Mike Gapes Ilford Recorder Column – September 2019

The House of Commons has voted to ensure that Boris Johnson cannot crash our country out of the European Union on 31 October without a Deal.  Prime Minister Johnson disgracefully asked the Queen to Prorogue Parliament for five weeks during which there can be no questions, debates, committees or scrutiny of government. Important Bills on Immigration, Agriculture and Domestic Violence have been lost.  The Queens Speech to start the new session will be on 14 October. Johnson took the Whip from 21 MPs. Others resigned.  There are now a record number of Independents. I am also an Independent MP. 

I resigned from the Labour Party in February after 50 years of membership. To be true to myself I could not pretend to defend or support the foreign policy positions taken by Jeremy Corbyn on Russia, Syria and Venezuela, the anti- Jewish racism, and Corbyn’s facilitation of Brexit.

But I remain Labour to my core.  I still have traditional Labour values of decency, equality, and solidarity. In the debate about whether to call an early election I expressed my concern at the dangerous polarisation of politics. Members of Parliament are representatives of their constituents. They must use their independent judgement on the vital national and international issues which face our country.  They must not become delegates of factions or parties.

I have received many messages and expressions of support from constituents, including from Labour members and supporters.  I have therefore decided to put myself forward for re-election in any early General Election.