Heated reaction from both sides after historic day in Parliament
MPs fire salvos after proroguing order goes through.
After a long, wild and historic night in Westminster, when the visions planted in many people’s brains were the opposition MPs’ signs of “Silenced”, a tweet from one parliamentarian whose career has been changed by Brexit summed up the mood for many.
“It’s the end of a very long and shameful day,” wrote Luciana Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree.
“Parliament is now closed and our democracy silenced for 5 weeks.”
Ms Berger, now a Lib Dem after defecting from the Labour Party in part because of Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of Brexit, added a photo of one of the many handwritten “Silenced” signs left in the Commons, in reaction to Boris Johnson’s successful move to prorogue parliament for five weeks.
As opposition MPs staged a sit-in in the chamber, many singing songs of defiance such as the Red Flag, the tweets flew thick and fast.
Most ran, predictably, along party lines, but one among the throng stood out.
It was from famed British historian Sir Simon Schama, a man well placed to give the prorogation some historical context.
“shutting parliament during the gravest national crisis since the war is an act of grotesque cowardice; but history will remember the infamy and those responsible for it with indelible contempt,” Dr Schama wrote.
The Lib Dems’ Brexit spokesman Tom Brake reported Mr Johnson’s “2nd attempt at a cut and run General Election has been defeated”, but that he “did succeed in shutting down parliament for 5 weeks”.
“Anyone would think he had something to hide!” he quipped.
His party’s leader Jo Swinson lamented on “a bad day for parliamentary democracy” laced by “brash, braying, bravado” from Mr Johnson,
Deputy Labour Leader John McDonnell tweeted that defiant Opposition MPs would “never let this extreme right win Tory sect silence our democracy”.
“The closing down of Parliament by Johnson & the Tories provoked anger in the Commons,” Mr McDonnell wrote.
“But also in the final moments of this Parliamentary session a defiant burst of singing of the ‘Red Flag’ by Labour MPs. We will never let this extreme right wing Tory sect silence our democracy.
Labour MP Dawn Butler, meanwhile, said her party could be proud for standing up to “Boris Johnson and his bullies”.
“They called us names, and they played their games. Our democracy is not for them to trash,” she said.
Her colleague Stella Creasy reported on the “screaming and shouting on all sides” as the prorogation process began, saying it showed “the mess this parliament has become in the toxic whilpool of brexit”
Minister for Digital and Broadband Matt Warman attacked the Opposition, alleging several cases of hypocrisy.
“Shameful behaviour in the Commons from an opposition that claimed to respect the referendum vote but blocked Brexit; that demands an election but won’t vote for one; that puts placards on seats rather than find solutions – then has the gall to claim politics is not a game to them,” Mr Warman tweeted.
MP for Windsor Adam Afriyie, blamed the Opposition for the “chaos” in Parliament, saying they did not respect democracy or public opinion.
And Chelmsford MP Vicky Ford noted what she felt was the jarring sight of Labour MPs singing The Red Flag in the Commons at 1.30am, “after refusing to vote for a General Election”.
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