has to do is apply for an Extension to hold one. As soon as an Extension has been granted The HoC would vote overwhelmingly for an Election.
    Our offer is that we can make Brexit stop from the morning after The Election, Labour would prolong the agony for at least another 6 Months & The Tories for another Decade. Even some Leavers might well prefer to end it all sooner rather than (a lot) later.We can Unite a big chunk of the Remain Vote around Our Party.

  • David Allen 24th Sep '19 - 8:02pm

    Dilettante Eye, another nice try to create a minefield and then fool your opponents into fighting the next battle by charging into it. Johnson would love an election before Brexit, when he could seek to make “Get Brexit Done” his selling point. He would hate an election after No Deal Brexit, when his policiies would have proven disastrous. If Johnson really believes in No Deal Brexit, why hasn’t he simply Got It Done and then called the election?

    Now the Opposition parties have hard choices to make. The Shock Doctrine desperadoes who took over Her Majesty’s Government still hope to win through by fair means or foul, probably foul. The Benn Bill has won breathing space, but the populist outlaws still have plenty of counterplay. Like Mussolini, they know how to work up emotion and play the patriotic Trump card.

    Prorogation did not prevent Parliament acting. It was probably not meant to. It was a ploy to create shock and awe, make enemies, and then make them fight on unfavourable territory. Splitting the Tory Party might well end up working in Johnson’s favour. In this febrile atmosphere, using the Benn Bill merely to call a pre-Brexit election a couple of months later than Johnson originally planned may not be an adequate response. It still means fighting on the minefield, with Johnson free to trumpet “Get Brexit Done! Squash the Saboteurs! Give Me Five Years to Do a Disastrous Brexit and Get the EU to Take the Blame!”

    So we need that referendum first – to calm things down, to take a Brexit decision on a (relatively) rational basis, and if necessary to accept the non-disastrous way forward that the Barnier-May Deal offers. As Dan M-B comments, that can only be achieved if both the Lib Dems and Labour stop backing themselves into corners. They need to meet in the middle.

  • Dilettante Eye 24th Sep '19 - 8:08pm

    “If Johnson really wants an Election all he has to do is apply for an Extension to hold one.”

    Why are you afraid of voters ?

  • Arnold Kiel 24th Sep '19 - 9:51pm

    At this point, a GE must resolve the matter. Apart from all the practically insurmountable difficulties around formulating and holding a broadly acceptable referendum under a caretaker-government, imagine a subsequent incompatible election result: e.g. a remain- vote and a Tory victory. Unlikely but not impossible, given the different voting systems.

    Only a Labour-victory, most likely requiring LibDem and SNP-support, could be followed by a second referendum, because the Torys and LibDems have ruled that out when in power. I understand the LibDems would go along with that. If remain won, the EU would rightly expect their negotiation partner Corbyn to continue in power for a 5 year term in which he would enact, live, and defend the remain-decision, and rebuild UK-EU trust, relations and collaboration. Therefore the LibDems will be confronted from day one with one question from 26 nations: will you keep this Government in power beyond the moment of a remain-decision to make this work (and worth our while)?
    The answer must be yes, and, as this is inevitable, a Corbyn-led caretaker-Government after a VONC is also inevitable. I strongly urge Jo to come to that conclusion quickly.

  • I fear that by not agreeing to a GE now, the Lib Dems may be playing into the hands of Boris Johnson as other posters have said, but if they continue to withhold their support for one, then they are playing into the hands of Jeremy Corbyn. If he becomes a temporary PM with Lib Dem support, the Lab party will say that there is no point in voting Lib Dem because they support Lab anyway, so just vote Lab. At present, the Lib Dems have a good headwind because of their clarity on Brexit and have an appeal to the “please make it stop” constituency. They could do better if GE is sooner rather than later, particularly if the Brexit vote is split between Con and TBP.

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