Wokingham town centre protest planned over suspension of Parliament

PROTESTS over the decision by the new Prime Minister to suspend parliament will be held in Wokingham on Wednesday evening. 

The cross-party event will take place from 4.30pm to 6pm in Market Place and follows on the heels of similar events that have taken place across the country, including a group who stood in Whitehall, outside 10 Downing Street, on Monday evening while Boris Johnson gave a statement outlining why he wanted the country to back his stance on No Deal Brexit. 

Mr Johnson’s government is planning to prorogue Parliament – preventing MPs from meeting, organising select committees or debating anything – from Thursday, September 12 through to a state opening of Parliament on Monday, October 14. 

The controversial decision has been deplored by political leaders, including former Prime Minister John Major who is lending his backing to a legal challenge to the plan. 

Wokingham MP Sir John Redwood is in favour of the prorogation. 

In his blog, he said: “Shock horror, we are going to have the same 3-week break for party conferences we have always had.

“The irony of Remain is they now dare to say it undemocratic to implement the referendum decision, undemocratic to have a new session of Parliament with a new agenda for a new government, and undemocratic if the majority get their way.

“It is they who launch the attack on democracy, by denying the result of the referendum and seeking to stop the transfer of powers of self-government back to Parliament, which was the whole point of the Brexit vote.”

However, not everyone agrees with Sir John.

Reading East MP Matt Rodda said: “The prorogation of Parliament is deeply irresponsible and is a direct challenge to MPs from all parties who are working together to avoid a damaging No Deal Brexit.

“I believe this irresponsible act is in stark contrast to all those who are putting aside party differences to work in the national interest.”

And Dr Phillip Lee, MP for Bracknell, said in a BBC interview that MPs should “stand up and be counted” against the plan and that Conservative MPs had a choice to make. 

In a post on social media, the organisers say that Wednesday’s Market Place protest will allow residents to “stand up to the anti-democratic event of last week and keep pressure on the MPs across the UK by showing your anger at PM Johnson’s unscrupulous, shameful political move”.

Similar protests have taken place in Reading as well as nationwide, and the online hashtag for it is #StopTheCoup. 

Wokingham Town Council’s Cllr Anna Box (Liberal Democrat) is organising Wednesday’s protest. 

She said: “It’s a cross-party event and that is very, very important to me.

“I have invited Conservative, Green and Labour friends and colleagues to this. 

“I do not mind who wants to join, as long as they want to get involved in the democratic process.”

Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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