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Opinion: We must challenge 'reckless' Johnson

PUBLISHED: 12:30 26 September 2019

Catherine West MP believes the UK is stronger as a member of the EU.

Catherine West MP believes the UK is stronger as a member of the EU.

Chris McAndrew (Creative Commons licence CC BY 3.0)

Who could have imagined that in Britain in 2019 we would have Prime Minister Boris Johnson openly suggesting defying the law to push through a "no deal" Brexit that his own government predicts would lead to food, medicine and fuel shortages, the return of a hard-border with Ireland, a meltdown at ports and thousands of job losses?

Who could have imagined that a matter of weeks into the job he'd become the first PM in history to be accused of lying to the Queen by the courts for "unlawfully" shutting down Parliament to avoid scrutiny?

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It's not over dramatic to say this Brexit mess, that I've voted against at every opportunity, has turned into both a constitutional crisis and international embarrassment, with Johnson hiding away from scrutiny in Luxembourg and shamefully describing Parliament's efforts to prevent disaster as a "surrender bill" as if we were at war with our European closest friends and neighbours.

Yet at this time of such significance for the future of our country, the doors of Parliament were locked. I was elected as member of parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green to be your voice in Westminster and I should be sitting on those green benches challenging reckless Boris Johnson on behalf of the thousands of residents who've contacted me appalled by his actions. If the House had been sitting last week as it should have been, Johnson would have faced at least two hours of questioning by MPs at Prime Minister's Questions and the Liaison Committee. Instead he spent less than 15 minutes answering some self-selected questions with no right of reply on Facebook. That isn't scrutiny, it's PR.

Hornsey and Wood Green has consistently and overwhelmingly rejected Brexit and the PM has no mandate for pushing through Trump and Farage's dream "no deal". We must be united, determined, and cover every base to prevent him - challenging this reckless government in Parliament, in the courts and on the streets. There have been hundreds of protests in towns and cities across the country against this underhand coup, including the one I joined organised by a local resident in Muswell Hill.

In Parliament, Labour's efforts over the summer to bring all parties opposed to Brexit around the table, despite the initial reluctance of the Liberal Democrats to take part, were instrumental in the successful passing of the "Benn-Burt" law to stop us crashing out at the end of next month. But we can't trust Johnson to carry out Parliament's orders, so I was one of the petitioners in the legal action aimed at having Parliament recalled to prevent this unlawful abuse of power. When Parliament does return, I've been very clear that we have to take any necessary steps including revoking Article 50 to prevent crashing out. It's something I've voted for at every opportunity. Once that's done, a general election can't come soon enough, with a Labour Party fully committed to giving the people a final say on this Brexit mess. I believe the UK is stronger, more prosperous and more peaceful as a member of the European Union and will always campaign and vote to remain.

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