Recall the UK Parliament

Today I am writing an open letter to the Prime Minister.

Dear Prime Minister,

The Scottish Parliament will meet to debate the decision of the Scottish Justice Minister over the Lockerbie bomber. When you first took the highest political office in the UK you stated that you wished to restore the Uk Parliament to a more central role in our democratic life. You cannot be serious unless you today recall the UK Parliament, to meet later this week.

Since we were last allowed to convene and do our jobs as MPs, the government has endorsed a substantial increase in so called quantitative easing, has revealed a larger deterioration in our fiscal position than in the budget, has shown that whilst competitor economies on the continent are growing again our economy has continued to decline, and has watched helpless as many more people lose their jobs. We need an urgent debate on the state of the economy.

Since we last were allowed to meet several good Committee reports have been issued, including some worrying criticisms of parts of our health care. Labour figures have been keen to whip up a specious debate about Conservative attitudes towards the NHS through friendly media. Wouldn’t it be better to allow a proper Parliamentary debate on the state of the NHS and how it can be improved and reformed, so claims and counter claims can be tested in a proper forum free of the behind the scenes distortions of the spin doctors?

Since we last were permitted to do our jobs more of our troops have been killed in Afghanistan. There have been recent leaks about the state of our military procurement, along with Minsiterial denials that this has had any bearing on the lives of our soldiers. We need to cross examine Ministers on this. At the very least poor procurement has had a big impact on the state of our budget deficit. We need to ask Ministers to explain what their strategy towards Afghanistan will be once the new government is up and running. We understood the need for the British army to help create a peace sufficient to enable voters to get to the polls. What is the mission now? How do we define success and how long is the new mission to last?

Today we also want to know more about the UK’s relationships with Libya and the USA. The conduct of foreign policy remains a Union responsibility. What actions did the UK governemnt take in the run up to the important Lockerbie bomber decision by the Scottish administration, given its importance to those two relationships? What action is the Uk government now going to take given what has happened?

As far as many English people are concerned, these recent events reinforce what a lop sided and unfair system of devolution we have. A powerless UK government allows the Scottish government to make this decision, washes its hands of the foreign policy consequences, and doesn’t even allow English MPs to have a voice on that foreign policy, whilst Scotland not only makes the decision but has a functioning democracy to debate it.

You should recall Parliament immediately.

Yours

John Redwood

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46 Comments

  1. Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    What an excellent letter!
    I really hope that you succeed. Spot on!

  2. Simon D
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Of course Parliament should be recalled and these matters debated. However, the Prime Minister and his backstairs court of advisers do not believe in genuine democratic accountability and treat parliament (and, by implication, the public) with contempt.

    They do so because they can get away with it. Have the opposition party leaders anything to say on the matter? And what about our crusading free press. Surely the BBC, which poses as a cutting edge broadcaster free from bias, should be giving air time to your proposal.

    Parliament will not be recalled and the Prime Minister will succeed in burying these key issues until after the Party Conferences when he will hope that a dead cat bounce in the economy will speed him on the way to election victory.

    Meanwhile, I eagerly await the announcement of the Conservative’s proposals to deal with the scandalous injustice created by the West Lothian Question.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    At last.

    Pleased to see that at least one MP from the opposition benches thinks that proper debate on these very important subjects needs to take place, and take place fast.

    The drift of acceptance of the existing status of affairs by the majority, is not only depressing, but unacceptable.

    Yes of course MP’s need a holiday from time to time, but why all go away together, and shut down the running of UK PLC for 3 months.

    Any business working (non working) like this would go bust.

    Shame that both The Conservative and Liberal Leaders have not made such a call.

