Statement: Stephen Metcalfe Calls for General Election to End Parliament Brexit Farce (05.09.2019)
I continue to be grateful to all those who have shared their constructive views with me on Brexit, the Conservative Party leadership and the prorogation of Parliament.
I am beyond disappointed by the farce that is currently preventing the Government from delivering on the will of the British people and leaving the EU. After 3 years of delay on implementing the largest single democratically expressed mandate in history, people are fed up and want this protracted argument to end.
The Prime Minister’s Strategy
I have always believed in the benefits that Brexit can bring and feel that the Prime Minister must be able to deliver on Brexit, Deal or No Deal, by October 31st for MPs on all sides to stand any chance of regaining the trust of the British public.
The Prime Minister’s strategy – to leave without a Withdrawal Agreement should the EU refuse to abolish the undemocratic backstop – is entirely correct. However, The Prime Minister has stated time and again that he believes he can deliver a Deal that would gain support of the House, but he is adamant negotiations should not take place in public and that without the ability to walk away from negotiations the EU have zero incentive to renegotiate the terms of our departure.
I believe the best way for the UK to leave the EU is with a deal that preserves zero or low-tariff trade in goods as I know mutual fair competition best stimulates economic growth to generate prosperity. That said, leaving under so-called ‘No-Deal’ terms is not a route I fear should the EU refuse to renegotiate our departure terms. No Deal remains better than a bad deal and the pessimistic predictions over No Deal are, I believe, overstated. No Deal must remain on the table.
Many constituents have written to me about prorogation. Prorogation is a routine action of political judgement to end a session of a Parliament. It has always led either to a General Election or the start of a new Parliamentary session in order to have a Queens Speech so that a new Government can set out its legislative programme. This process has been a formality in the UK for more than a century.
The accusations that the recent decision to prorogue Parliament is a deliberate act to subvert democracy are false. Firstly, the prorogation of Parliament before the State Opening is conventional, and it is right a newly formed Government can set out it’s stall, not least to subject their agenda to proper scrutiny. Secondly, every year we have a party Conference Recess in September/October and no party have requested this to be cancelled. Thirdly, there is very little new to discuss about Brexit before the EU Council on October 17-18. Fourthly, the new Parliamentary session begins before the departure date in October, without which MPs would not be able to vote to approve any new Deal to leave the EU.
The Surrender Bill
The stated intention of the current Bill before Parliament to stop no-deal is not true. The Bill forces the Prime Minister to accept any proposed extension to the Article 50 process by the EU. The only mechanism in the Bill that would allow the Prime Minister not to accept an endless delay is a Commons vote. A vote which will be controlled by the same Remain MPs that worked together to pass this Bill.
In practice, this is a surrender Bill. It prevents the UK from leaving the EU and removes the Government’s ability to function properly. I am very unhappy that MPs would seek to hamper the Prime Ministers negotiations this way.
A People’s General Election
The United Kingdom must leave the EU, Deal or No Deal. However, I no longer believe that this Parliament will allow us to leave. We now need a General Election to secure a Brexit supporting Government with a working majority in the House of Commons. In the name of democracy, I call on all colleagues across the House to put their positions to the country and let the people make their choice.
The British people are much stronger than some think. They respect democracy and now only they can restore trust in politics and to take us out.