Douglas Carswell

13 FEB 2017

Don't jeopardise Brexit with Commons chaos

Parliament has some big Brexit battles ahead. We need to win them. So Brexiteer MPs should base everything they do in the Commons on a simple litmus test: does it benefit Brexit, or not? That's my perspective on the latest effort to unseat the Speaker – and why I won't support it.

There's no doubt John Bercow's attempt to stop President Trump speaking in Parliament is wrong. It's an absurd overreach. It's student politics.

It's also an appalling double standard. Last year, Parliament invited the Chinese President to speak. He is not democratically elected. His government restricts freedom, imprisons dissidents, and routinely abuses human rights.

Yet MPs politely listened to him speak, and had tea with him afterwards. Indeed, the Speaker was only too happy to host him.

In fact, Parliament has welcomed numerous illiberal despots and tin-pot tyrants over the years.

So blocking the elected President of our closest ally – the leader of the free world – is worse than mere virtue signalling. It's morally perverse.

But that doesn't make another Tory challenge to Bercow a good idea. Because the one thing we don't need now is Commons chaos.

Parliament has serious votes on the Great Repeal Bill ahead. Majorities could be tight. Remainer MPs will continue to frustrate the referendum result.

Brexiteers should be exclusively focused on winning those fights – not picking others. Nothing else matters.

President Trump should absolutely be invited to address Parliament.

The Speaker needs to stop posturing, swallow his pride, and roll out the red carpet.

But I won't join the charge to depose him. There are much more important battles to fight.

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