Whatever the vocal remainers may say, this is not a “shutdown” of parliament. It could have been – Boris could have prorogued until November and taken MPs out of the equation altogether. He had that option, but that would have been wrong. It would have been a blatant attempt to subvert our political processes. But he didn’t do that. He chose instead to allow ample time for parliament to debate, discuss, and vote on Brexit plans. Nothing is shutting down, nothing is being denied. That’s just not the case.
Parliament is always in recess in September and October for party conferences. As far as I’m aware, the Lib Dems and Labour haven’t cancelled their conferences yet, so we can only assume they intend for them to go ahead.
We’re not talking weeks of lost time, we’re talking a matter of days. Parliament will return before the crucial EU summit on 17 October, when any deal must be agreed with the EU. There’s nothing new for parliament to discuss until that point, but after that summit, parliament will have two weeks to discuss, debate, and (if they choose to) agree on a deal.
Any potential deal can’t be discussed in parliament until it’s been discussed and agreed with Europe, and that won’t happen until 17 October, so the lost days of parliamentary time before that date make no difference whatsoever to the opportunity we will have to go over a deal. We can sit all night when we have the information we need to discuss any deal that comes forward, but until then what exactly does the anti-Brexit lobby wish to discuss that they haven’t had the chance to over the past three years?
It’s incredible to hear objectors suggest that losing four or five days of parliamentary sitting (four or five days after three years and 600 hours of Brexit debate) amounts to them having no voice. We’ve discussed Brexit to death, we’ve achieved nothing at all, and there is currently nothing new to talk about. Five more days of the same old circular arguments is simply a waste of everybody’s time and energy. That’s time and energy that the government is better off spending seeking a better deal and preparing for our exit. That’s what is in the best interests of our country.
It’s refreshing to see that the prime minister wants to crack on and deliver, after what seems like years of killing time. So much that has been discussed on the floor of the House in recent months has been filler, while the government was bogged down with Brexit and had no capacity for anything else.
Boris wants to deliver on his domestic agenda, and that requires a Queen’s speech to formally set out what it looks like. He’s brought forward the spending review that’s been delayed since the spring, he’s drawing Theresa May’s plans to a close and setting out his agenda. After years of delay and frustration, it’s exactly what is needed and I applaud him for getting on with it in the face of so much faux outrage from political opponents. If he delivers on his promises for our police, schools and social care, he’ll be fantastic.
Those calling this a “constitutional outrage” despite the clear precedent and history that backs it up (the Queen’s speech is normally an annual event and prorogation is necessary before it takes place) are the same people that just weeks ago wanted to install Ken Clarke as an emergency prime minister to overthrow the referendum result. They are the same people who wanted to march on Buckingham Palace and demand that the Queen install Corbyn as prime minister, despite him not having parliament’s backing. As is often the case with our polarised politics, it’s a case of do as we say, not as we do. It’s one rule for them, and another for decisions they don’t like.
This is a polarised debate. Theresa May learned to her cost that there is no outcome here that can keep everyone happy. And the anti-Brexit lobby dared Boris and he called their bluff. He’s not a pushover – and they need to get used to that.
Brexit is binary – you’re in or you’re out. The only way to bring the country back together is to move on from it, and that can only happen by delivering on our promise. When Brexit is delivered, with Boris already cracking on delivering the domestic agenda he will lay out in this Queen’s speech, our political debate can finally move on. The prime minister is getting on with it, he’s going to deliver, and I’m looking forward to 1 November.