  4. Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,
    I agree with all of what you say, but it does not surprise me that this Libyan is now free – hundreds of of terrorists were set free in Northern Ireland several years ago and our Foreign Secretary has recently suggested that we talk to the Taliban.
    As for Westminster, the UK parliament cannot have any authority at home or abroad unless it commands respect. For years UK governments have taken the path of least resistance when confronted by domestic interest groups, terrorism, American interests, the EU or by the temptation of easy money. Recent expenses revelations eroded what little respect remained. Perhaps it would be better if our politicians thought of the national good rather than the next election? I find it hard to remember a time when our Government did the right thing when it could do the “popular for two weeks thing” instead. Sadly, I can´t see David Cameron offering a better alternative. More of the same or Blair-lite, its not much of a choice, is it?
    Best wishes.

  5. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    I doubt that you will even receive a reply. If you do, it will not accede to your request. Parliamentary, or any other form, of scrutiny of their actions and performance is the very last thing that this discredited Prime Minister and government want and they will do all they can to prevent it.

  6. Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    What and interrupt his 6-7 week holiday ? Anyway I imagine Labour has other trash it wants to get out before Parliament returns ….

  7. April Ryan
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    John, well done! An excellent letter and I hope with all my heart that it gets the response it deserves.

    As a member of the public I have never, in my entire life, felt so utterly helpless and distressed about the terrifying train wrick that is unfolding in front of my eyes day by day.

    I sincerely hope that every member of the oppostion will follow your lead and do everything in their power to bring this current government back to parliament to address these issues.

    thank you

  8. Mick Anderson
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    We all know that a popular demand for the recall of Parliament is going to be ignored just as much as the call for an immediate General Election.

    Voting and Democracy are what is imposed on other regimes, not things to be practiced by Mr Brown….

  9. Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    If I may roughly quote Sir Humphrey “We’ve neen excluding people from real power since 1832, nowadays all they get is to choose which bunch of buffoons are to be in charge for five years”

    Harsh, and yet tinged with a shred of truth

  10. The Bishop Swine
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Well said John, I agree with you. However I suspect that Labour will try to brush this under the carpet. We have seen how little they care about the legal mess and the boldfaced lies they are prepared to make about this issue. I think this release was wrong and a contempt of court. It would not have been so bad if there had been an appeal outstanding at least then we might have thought they knew something we did not about this man and his alleged guilt. Finally, Thanks John for at least trying to get this issue onto the political agenda.

  11. no one
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    nice letter but totally pointless, brown doesnt believe in democracy

    you would be better off writing a letter to murdoch to ask his media outlets to stop supporting the labour cause, and his young kids running his multinationals (such meritocracy there just like the conservative front bench 🙂 )

    its more of a media war now than anything, and the conservatives need to engage with the leading press and media barons

  12. True belle
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Who do the Scots think they are, not only have they upset the English, but the rest of the world too.

    We do need a recall of parliament urgently, there are many things to talk about.

    The Scots need to be reeled in and brought to account for their actions.

  13. the man from UNCLE
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Are we to assume that Neu Labour are suddenly going to take an interest in parliamentery democracy when they have spent years degrading it?

  14. Robert George
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Fat chance JR! Brown has no respect for cabinet government let alone acknowledging that Parliament has a role.

    Unelected ‘President Brown’ has no respect for Britain’s institutions; none for his own cabinet, none for the Parliament, none for the monarchy, none for the defence services, none for either the rule of law nor its institutions and none for the Great British people.

  15. WitteringsfromWitney
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Other than a condemnation of the release of Megrahi release, I do not remember David Cameron asking for a recall of Parliament. Whilst your request for that is admirable, should not this request have come from the Leader of the Opposition? The fact that you, as a back bencher, has made the request speaks volumes.

    Setting aside the Megrahi aspect – and the questions raised over possible ‘deals’ being done – there has been the borrowing figures, NHS and the continuing deaths of our Armed Personnel that should be debated – oh and Margaret Beckett’s ludicrous request for more money, all subjects worthy of the House’s attention.

  16. Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Calls for a recall of Parliament are a bit pro forma since it isn’t going to happen. However the decision to spend another £50 billion because nobody knows if the last £125 bn achieved anything is something which a sovereign Parliament should at least be able to discuss.

