These are indeed momentous times. Yesterday, for the first time in history, the UK government was found in contempt of Parliament in a motion passed by 311 votes to 293.
It is unclear at the moment what the resulting effects of this will be on individual members of parliament. Contempt of parliament by an MP can result in suspension or expulsion. In this case, it would be expected that there will be incidents of suspension rather expulsion. Although who exactly would have that fate befall them is also unclear at the moment.
That this is the “first time in history” may surprise some, as it is not beyond imagination that the UK government has engaged in subterfuge, delay and distraction at regular intervals in the past. However when the Government did not challenge a vote that demanded the Government reveal its legal advice in full, the Government has wilfully ignored that directive. It then hoped that a summary released yesterday would head off any trouble. It did not. Any edited or redacted advice is not the full advice. So the voted was held yesterday.
It should not be lost that this behaviour comes at a time when the country’s Government needs to be working at its best. We hear regularly from members of the public how MP’s should just “get on with it” and ”work together”, yet their ire is misdirected. The attitude that they despise comes directly from this Government. Theresa May and her cohort in cabinet could have made a myriad of different choices since the referendum vote in 2016. They have chosen a path of most resistance instead. Fighting at all times to force this situation through parliament as though, in their minds, it is cabinet alone that is “sovereign”. The Court case forced the government to accept that Parliament should have a meaningful vote on the deal was begrudgingly accepted, and despite the government losing a vote to force them to reveal the legal advice they received from the Attorney general, they continued to refuse to publish.
So on every level, at every stage, the Conservatives reveal their true feelings. If you look at their behaviour they believe that Parliament is not “sovereign”. All of the usual suspects of the Brexiteers voted with the government in trying to keep this information from parliament. All of them. There should be no doubt. The Brexiteers are not interested in regaining sovereignty if it hinders what they want. They only want control over our laws (parliament never lost control of that in any case) in order to make changes without debate or opposition. They are truly not fans of democracy, and this situation proves it.
Written by The Left Bible contributor Jake Ahmad.