Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed what he called the “paralysed parliament” Wednesday evening, excoriating the members for not keeping their promise to the British people on delivering the outcome of the Brexit referendum while refusing to accept a general election to put the decision on how to proceed next to the public.
Members of the House of Commons were challenged to bring the government down if they disagreed with its determination to deliver Brexit as promised Wednesday night, with the PM — freshly returned from the United Nations in New York after the UK Supreme Court ruled against his government — saying that such a vote could be brought as soon as tomorrow, Thursday.
Sky News reported Downing Street sources even as the Prime Minister spoke that if the opposition declined to bring the government down — as it could easily do if it chose to — then the government would assume Parliament had faith in the government’s plan to leave the European Union “do or die” at the end of October and push on in that direction. Extraordinarily, it also reported the Prime Minister would not rule out a second prorogation if necessary.
In the chamber, the Prime Minister repeatedly challenged the opposition to go to the country at large, and to test their respective positions in the court of public opinion, calling out “come on!” at members as they jeered in response.
‘They Are Too Cowardly!’: Anti-Brexit MPs Taunted in House For Refusing General Election https://t.co/SUFtZg42FR
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 25, 2019
Laying the blame for the United Kingdom having not left the European Union yet solely at the feet of the anti-Brexit majority in Parliament, Mr Johnson said: “three years ago more people voted to leave the European Union than had ever voted for any party or proposition in our nation’s history. Politicians of all parties promised they would honour the result. Sadly, many have since done all they could to abandon those promises and to overturn that democratic vote… The truth is the majority opposite are not opposed to no deal, they don’t want Brexit to happen at all.”
Following comments by his colleague the Attorney General earlier in the day that politicians who had rejected a general election to clear out the parliamentary blockage preventing any progress on the matter of Brexit were “cowardly” and members of a “dead Parliament”, the Prime Minister said anti-Brexiteers had “turned tail and fled” from the British people.
He said: “It is not just that this parliament is gridlocked, paralysed, and refusing to deliver on the priorities of the people. It is not just unable to move forward, it is worse than that. Out of sheer selfishness and political cowardice, members opposite are unwilling to move aside and give the people a say. They see MPs demanding that the people should be given a say one week and then running away from an election that would provide the people with a say the next.
“…[is Jeremy Corbyn] going to dodge a vote of no confidence in me as Prime Minister, in order to escape the verdict of the voters?… Will they have the courage to act or will they refuse to take responsibility and dither and delay. Why wouldn’t they, what are they afraid of?”
BoJo Compares Endless Brexit Delay to Eternal Torture of Classical Myth in UN Speech https://t.co/LYmaa4I2Re
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 25, 2019
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn dismissed the Prime Minister’s speech as “ten minutes of bluster” and called on him to resign.
The Prime Minister has already given the house two opportunities to approve a general election, both of which it has rejected — a first in British political history, where it is generally assumed the opposition would always wish to fight a general election to replace the government with themselves.
Read: The Prime Minister’s address to the House of Commons:
…three years ago more people voted to leave the European Union than had ever voted for any party or proposition in our nation’s history. Politicians of all parties promised they would honour the result. Sadly, many have since done all they could to abandon those promises and to overturn that democratic vote. After three years of dither and delay that risked leaving this country forever in the orbit of the EU.
Now this government, that I lead, has been trying truly to get us out. Most people, and indeed most supporters of the party opposite regardless of how they voted three years ago think the referendum must be respected. They want Brexit done, I want Brexit done, and people want us out on October 31st with a new deal if possible, but without one if necessary.
64 days ago I was told that Brussels would never reopen the withdrawal agreement and we are now discussing a reopened agreement in the negotiations. I was told Brussels would never consider alternatives to the backstop — the trap that keeps the UK effectively in the EU but with no say — we are now talking about those alternatives in negotiations. I was told Brussels would never consider arrangements that were not permanent. We are now discussing in the negotiations an arrangement that works on the principle of consent and is not permanent.
I was told there was no chance of a new deal. But we are discussing a new deal, and this is in spite of the best efforts of the party efforts and this parliament to wreck our negotiations by their attempts to take no-deal off the table.
