Co-op Party condemns suspension of Parliament

The Party’s chair, secretary general and Northern Ireland office have all condemned the move

The Co-operative Party has attacked Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament, and says the prorogation is the antithesis of co-operative values.

The prime ministers move, which has sparked fierce debate and protests around the country, means Parliament will be shut down for 25 working days, from 9 September to 14 October, when the government will hold a Queen’s Speech.

Co-op Party general secretary Joe Fortune said: “Suspending Parliament to force through a disastrous no-deal Brexit is an affront to our democracy. Shutting down debate is the antithesis of co-operative values, and MPs should have as much time as possible to represent the voices of their constituents. 

“A no-deal Brexit, which this move makes more likely, is not in the interests of the country.”

The prime minister’s decision to suspend parliament has also been condemned by the Co-operative Party Northern Ireland.

NI Party chair Tony McMullan said: “It is a parliamentary scandal that the prime minister is using this manoeuvre to restrict opposition parties from exercising their right to hold the government to account. It is particularly regrettable that the DUP have utterly failed to articulate the genuine fears and concerns of Northern Ireland citizens who see their economy, their peace process and their futures being badly damaged by a hardline no-deal Brexit.”

“The Co-operative Party Northern Ireland will be calling on the 32 Labour/Co-op MPs to do everything they can to work alongside others to oppose this gross abuse of parliamentary procedure. We need more, not less, democracy.”

Co-op Party chair Anna Turley MP published a statement in which she argued that a no-deal Brexit would be “disastrous” for her constituency in Redcar and Cleveland, as well as the wider north east region.

She said leaving the EU without a deal would affect local industries and thousands of jobs they provide. She added that the prime minister’s action would result in a lack of scrutiny.

“If he thinks he can sweep away the democratic representation of the British people, elected just two years ago, at the drop of a hat, he has another think coming,” she said, adding: “When Parliament returns on Tuesday we will resist his actions to ensure it is not shut out of one of the biggest issues facing our country.”

The quote from the Co-op Party NI has been amended. The initial quote referred to “the 32 MPs who take the Labour/Co-op whip” but there is no specific Co-op or Labour/Co-op whip.