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'It's quite boring actually': Jacob Rees-Mogg defends 'routine' proroguing of parliament

“The arch Remainers who don’t want us to leave the EU have started crying constitutional crisis, but actually they’re crying wolf.”

Jacob Rees Mogg Source: Sky News

THE LEADER OF the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg has defended his Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament, saying that the process was “quite boring” and “routine”.

Speaking to Sky News’ Sunrise programme this morning, Rees-Mogg said that the UK usually has a new session of parliament every 12 months, and this session has ran for over two years.

He denied that it was done to stunt parliamentary debate on Brexit: “Parliament will come back in early October, the EU Council takes place on 16 and 17 October – that will be when any decision is made on an agreement and then there will be 13 days after that, so that’s the key period where parliament needs to be sitting and will be sitting. 

It’s actually quite boring, the arch Remainers who don’t want us to leave the European Union have started crying constitutional crisis, but actually they’re crying wolf.

When previous statements by Sajid Javid (now Chancellor), Michael Gove (now Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster) and Amber Rudd criticising prorogation were played to Rees Mogg, he claimed that “two things are being conflated”:

“It’s routine to set out a new legislative agenda. [The suggestion they were responding to was] that you would suspend parliament from July through to the 31 October – that would have been constitutionally improper.”

He said that there would be enough time to debate Brexit, saying that amendments and statements can be made in the four to five days of debate scheduled specifically for the Queen’s Speech in mid-October and that there were three weeks off for party conferences in the middle of the five-week suspension. 

“At my first and so far only appearance at the dispatch box, it had been agreed that the parliamentary recess would go ahead – parliament hasn’t sat in September for over 80 years.

If they want to stop us leaving the European Union, they can either change the government or change the law, but 17.4 million people voted to leave the European Union and they don’t want to blow a raspberry to half of the electorate. 

When asked about Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s accusation that Johnson was a “tin-pot dictator”, Rees Mogg said:

Nicola Sturgeon’s default position is faux outrage. If the Prime Minister said that Christmas Day was 25 December, Nicola Sturgeon would be outraged by that.

Former Transport Secretary George Young has today quit his position as government whip in the House of Lords over Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament.

Previously, when asked to stop a “chaotic” prorogation, House Leader Jacob Rees Mogg responded to say that the House of Commons has passed the Withdrawal Act and the Article 50 Act, and that “mere motions” against a no-deal Brexit don’t count. 

Speaking on Morning Ireland, Minister of State for European Affairs Helen McEntee said that in the past three years, what was happening was “unprecedented”.

“What’s clear for us is we need to remain calm,” she said. “We cannot allow the slate to be wiped clean when all this change continues to take place in the UK.”

When asked whether the UK government had put forward any credible, new alternatives to the backstop, McEntee said: “No.”

“You can’t open up a truck and check whether an animal has a disease with technology.”

Speaking on BBC’s Good Morning Ulster, Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald said that the UK was engaged in a “dangerous game of brinkmanship”.

We have had a sense that Boris Johnson certainly is prepared to countenance a disorderly Brexit and all that would ensue, his first concern is that he is seated at No 10 Downing Street. 

“The unionist population of this island do not feature” in Johnson’s list of priorities, she said.

What a terrible shame if the price of that is not borne by the DUP but the price is borne by farmers in Fermanagh and businesses in Belfast. 

Last night, protesters descended on the streets around Westminster to protest against Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament, chanting “If you shut down our parliament, we shut down the streets”.

A petition against the proroguing of parliament unless there’s an extension to the Brexit deadline or Brexit is cancelled entirely, has reached over 1 million signatures in less than 24 hours. 

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