    I actually don’t think much of the Scottish recall, which obviously can’t achieve anything. It will simply give all parties a chance to display their “compasion” for all & sundry while the legitimate reason for releasing him (that he was innocent) & the real one (thet Brown had already shaken hands with Gadaffi over it) will go unmentioned.

  17. Liz
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Yes of course Parliament should be recalled, but then we have a Government which does not at heart believe in democracy. It should not be down to the Government of the day as to whether Parliament is recalled or not – nor should it decide, on its own, how long each session should last. The dangers of an unwritten constitution have been laid bare by the actions of the anti democratic Labour Governments from 1997 to date.

  18. Donna W
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Not a snowball’s chance in Hell. McCavity has (as usual) gone to ground.

    The last thing he wants is his Government being held to account on the economy, lies contained in the last Budget or the NHS.

    And as for Lockerbie – this has all the stench of a typical Brown Government c*ck-up – complete with ‘Lord’ (Mandelson) fraternising with Gadaffi’s son and Gordon writing a letter asking Gadaffi to keep the release of the terrorist ‘low profile.’ Yet at the same time we’re supposed to believe the British Government wasn’t involved in the decision.

    Parliament won’t be recalled to debate any of these things. If Gordon could have his way, it would no-doubt not be recalled this side of the General Election.

    • Brian Tomkinson
      Posted August 24, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Donna,
      If Brown could have his way there would be no general election!

  19. Man in the Street
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    What do you expect from a Government run by a cabal of Scots, with apparently no interest in the damage that they are doing to the UK as a whole. This is just another example of how ridiculous Scottish devolution is, in addtion to the anti-English discrimination on University tuition fees (it is English taxes that largely support the largesse of the Scottish ‘government’ ) and the discrimination on care fees for the elderly. If the Scottish ‘government’ wants to spend money on these items they should raise the taxes to cover the cost!

    Regarding the farce of the Lockerbie bomber – this appears to make the Foreign Office subservient to the Scottish Parliament! What a mess.

    • Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      It’s clear that deals have been done by Brown, Mandelson and possibly even the Americans. We’re witnessing, in the media, the narrative that the powers that be wish us to see.

      The game behind this is power and money.

  20. Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    You echo our thoughts exactly, but we all know that Brown won’t recall Parliament. It is in his interests to have Parliament sit as seldom as possible, despite his posturing.

    The last thing he wants is accountability.

    Of interest will be the wriggling we witness on this issues. Please keep us apprised?

  21. Roly Jackson
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Some will be wondering what the current Scottish controversy is really about, and why it is such a worry for the US and UK Governments.

    Here is the answer.
    http://www.trinicenter.com/oops/lockerbie.html

    But, with the withdrawal of the appeal, and the eventual death of the so-called bomber, both Governments need worry no more.

    Cheers, Rolly

  22. Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Excellent letter. Especially on the Libya fiasco, which the Labour Government is blaming on the Scottish Government. This last body resides where it has been since 1707 – in Westminster; and indeed post-devolution, one of the titles of the Orime Minister of the United Kingdom is Prime minister of Scotland. Let’s at least have some acknowledgement from Brown of where the buck stops.

  23. Helen Wright
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    We must never forget that Brown signed the Scottish Claim of Right, pledging to always put Scotland’s interests first and foremost in everything he does and says. That’s fine for a Scottish MP in the Scottish Parliament, but not for someone ruling over England and certainly with no mandate for the job!

    That man is not democratically qualified for a position in the UK government, let alone as PM. The whole of Westminster is to blame for this disgraceful situation, not just Brown et al.

    As an aside, how long will it take for the Scots to blame the English? Its in their nature, so don’t doubt it.

  24. Fred
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I have a better suggestion.
    Scrap this Scottish benevolent society that you call a parliament. (Sack-ed) about 500 so called English Members of the British Parliament and elect an English parliament of English patriots working under our well established English constitution.

