Lancaster residents protest ‘attack on democracy’, while others say ‘suck it up’

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Lancaster residents will join others across the country this weekend to protest against the suspension of Parliament, described as an “attack on democracy”.

Protestors are expected to gather on the steps of Lancaster Town Hall at 1pm on Saturday August 31, after the government was granted permission by the Queen to suspend Parliament just days after MPs return to work in September - and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that a Queen’s Speech would take place after the suspension, on October 14, to outline his “very exciting agenda”.

But it means the time MPs have to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on October 31 would be cut.

There was a huge backlash following the move on Wednesday, and in Lancaster, residents gathered outside the town hall in protest.

These included Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith, who said she was “furious” with the proposal and had been contacted by constituents via email, telephone, and in the street following the announcement.

Jon Moore, one of the protesters said: “We have a representative parliamentary democracy.

“We have Her Majesty’s Opposition, and Her Majesty’s Government.

“That’s how our parliament works.

“As Winston Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of Government, except for all the rest.

“Anyone who wishes to turn off parliament because it disagrees with their plans, is a dictator, and we must fight them, and resist their actions.”

Many people are now expecting a general election.

Lancashire County Coun for Morecambe South Charlie Edwards said: “I am appalled at the outrageous comment of Cat Smith’s in the article about our Prime Minister’s decision to start a new Parliamentary session next month.

“The use of the ‘prorogation’ is done on a regular basis - if Clement Attlee hadn’t used it in 1945 we may not have had the National Health Service.

“Cat Smith says she wants to defend democracy.

“Well what has she done in the past three years to defend the decision of the British people to leave the European Union, including the majority of her constituents?

“She’s called for a People’s Vote, she voted against every Brexit deal with the EU, she has marched and rallied and campaigned to keep us in the EU.”

Ms Smith has been contacted for a response.

In 1948, Labour Prime Minister Clement Atlee prorogued parliament to get around opposition to the Parliament Bill, which intended to limit the powers of the Lords.

Prorogation was a short-term tactic which created an extra session of parliament, speeding up the process by which the Commons can override the Lords.

According to the FactCheck website, the situation was different to today’s, as government policy had a majority in the Commons.

Others on the Lancaster Guardian’s Facebook page supported Coun Edwards’ position.

Rosemary Gray said: “Suck it up buttercup - vox pop said Out so out we will go, despite all you Remainers throwing your toys out of the pram.

“Democracy - ever heard of it????”

Lancaster residents opposed to a no-deal Brexit, and indeed Brexit in general, will also attend a People’s Vote March in London Saturday October 19.