Rebel alliance launches last battle of Brexit
Is Britain facing a coup? In the next three days, Boris Johnson seems set to neutralise Parliament and force a no-deal Brexit. A multi-party bloc of MPs is desperately trying to stop him.
Tomorrow, Parliament returns to one of the most momentous and dramatic weeks in British political history.
In the balance hangs Britain’s role in the world, the leadership of the country, the livelihoods of millions, and the health of British democracy.
Over the weekend, thousands took to the streets against a no-deal Brexit.
It emerged during the weekend that both Labour and Conservatives are getting ready for an election. In recent days, the Government has promised a splurge of spending on police, health and education — clearly designed to win votes.
Behind all this lies a deeper argument. Just as Britain faces the most crucial period in its recent history, Boris Johnson had declared that Parliament, the sovereign power in the land, will be completely suspended or “prorogued” from next Monday until 14 October.
There will be very few days left for any debate before a hard Brexit happens automatically on 31 October.
Has the Government carried off a spectacular coup against democracy itself?
The dark side?
What a hysterical claim, say the likes of Johnson, Gove and their supporters. In 2016, the biggest poll in British political history came out in favour of leaving the EU. Parliament then approved the Withdrawal Act in June 2018 after 272 hours debate. If the Act takes place on 31 October, how can this be anti-democratic?
This totally misses the point, say members of the “Remain alliance”. People did not vote in 2016 for a hard Brexit leading to lost jobs, a weaker pound and a future in the pocket of the USA. People do not want Parliament to lose its voice in the debate. And people hate the pretence that the suspension of Parliament “has nothing to do with Brexit”.
- Is politics finally getting quite exciting?
- Using the expert links, make a parliamentary calendar from now until Brexit day on Halloween. Compose a letter (on just one side of paper) to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, setting out what you think he should be doing.
Some People Say...
“There is light at the end of the tunnel. I do not believe the British people want more tunnel.”Michael Gove
What do you think?
Q & A
- What do we know?
- That the battle lines are drawn and the forces are ready to clash. We know the battleground will be Parliament and the conflict will take place from tomorrow morning. We know that both sides are willing to throw everything they have got into the fight. But we do well to understand that there is very little concrete, definite, factual detail here.
- What do we not know?
- Whether MPs will extend Parliament through the weekend to the prorogation date next week. We clearly don’t know whether the Government will be forced to accept a new law outlawing a hard Brexit on Halloween. If there is a new law passed by Parliament, we don’t know if the Government will put it forward for Royal Assent (for the Queen to approve), which means it won’t, strictly, be law at all. And that’s just the beginning of what we don’t know.
- Of great importance.
- A system of government where the public votes for its leaders.
- No-deal Brexit
- This means leaving the EU on 31 October without any agreements in place about the UK’s future relationship with Europe.
- Spending money extravagantly.
- To stop something temporarily or permanently.
- Brought to a close, so that no parliamentary business (such a passing bills, hearing questions) happens for a period of time.
- A sudden (sometimes violent), illegal seizure of power from a government.
- Remain alliance
- According to Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer, a “Remain Alliance” of Liberal Democrat, Conservative and Labour MPs are ready to outlaw Brexit in Parliament by the end of the week.