Sixteen of London’s 73 MPs from three different parties have urged colleagues to form an “alternative parliament” to debate Brexit and hold Boris Johnson’s government to account during the controversial five-week suspension of parliament it has announced will take place during September and October.
Eleven Labour MPs, four Liberal Democrats and one from the Independent Group for Change representing seats in the capital are among more than 60 MPs who signed a letter, published by the Guardian, describing Johnson’s move as “an unconstitutional coup”, designed to push through a “no-deal” Brexit, that “risks compromising people’s jobs, security and living standards, as well as the Good Friday agreement”.
Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged the national government led by his predecessor to “bring about a step-change in devolution” to London and other cities and regions across the UK in order to help boost growth as the 31 October deadline for leaving the European Union approaches.
Two reports published by the Mayor, one making the case for greater investment in London, the other presenting evidence for a local industrial strategy for the capital, seek to underline London’s importance to the UK’s economy but also challenge the view that London gets preferential treatment compared with the rest of the country while stressing the different regions’ interdependence.
Londoners voted by 60 per cent to 40 per cent to remain in the EU at the June 2016 European referendum while the UK as a whole voted by 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave, a result some analysts believe was in part a reflection of hostility towards cosmopolitan and “metropolitan elite” values negatively associated with London. Yet official statistics show that for the last three years taxes raised in London have far exceeded public spending here, including a London “fiscal surplus” in 2017-18 of £34.3 billion contributing to public spending across the rest of the country.
Publication of the two reports follows Mayor Khan’s issuing in June a “ten point challenge” seeking measures from national government to “reduce the impact of Brexit, tackle economic inequality and counter the growing anti-London sentiment across the country.” The strong representation of London MPs among those advocating setting up an “alternative parliament” is another demonstration of the dismay felt in the capital over Brexit and its possible damaging effects.
The 16 London MPs who signed the “alternative parliament” letter are:
- Tom Brake (Lib Dem) Carshalton & Wallington.
- Karen Buck (Labour ) Westminster North.
- Vince Cable (Lib Dem) Twickenham.
- Janet Daby (Labour) Lewisham East.
- Edward Davey (Lib Dem) Kingston & Surbiton.
- Mike Gapes (Independent Group) Ilford South.
- David Lammy (Labour) Tottenham.
- Seema Malhotra (Labour) Feltham & Heston.
- Siobhain McDonagh (Labour) Mitcham & Morden.
- Kate Osamor (Labour) Edmonton.
- Virendra Sharma (Labour) Ealing Southall.
- Tulip Siddiq (Labour) Hampstead & Kilburn.
- Andy Slaughter (Labour) Hammersmith.
- Gareth Thomas (Labour) Harrow West.
- Chuka Umunna (Lib Dem) Streatham.
- Catherine West (Labour) Hornsey & Wood Green.
Read the letter in full here.
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