Jonathan Edwards, Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
Next week MPs will be asked to vote on a farcical Queen’s Speech which in reality will be nothing more than a five-day manifesto launch for the Conservative Party.
The British Government do not require a Queen’s Speech in order to answer the Brexit question. It is not required to bring forward a vote on their deal. It is not required to seek and extension to Article 50. It is not required to call a People’s Vote.
Not only is the Queen’s Speech unnecessary, it is also impossible for this Westminster Government to deliver the programme of work which they will outline. They simply do not have the numbers or the credibility needed to deliver what they will promise.
Fundamentally calling for an election whilst at the same time outlining a year-long – or perhaps multi-year – programme of legislation is logically incompatible. Whatever way you look at it, it just does not add up.
The last few months have been a testament to their incompetence. They have failed to unite their party on Brexit which led to the expulsion of 21 of their own MPs. They have failed to create credible proposals for a new deal – instead opting to resurrect knowingly undeliverable proposals.
As we saw with the recent unlawful prorogation, the Prime Minister is abusing the institutions of Westminster to duck scrutiny and avoid questions about both his personal and political decisions.
The same is true of the billions of pounds worth of policy announcements made by the Prime Minister over the past few weeks. In making these declarations his aim has not been to create a radical and transformational programme for government, but rather to shout buzz words designed to win votes, not change lives.
This reckless use of public money to buy publicity is yet more proof that Boris Johnson cares more for his career than for citizens, more about showmanship than substance.
With the threat of a no-deal crash-out Brexit looming ever nearer, it is utterly unacceptable that we waste next week on pomp and ceremony. We should be putting the Chamber to its intended use and engaging in the work of Parliament – scrutinising the government and finding a way out of this political deadlock.
Plaid Cymru already has the solution. It is time for the British government to take the question of Brexit back to the people. If we do not, we will face a general election run as a referendum, which hard Brexiteers will use as a platform to campaign for a no deal Brexit.
We know that a no deal scenario would wreak irreparable damage on our economy, cause chaos at our ports, risk access to life-saving medicines and undermine our industries. The British Government’s own analysis has emphasised this time and time again.
The Prime Minister should be doing everything in his power to prevent this. It is clear however, that he does not care about the consequences of his decisions, as long as he is able to remain in the limelight.
There is undoubtedly something counterintuitive about a Welsh nationalist party urging the British Government to stop abusing the institutions of Westminster for political gain.
But the only way we can avoid harm to our nation and its people is with a People’s Vote to end the chaos caused by Brexit.