Dominic Raab Says he Would Shut Parliament if it Opposed Brexit

Dominic Raab

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.”

Boothroyd said:

“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.”

Kit Malthouse Withdraws from Conservative Leadership Contest

Kit Malthouse has become the second Conservative MP to withdraw from his party’s leadership contest, following the withdrawal earlier in the day of James Cleverly.

Posting on Twitter, Malthouse wrote:

“After 20 years in front line politics as a councillor, Deputy Mayor, MP and Minister, I also wanted to lead a new generation of Conservatives stepping forward at a time of profound change in our country. But that experience has also made me a realist and the last few days have demonstrated that there is an appetite for this contest to be over quickly and for the nation to have a new leader in place as soon as possible.”

Jeremy Hunt Receives Boost in Conservative Leadership Contest from Liam Fox

Jeremy Hunt
Jeremy Hunt

Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, has said that he is intending to support Jeremy Hunt’s bid to become leader of the Conservative Party. Fox, who stood in the 2005 and 2016 leadership contests, decided not to stand in the bid to replace Theresa May, the current leader and Prime Minister.

Hunt acknowledged Fox’s support, posting on Twitter:

“Privilege to work with @LiamFox in Cabinet for many of the last nine years and very honoured by his support. He is an outstanding trade secretary. Looking forward to working with him to get a better Brexit deal and make the most of new trading opportunities across the globe.”

Welsh Government Confirms M4 Relief Road Plan is Cancelled

Mark Drakeford, the Welsh First Minister, has confirmed that plans to build a relief road for the M4 have been cancelled. The plan would have helped to have alleviated congestion around Newport, but there were concerns about the impact to the environment.

In a statement Drakeford said:

“In my judgement the Project’s adverse impacts on the environment, taken
together with its other disadvantages, outweigh its advantages”.

He added:

“I do not consider that there is a compelling case in the public interest to expropriate the land that is subject to the CPOs and I do not consider that it would be appropriate or expedient to make the other Schemes and Orders.”

Ian Rappel, the Chief Executive of Gwent Wildlife Trust, said:

“We are delighted that the Welsh Government and Mr Drakeford have recognised that a new motorway would have been totally ecologically, socially and economically unsustainable for the people and wildlife of Wales. The Gwent Levels is like no other in the UK, it is vitally important to the well-being of not just wildlife but also people – it is green lungs of Newport and South Gwent. It should be cherished and showcased as a green leisure hub for Wales.”

Russell George, the Conservative Welsh Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire said:

“After years of procrastination and dithering from successive Welsh Labour Governments, £44 million spent on a public inquiry, and numerous pleas of help from business leaders, we’ve got nowhere. It’s shameful that the First Minister has poured millions of pounds down the drain in completing the inquiry, yet only to ignore its findings.

Congestion on this road is a foot on the windpipe of the South Wales economy, and is damaging our businesses and their future prospects. I’m now urging the First Minister to end the uncertainty and quickly give us an alternative to how he intends to alleviate congestion on the M4.”

James Cleverly Withdraws from Conservative Leadership Contest

James Cleverly, the Conservative MP for Braintree, has become the first candidate for the party leadership to withdraw from the contest. Cleverly said that he no longer expected to get to the final two and his withdrawal means that there are twelve candidates left in the running.

Speaking in an interview with the BBC, Cleverly said that “unfortunately and with a heavy heart I’ve decided to withdraw from the race”. Cleverly was the Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party from 2018 until 2019 and he also served as the Member of the London Assembly for Bexley and Bromley from 2008 until 2016.

Mark Harper Becomes Latest Conservative to Stand for Leadership

Mark Harper, the Conservative MP for the Forest of Dean, has become the twelfth candidate to put his name forwards for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

The current candidates are now:

James Cleverley
Michael Gove
Matt Hancock
Mark Harper
Jeremy Hunt
Sajid Javid
Boris Johnson
Andrea Leadsom
Kit Malthouse
Esther McVey
Dominic Raab
Rory Stewart

Foreign Secretary Confirms Appointment of New Ambassador to Nepal

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has confirmed the appointment of Nicola Pollitt as the new Ambassador to Nepal. She will begin her new role in November 2019 and she replaces Richard Morris who is taking up another role within the Diplomatic Service. From 2014 until 2016, Pollitt was an assistant private secretary at No. 10 Downing Street.

More Candidates Join Conservative Party Leadership Contest

James Cleverley, the Conservative MP for Braintree, has become the eleventh candidate to join the contest to become the next leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. The complete list of candidates is now:

James Cleverley
Michael Gove
Matt Hancock
Jeremy Hunt
Sajid Javid
Boris Johnson
Andrea Leadsom
Kit Malthouse
Esther McVey
Dominic Raab
Rory Stewart