Press Watch 9/10/2019

We apologise to readers for covering matters Brexit this morning. But the media this morning contains a number of stories of increasingly reckless behaviour from No 10.

The Sun newspaper’s headline captures the spirit: ‘You can’t fire me your majesty’ above a story which suggests that the PM has taken legal advice indicating that if he refuses to resign following a vote of no confidence, she cannot remove him.

‘That’s how this country works’ a No 10 spokesperson is reported as saying. Really? A PM who loses the support of a majority of the Commons refusing to leave office and defying the head of state. We wonder how this ought to be characterised if not by deploying the language of a coup.

Meanwhile, the Opposition parties failed to agree terms yesterday for a national unity government of Lords and retiring MPs’ The Telegraph is suggesting that one of the suggestions at the cross-party talks was that posts in a govt of national unity should be filled by retiring MPs and members of the House of Lords.

But this suggestion is hardly less an assault on democracy than is the idea that the PM can stay on in spite of losing a no-confidence vote in the Commons.

If the idea of Democracy means anything at all it surely means that sovereignty ultimately lies with the people. At each election the electorate agrees to the election of the House of Commons whose function in part at least is to hold the government to account.

This task is normally discharged by first electing a PM with majority support in the Commons from amongst the largest party. But the second task - which is much less often deployed, but nonetheless equally important - is to bring down governments which lose their majority.

Both the suggestion of a PM clinging on to power having lost confidence of the House and the idea that we should have a government of national unity including members of the Lords but not led by the opposition party leader have the odour of a British Establishment living in fear of the people.

This must not be Labour’s position. We cannot be a part of an establishment conspiracy against the electorate.

In any event, the present stalemate cannot be sustained much longer. Sections of the capitalist class are reacting to the impasse over the EU. This will have an impact on the real economy and have a damaging effect on ordinary people’s lives. Sterling slid on the international money markets, the Guardian reports, after a No 10 source said Merkel was making a deal impossible and Brussels accused Johnson of trying to play a ‘stupid blame game’. There are now also extremely dangerous signs that productivity is slipping badly because of a rapid decline in investment.

Our approach to the current to the crisis is therefore different. We believe that a no deal Brexit would be incredibly dangerous. The answer then is to stop such an eventuality, an operation which can be achieved quickly. We should then dissolve the current Parliament and return power back to the people with a general election.

Press Watch is a look at the day's news by Labour MPs.

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