  25. Patrick Harris
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Excuse me, didn’t the UK Parliament devolve these powers to the Scottish Parliament?, were/are you not a member of the UK Parliament?
    Reap what you sow.

    Reply: I did not support Labour’s devolution settlement, and Parlliament did not give away foreign policy

  26. Ken Stevens
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Excellent.

    It reinforces my view that you are a true Conservative, unlike your leadership.

    Unfortunately I do not believe that your current hierarchy will achieve anything notably different in style of government from the present administration (though admittedly it would be a relief to get shot of the latter) because there seems to be lack of core beliefs & principles that clearly distinguish one major party from another. The fact that you are not a frontbencher is just one example of Mr C clustering a cabal of likeminded people around him and not having the moral strength to risk a wider range of opinion within his circle. There would be no greater manifestation of proper cabinet government by a Tory administration than by the present one.

    Now, if you were Prime Minister….. !

  27. Steve Cox
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Good letter, John.

    Out of curiosity, may I ask if Dave Cameron (or whoever’s currently the acting boss on the shadow front bench) approved it?

    reply: I do not put any of my blog pieces up for approval

  28. Toque
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Scotland can do exactly as it likes whether the UK Parliament is in session or not.

    Don’t pretend that things would have been any different if ‘English MPs’ hadn’t been away on their hols.

  29. Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    You might as well spit at the moon. But nicely written, nonetheless.

  30. Derek W. Buxton
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Very good idea, won’t happen of course. But why are you a lone voice out there? Parliament is supposed to hold the executive to account but has done nothing since at least 1997. I remember many reports of an empty HoC, especially when Defence was on the agenda. It cannot claim to be sidelined, which it undoubtably is, when the Members condone it being done. And where, pray, is your leader when all this is happening, silent as a Trapist Monk. Oh yes, sorry, he has been trying to outbid Brown in giving even more money we haven’t got to the NHS.

    As I have said before, the expenses row happened because our politicians, of all parties, ignored the people and were found out, the last straw to those who have been treated like dirt. But I’m afraid, most of you do not get the message. This is sad for the ones who are up to the job but seeing it happen and doing nothing puts them on the rack with the wrongdoers.

  31. brian
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Why not recall the “English Parliament”, rather than the British Parliament?

    The Lockerbie fiasco has highlighted the implications and failings of Devolution. A recall of an English parliament is an inevitable outcome of this. Why not do it now? Go on i dare you. This will really set the cat amongst the pigeons.

  32. Tom Long
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    On recall of the UK (Unequal Kingdom) Parliament how about demanding a referendum for the people of England on whether they would like Scotland expelled from the Union.

    After all its just a matter of time before a serious petition or campaign is launched to expel Scotland from this insult of a Union.

  33. Posted August 24, 2009 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    So, John, you’re a lot more thrusting than David Cameron, or couldn’t get a late deal from Messrs Fly, No Baggage or Beverages?

  34. Posted August 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Spot on. I’m right with you on this one (unlike Tom Harris, you may have seen).

    I wrote about it here, “Get back here now, Gordon” earlier today, and summed up thus:

    “Remember, McBroon: you work for us. If you were a senior manager in a real ******* business (although Christ knows how you’d manage that) you wouldn’t be allowed to disappear on holiday for weeks and weeks, particularly if the company was going through a series of major crises, largely of your making.”

    “Get your sorry arse back to Westminster, and get on with your ******* job.”

    Nowhere near your eloquence, but I think we’re after the same thing.

  35. Matthew Reynolds
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    We do not need to recall Parliament – we need a general election ! All those problems need a Conservative government with a plan – not a failed Labour government without a clue.

  36. John
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Frankly Mr Redwood a parliamentary debate would just be a waste of time.

