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14th Jun, 2021

Opponents demand answers from Solihull MPs over Parliament's suspension and no-deal Brexit

Felix Nobes 30th Aug, 2019

SOLIHULL’S Conservative MPs have been challenged about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament and a no-deal Brexit.

Solihull Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate and councillor Ade Adeyemo tweeted that he has this afternoon (August 30) personally delivered a letter to Solihull MP Julian Knight demanding answers.

It comes after Mr Johnson received approval from the Queen to controversially ‘prorogue’ (suspend) Parliament for nearly five weeks in the run up to the UK leaving the European Union by the October 31 deadline.

He says the time is needed to prepare his legislative programme as new PM to be set out in a Queen’s Speech – after an extraordinarily long Parliamentary session.

Critics claim it is an attempt to prevent MPs blocking a no-deal Brexit.

We have today contacted both Mr Knight and Meriden MP Dame Caroline Spelman for comment about the prorogation. She has long campaigned to avoid a no-deal exit from the EU.

Newly elected Conservative PM Mr Johnson has pledged to leave the EU without a deal by that date, if necessary – but claims his first priority is to secure a withdrawal agreement with Brussels.

Coun Adeyemo in his letter wrote: “I write to you as a resident in your constituency, as councillor for Lyndon ward, and as the Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Solihull.

“You wrote in 2017, when seeking election, about being a ‘democrat’, about ‘getting a good deal for the UK and for Solihull’, and about not ‘leeching power from our national institutions.

“I therefore ask you these three questions. Firstly, where do you stand on no-deal? Are you with us or are you with Boris?

“Secondly, do you support Boris Johnson’s plan to prorogue Parliament?

“Lastly, do you believe that either (or both) of these are good for Solihull, its largest employers and jobs of local residents?

“By suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal, Mr Johnson and his Conservative government would remove the voice of the people at this most crucial time.

“The time has come to stand with us, stand with the people of Solihull.

“As one of your constituents, I need answers from you on these critical issues.”

Mr Knight later tweeted: “It’s interesting that despite blanket media coverage and talk of a coup, the number of constituent emails I have had on prorogation of parliament is about 10 per cent of the number I got when Theresa May talked about fox hunting.

“People in the real world are taking it in their stride!”

Mr Knight appears to have become a staunch advocate of keeping ‘no-deal’ on the table to strengthen Britain’s bargaining power in negotiations, in line with Mr Johnson’s stated position.

In Mr Knight’s constituency, 56 per cent of voters voted to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum. Mr Knight himself supported ‘Remain’.

He has in the past voted for previous PM Theresa May’s controversial deals with the EU in Parliament – opposed by a bloc of ardent Tory Brexiteers.

He has insisted he has spoken up about the concerns of West Midlands manufacturing in the negotiations – including Jaguar Land Rover which employs thousands of people in Solihull.

Dame Caroline meanwhile has been criticised from within her own party for her commitment to preventing a no-deal.

She had previously successfully tabled amendments in Parliament to rule out a no-deal in partnership with Labour MP Jack Dromey, backed by a majority of MPs. She voted ‘Remain’ in the EU referendum.

Her constituency of Meriden is part of the Solihull borough that voted by 56 per cent in the 2016 referendum to ‘Leave’ the EU.

Dame Caroline said she was not available to respond.

We are yet to hear from Mr Knight.

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