Thursday 8 August 2019 / 10:30 PM Brexit / Jeremy Corbyn

No Deal in the middle of a general election campaign would be “anti-democratic abuse of power” – Corbyn

Corbyn: Forcing through No Deal in the middle of a general election campaign would be “an unprecedented, unconstitutional and anti-democratic abuse of power” by Boris Johnson

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn has written to Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill seeking confirmation that Boris Johnson could not force through a No Deal Brexit in the middle of a general election campaign.

Corbyn’s letter follows briefings by Downing Street that Boris Johnson could seek to force through No Deal through a Westminster stitch-up, without any democratic mandate and during a general election campaign, to block the people deciding at the ballot box.

In the letter, Corbyn denounces the plot as “an unprecedented, unconstitutional and anti-democratic abuse of power”.

Corbyn argues that it is only right to “let the electorate decide” the country’s future and not allow a stitch up from “a Prime Minister elected, not by the public, but by a small number of unrepresentative Conservative Party Members.”

Ends

Full text of the letter

Dear Mark Sedwill,

You will no doubt be aware of press speculation that, even if Parliament votes that it has no confidence in the current Conservative government, the Prime Minister could attempt to force through a disastrous No Deal Brexit by scheduling a general election after the UK is due to leave the European Union on 31 October.

Forcing through No Deal against a decision of Parliament, and denying the choice to the voters in a general election already underway, would be an unprecedented, unconstitutional and anti-democratic abuse of power by a Prime Minister elected, not by the public, but by a small number of unrepresentative Conservative Party members.

I am therefore writing to seek your urgent clarification on the proper application of ‘Purdah’ rules in such a scenario and the constitutional implications of failing to abide by those rules.

As you will be aware, Purdah guidance makes clear that “decisions on matters of policy on which a new government might be expected to want the opportunity to take a different view from the present government should be postponed until after the election, provided that such postponement would not be detrimental to the national interest or wasteful of public money.”

As government assessments make clear, a No Deal Brexit would have a deeply damaging impact on the economy, with serious consequences for jobs, living standards and industry in this country. A Labour government will never support a No Deal exit, so would of course “want the opportunity to take a different view.”

I would therefore be grateful for your confirmation that, if the UK is due to leave the EU without a deal during a general election campaign, the government should seek a time-limited extension to Article 50, to let the electorate decide and the incoming government to take the next steps on the basis of the voters’ wishes.

As this is a matter of public interest, I am making this letter public.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Corbyn MP

Leader of the Labour Party