Five flip-flopping ministers now keeping mum over prorogation
Five Conservative cabinet members who once rejected the idea of Parliamentary prorogation are now very tight-lipped following PM Boris Johnson’s announcement to suspend Parliament next month.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, both stated in June, a month before former Prime Minister Theresa May left her post, that a Parliamentary prorogation was against UK democratic values.
“Proroguing parliament in order to try and get no deal through, I think would be wrong,” Gove said in June, before he was picked to sit in Johnson’s cabinet. “I think it would be wrong for many reasons. I think it would not be true to the best traditions of British democracy.”
Javid also stated his opposition to a Parliamentary prorogue: “You don’t deliver on democracy by trashing democracy… We are not selecting a dictator of our country.”
However, following Boris Johnson’s Wednesday announcement with the Queen’s subsequent approval to prorogue Parliament, Gove and Javid stayed rather tight-lipped regarding the dissonance between their previous positions and their support for the prime minister’s new move.
Three other current cabinet members also expressed their disapproval of a Parliamentary prorogation before joining Boris Johnson: Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nicky Morgan; Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock; and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd.
“You cannot say you are going to take back control … and then go: ‘Oh, by the way, we are just going to shut parliament down for a couple of months, so we are just going to drift out on a no deal,’” Morgan said back in June.
When asked about it this Thursday, she said: “I’m a member of the cabinet, I fully support the Prime Minister.”
Meanwhile back in June, Matt Hancock said in a letter to the Tories: “A policy on Brexit to prorogue parliament would mean the end of the Conservative party as a serious party of government.”
When asked about the dissonance this week, he flat out dodged the question.
For her part, Amber Rudd said in June that to suspend parliament would be described as “absolutely outrageous… To consider closing parliament is the most extraordinary idea I’ve ever heard… It is a ridiculous suggestion. For a start it would involve approaching the Queen … nobody should consider doing that.”
When asked this week for a follow-up to her previous remarks, she also evaded the question, saying: “I’m going to continue doing my job as secretary of state for work and pensions.”
The five flip-flopping members of Boris Johnson’s cabinet are playing politics with people’s lives and livelihoods: they previously supported UK democratic values, but now they side with a man who’d rather suppress the voice of the people at the House of Commons.