The truth is the majority opposite are not opposed to no deal, they don’t want Brexit to happen at all. And many of those who voted for the surrender act several weeks ago said then their intentions was to prevent a no-deal Brexit. They have said every day since that Parliament must vote against any deal at all.
I think the people of this country can see very clearly what is going on. They know that Parliament does not want to honour its promises to respect the referendum. The people at home know this parliament will keep delaying, keep sabotaging negotiations because they don’t want a deal.
The truth is the members opposite are living in a fantasy world. They merely imagine that somehow they are going to cancel the first referendum, legislate for a second, and parliament will promise that this time it really, really will respect that vote. And they think the people will, therefore, vote to remain and everyone will forget the last few years.
That is an extraordinary delusion and a fantasy, even worse than the communist fantasies peddled by the leader of the opposition. It will not happen. The public doesn’t want another referendum, what they want and what they demand is that we honour the promise we made to the voters to respect the first referendum. They want us to move on, to put Brexit behind us, to focus on the NHS, violent crime, and cutting the cost of living and that is why I brought forward a Queen’s speech. This government intends to bring forward a programme for life after Brexit.
But some members of this house could not stand that either. Instead of facing the voters, the opposition turned tail and fled from an election instead of deciding to let the voters decide, they ran for the courts instead. And despite the fact that I followed the exact same process as my predecessors in calling a Queen’s speech, the supreme court was asked to intervene in this process for the first time ever and it is absolutely no disrespect to the judiciary to say I think the court was wrong to pronounce on what was essentially a political question at a time of great national controversy.
So we have opposition MPs who block and delay everything running to the courts to block and delay even more, including blocking legislation to improve our NHS and to keep violent criminals in jail, and I think ordinary people outside of this house understand what is happening.
It is not just that this parliament is gridlocked, paralysed, and refusing to deliver on the priorities of the people. It is not just unable to move forward, it is worse than that. Out of sheer selfishness and political cowardice, members opposite are unwilling to move aside and give the people a say. They see MPs demanding that the people should be given a say one week and then running away from an election that would provide the people with a say the next.
And worst of all, they see ever more elaborate legal and political manoeuvres from the party opposite which is absolutely determined to say ‘we know best’, and thumb their noses at the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the European Union.
The leader of the opposition and his party do not trust the people. They are determined to throw out the referendum result whatever the cost. They do not care about the bill for hundreds of millions of pounds that will come with every week of delay. They don’t care if another year or more is wasted arguing about a referendum that happened over three years ago.
All that matters to them now is an obsessive desire to overrule the referendum result. While we want to take our country up a gear, to go forward with an accelerated programme of investment in infrastructure, health, education, and technology they want to throw on the handbrake.
We will not betray the people who sent us here. We will not abandon the priorities that matter to the public. And we will continue to challenge those opposition parties to uphold democracy. If the members opposite so disagreed with this government’s commitment to leaving, they had a very simple remedy at their disposal, did they not. They could have voted for a general election.
for two years they have demanded an election but twice they have voted against it. The leader of the opposition changes his mind so often, I wonder whether he supports and election today or whether the shadow chancellor or the shadow attorney general has overruled him because they know the voters will judge their manifesto for what it is, more pointless delay… is he going to dodge a vote of no confidence in me as Prime Minister, in order to escape the verdict of the voters.
I wonder, does he in his heart even want to be Prime Minister any more?… so if in fact, the party opposite does not have confidence in the government they will have a chance to prove it. They will have until the house rises today to table a motion of no confidence in the government and we can have that motion tomorrow.
Will they have the courage to act or will they refuse to take responsibility and dither and delay. Why wouldn’t they, what are they afraid of?
I say it is time to get Brexit done. Get Brexit done so we respect the referendum, so we can move on to deal with the people’s priorities the NHS, the cost of living, so we can start to reunite this country after the divisions of the referendum rather than having another one. It is time for this parliament, finally, to take responsibility for its deicisons. We decided to call that referendum, we promised time and time again to respect it, I think the country has had enough of it. This Parliament must stand aside and let the government get Brexit done, or back a vote of no confidence and finally face the day of reckoning with the voters.