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Sun, 5 April 2020

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Jacob Rees-Mogg hits out at 'improper' John Bercow over Parliament shutdown row

Jacob Rees-Mogg hits out at 'improper' John Bercow over Parliament shutdown row
2 min read

Jacob Rees-Mogg has attacked Commons Speaker John Bercow after he criticised Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament.

Mr Bercow said the prorogation, which was approved by the Queen on Wednesday, was a "constitutional outrage" designed to prevent MPs from blocking a no-deal Brexit.

In an extraordinary outburst, he said: "Shutting down Parliament would be an offence against the democratic process and the rights of parliamentarians as the people's elected representatives.

"Surely at this early stage in his premiership, the Prime Minister should be seeking to establish rather than undermine his democratic credentials and indeed his commitment to parliamentary democracy."

But Commons leader Mr Rees-Mogg, a leading Brexit supporter, told Radio Four's Today programme that Mr Bercow had been wrong to speak out.

He said: "Mr Speaker’s interesting, because the Speaker by convention, and long-standing tradition, has no tongue with which to speak or eyes with which to see other than is directed by the House.

"What he said yesterday was not directed by the House and therefore must be said in a personal capacity not as Mr Speaker.

"It was the most constitutionally improper thing that happened yesterday."

Mr Rees-Mogg also hit out at "the sort of candyfloss of outrage that we've had over the last 24 hours" from critics of Mr Johnson's move, who he said were motivated by a desire to stop Brexit entirely.

More than one million people have signed a petition opposing prorogation, while thousands took part in a protest outside Parliament on Wednesday night.

The Commons leader said: "This is the great period of anger for them, or of confected anger, because after the 31st of October we will have left and this is the last time that they have available to try and thwart the 17.4 million people who voted to leave."

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