7 Tory MPs who previously opposed suspending parliament

7 Tory MPs who previously opposed suspending parliament

Yesterday, Boris Johnson sought consent from the Queen to suspend parliament for five weeks, beginning from mid-September, which will effectively prevent MPs from blocking a no-deal Brexit.

The news sent shockwaves around the British establishment and many people accused the current Tory government of 'destroying democracy' in order to push through an unpopular exit route from the European Union.

Previous to yesterday, the idea of proroguing parliament had been something that was only mentioned in passing and wasn't mostly ridiculed as a nonsensical approach to a serious situation that should have been dealt with democratically.

Surprisingly a number of prominent Tory MPs had spoken publicly about opposing such a solution to the problem of Brexit but are now relatively silent on the issue which could threaten British democracy as we know it.

Sajid Javid

Earlier this year, during the Tory leadership campaign, the current Chancellor, Sajid Javid gave an impassioned speech during a live debate on Channel 4 where he outlined his strong opposition to prougation.

Criticising his colleague, Dominic Raab, who was in favour of the move, Javid said that "you don't deliver of democracy by trashing democracy" and that "we are not selecting a dictator, we are selecting a prime minister."

Matt Hancock

In a clip also from the Tory leadership campaign that went viral yesterday, current health secretary Matt Hancock strongly spoke out against suspending parliament.

The speech which occurred in June saw the 40-year-old say:

And then there is this idea from some people, you might have heard them, there is this idea from some people, that to deliver Brexit, we should suspend our parliamentary democracy. 

That we should prorogue parliament. But that goes against everything that those men who waded onto those beaches fought and died for. And I will not have it. 

To make matters worse for Hancock he also wrote down how much he believed that suspending parliament undermined British democracy and shared it on Twitter.

Nicky Morgan

During an interview with ITV in July, the current secretary for digital, culture, media and sport Nicky Morgan was asked about comments that former prime minister John Major had made, where he suggested that he would be willing to take a suspension of parliament to a judicial review.

In response, the MP for Loughborough cited that both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt were against prorogation and that such a situation would be 'extraordinary' and would lead to a 'constitutional crisis' before praising Major's comments.

Amber Rudd

Rudd, who made a dramatic return to the cabinet after Johnson was elected as prime minister told Sky News's Sophy Ridge that a prorogue of parliament was "the most extraordinary idea I've ever heard and a "ridiculous suggestion."

The current secretary for work and pensions added that approaching the Queen to obtain that sort of consent shouldn't even be considered.

Jeremy Hunt

Johnson's biggest opponent during the leadership campaign and the man who fought against him right until the end, Jeremy Hunt, told The Economist during the campaign the proroguing parliament would be something that would be 'impossible to ever imagine working.'

The former health secretary said:

I think the idea, in a democracy that, if you don't like what a parliament's doing, you just close down parliament...

The government might have some technical legal powers to allow it to do that but we prorogue parliament when there's a Queen's speech and you suspend parliament for a week, ten days while the Queen's speech is being drawn up and then the Queen turns up to reopen parliament.

But to do it because you wanted to force through a no-deal Brexit seems to be something that would be pretty impossible to imagine ever working.

Michael Gove

Gove, who next to Johnson, was possibly the most prominent Tory Brexiteer during the 2016 referendum has also opposed the idea of suspending parliament.

During an appearance on the Andrew Marr show he said:

I think it will be wrong for many reasons. I think it would not be true to the best traditions of British democracy.

He also said the same thing during the Channel 4 debate too.

Boris Johnson

Yes, amazingly even Boris Johnson had previously opposed suspending parliament.

Although he seems to have considerably changed his mind now, Johnson once said during a hustings event, in the midst of the campaign trail, that he would seek such 'archaic devices' to achieve Brexit, which you can see at the end of the clip below.

If that wasn't staggering enough Johnson also appears to have once penned a letter to Conservative 1 Nation MPs saying that he was no attracted to the prospect of prorogation. The letter was shared online yesterday by Tory MP Antoinette Sandbach.

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