Dominic Raab, one of the candidates for the Conservative leadership, has said that he would shut down Parliament if it opposed his Brexit plans. The move was fiercely criticised by John Bercow, the current Speaker of the House of Commons, and Betty Boothroyd, the former Speaker of the House of Commons, as well as other senior Conservatives.
John Bercow, the current Speaker, rejected any move to prevent the House of Commons from stating its will on any Brexit deal saying:
“Parliament will not be evacuated from the centre stage of the decision-making process.”
“I have a message for this ambitious young man: you don’t treat our Parliament, our democracy or our people that way. If you even try to impose your No Deal Brexit on us by cancelling Parliamentary proceedings, you won’t survive as Prime Minister for five minutes, you will be booted out of office and you are not worthy of your seat in Parliament which should be reserved for those who deserve the title of democrats.”
Other candidates criticised Raab’s plan, with Matt Hancock saying that it would “undermine parliamentary democracy and risk a general election” and Rory Stewart posted on Twitter:
“We live in a parliamentary democracy. You can try to lock the gates of parliament. But to do so for this purpose would be unlawful. This plan is unlawful, undemocratic, and unachievable. And the idea itself is profoundly offensive to our liberty constitution and traditions.”
Raab’s threat was also criticised by Amber Rudd, the Work and Pensions Secretary, who said that “I think it’s outrageous to consider proroguing Parliament. We are not Stuart kings.”
Mel Stride, the Leader of the House of Commons, also rejected Raab’s suggestion, saying that “I do think Her Majesty should be kept out of the politics of our Parliament.”