    Gordon Brown is permenently in “send message” mode. Any attempt to debate or argue with facts, logic or investigation of the relevant arguments would simply be rebuffed with “Labour investment verses Tory cuts”

    Brown is simply incapable of debate. He doesn’t know how to debate, and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. That is one of the key reasons why he fails utterly as a leader, and why he and his miserable party will be removed utterly from Parliament the next chance the electorate get to remove him.

  37. Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Why do right wingers so often find it necessary to refer to their trouser areas when they want to abuse someone into doing as they wish?

    What passes for debate has become retarded, with even the Leader of the Opposition using such language on the radio.

  38. DennisA
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I agree entirely with the letter, and it exemplifies the fact that Westminster has become unimportant.

    We have a recent announcement that our contribution to Brussels is to rise by several billion, we know that Ireland are soon to be given another chance to come up with the right answer this time on the Lisbon Treaty, so that we will sign up before the election next year. We have several coal fired power stations that have to close in 2012 without replacement, because of EU mandate.

    All of this takes place without any debate in Parliament because our real government is the unelected European Commission.

    We profess to deliver democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan, yet we have people like Peter Mandelson appointed without election as an EU Commissioner, then brought back and made an unelected “Lord” so he can run the government.

    Where is the debate on all these matters? There is none, because the EU machine runs silently in the background and each day yet another regulation comes into force and Parliament merely implements the instructions they are given.

    We are sleep-walking into a massive federal state and no-one seems to care.

  39. Martin
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    John I doubt if you will get any answers from the Foreign Office. They will bat all questions back to the SNP.

    London controls the purse strings as well and like many people I find it hard to believe that the Foreign Office/UK Government wasn’t involved behind the scenes.

    By the way I see some Americans are forgetting the way their legal system caused the last Conservative government problems by blocking terrorist deportations.

  40. mike of brentford
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps you can enlist the help of the England cricket team who have managed to flush the PM from under his rock to try and bask in their light.

  41. Posted August 25, 2009 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    “Wouldn’t it be better to allow a proper Parliamentary debate on the state of the NHS and how it can be improved and reformed”.

    Agreed. But while we’re on the subject of the English democratic deficit, can we have some honesty about the fact that it’s the English NHS we’re talking about, not the ‘British’ one, which no longer exists as such? Maybe politicians from both sides have avoided an honest debate on the NHS because they don’t want to acknowledge that fact that it’s an English-national institution they would be discussing; and in order to discuss this properly on behalf of the people, they really need to be an English parliament answerable to the English people – which is clearly what the present Parliament is not.

  42. Doc Snoddy
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I’m getting confused here a bit.
    Which Scottish Parliament are you talking about the one at Westminster or the one at Holyrood?

  43. Monty Slocombe
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Matthew Reynolds is right. It’s an election we need, not a letter. I cannot understand why there are no calls for a “no confidence” vote. They have another 10 months to dig us into further trouble and disrepute. Must we stand by and let them?

    The next government will need a decade to get us back on an even keel. In 10 months this lot could well steer us onto the rocks.

  44. MAnderson
    Posted August 31, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    As far as many English people are concerned, these recent events reinforce what a lop sided and unfair system of devolution we have. A powerless UK government allows the Scottish government to make this decision, washes its hands of the foreign policy consequences, and doesn’t even allow English MPs to have a voice on that foreign policy, whilst Scotland not only makes the decision but has a functioning democracy to debate it.

    Why are we referred to as the United Kingdom? We are clearly not united! Gordon Brown needs to be scaked immediately! Anyone else who wasn’t doing their job would be scaked so why not him?
    As for Mandy being pm well, he has been thrown out of gov’t before now. Why is he even being touted?

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] Recall the UK Parliament – John Redwood […]

  2. […] a recall. This year’s winner is John Redwood, who has today written to the Prime Minister demanding as much. Libya and the release of Al-Megrahi seem to be his principle reasons. But he also has a […]

  3. […] is right: recall Parliament Jump to Comments John Redwood has written to the Prime Minister urging that Parliament be recalled this week to debate, among […]

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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