City & London East Assembly Member, Unmesh Desai, talks about the impact and ramifications of a suspended Parliament in his latest exclusive column for City Matters.
The prorogation of Parliament raises several constitutional issues, yet more disturbingly it shows that our Prime Minister is prepared to ignore his complete lack of mandate and risk running the country into disrepair to please a scattering of Eurosceptic zealots.
Regardless of which side of the Brexit debate you are on our elected representatives must be permitted to perform their duties in scrutinising the government at this crucial juncture in our nation’s history.
Let’s be clear, the decision to suspend Parliament is nothing short of an establishment coup which must be opposed by all democratically minded people, and I will personally be joining the campaigns and protests against this reckless move.
In 2016, while the result of the referendum has to be respected, the public were not given a vote on what terms we were to leave the European Union.
The option of a no-deal Brexit, which would of course be of huge and immediate detriment to the City and our country, was not on the ballot paper and this is a most undesirable option.
Going forward into these uncertain times, the Mayor of London and others have called for a second referendum with the option to remain to be included on the ballot paper.
With continually emerging evidence on the impact that Brexit will have on our economy, infrastructure and public services, there is also the view that only a general election can settle this intractable debate and break the impasse.
On a separate note, it was fantastic to attend the Notting Hill Carnival on a visit with the Met Police who worked with an unflagging professionalism to keep revellers safe from harm.
The planning involved at all levels was detailed and impressive, and I also met City of London officers on duty, including dog handlers, who joined forces with the Met for the operation. This is the type of joint working to keep London safe that is the way forward, especially with austerity cuts to our public services.
However, the 350 arrests and several assaults on officers show that there is still yet more work to be done to try and reduce the levels of violence at Carnival and serves as a reminder of the lengths that our officers regularly go to protect us from harm.
I will be questioning the Mayor and the Met at forthcoming meetings at City Hall to open up a discussion on what more can be done to tackle crime to ensure that Notting Hill Carnival can continue to be enjoyed for many years to come.
Finally, the Mayor has recently released a report calling upon the government to provide City Hall with increased devolved funding and powers to improve our transport infrastructure and tackle the housing crisis in the Capital.
It is clear that London is not being given the investment it needs by central government and it is only right that London has greater local control over its taxes and public services and is put on equal footing with other major world cities in this way.