Parliament and the country are in paralysis. Redcar MP Anna Turley tries to make sense of one of the craziest weeks in the long history of the House of Commons

THE question I get asked the most when I’m home in the constituency is ‘what on earth is going on?’, and I find it increasingly difficult to answer.

The country is watching in disbelief as Brexit is gradually overwhelming our democracy, our constitution, our union, and our political parties.

It’s like the red weed in War of the Worlds spreading over everything, smothering and clogging the flow of our civic and political life.

There is no oxygen for anything else – all the issues parliamentarians like me came in to deal with and which are so important in the North-East like child poverty, education, unemployment. This week the Spending Review, normally a big set piece of the parliamentary calendar passed by unnoticed. Baby’s Law, the bill on animal cruelty I’ve been working on for three years that was finally due to complete this week, was shunted off the order paper yet again. Parliament and the country are in paralysis.

A general election will not end this paralysis, and that is why so many of us voted against it this week. Theresa May learnt to her cost that a general election, can just make matters more confused as people vote on so many other issues. Only by dealing with Brexit itself can we end this national crisis.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see the back of this wretched Tory government with a Chancellor who closed Redcar steelworks, a Home Secretary who advocated the death penalty and a Brexit Secretary who has just discovered that to build cars here in the North-East we rely on just-in-time supply chains with parts crossing the channel tariff-free multiple times.

Plus a leader of the House who I felt duty bound to snap reclining horizontally on the front bench like a feudal baron in his manor, treating parliament and its representatives with a sneering disrespect. And that’s before we get to Mr Johnson himself, whose performances in the Commons this week have been shambolic, incoherent and needlessly aggressive.

Despite plotting his whole life to get to this point, and writing two articles in the referendum; one to leave and one to remain before deciding which was best for his career, he has managed to lose his first three votes. This makes him the first Prime Minister since the Earl of Rosebery in 1874 (also an old Etonian and Bullingdon Boy incidentally) to lose his first vote.

As Jeremy Corbyn said this week, he has no mandate, no majority and no morals.

There is no way, however, that we are going to support calls for an election that could enable him to slip the country past the Halloween deadline so that we crash out without a deal. We are not going to let him avoid the reality of having to deliver what he has promised the British people.

He wanted power and he wanted to renegotiate a better deal with the EU. Now he has it, he should get on with it, not ask us to bail him out.

The very reason we are in this fix is because we had a public vote in 2016 that was based on impossible promises and which mislead the public. We won’t allow him to do this again.

The issue of Brexit simply must be resolved before we can go to an election and continue with the real work that needs doing in our country. We are now on our third Prime Minister since that vote, and a hard right minority government is pressing its own interpretation of what 17.4million people voted for.

I have spoken to many of them over the last three years and none of them voted to make Britain a low tax, Singapore-style economy with reduced workers rights and in hock to the US.

This is the agenda of the team behind Boris. They are misappropriating the votes of people in regions like ours and it is our communities who will suffer the most. The 2016 referendum holds no mandate for crashing out and creating the kind of economic chaos these people want.

The only way forward to fix this mess is to get a deal – either Theresa May’s or something which Boris has negotiated before the end of October – and put it back to the people to ask if this is truly what they want.

No more false promises on the side of a bus. No more unicorns. Just the reality of Brexit as negotiated, versus Remain and the whole sorry mess called off.

That is what I and my colleagues in your parliament will continue to fight for.

  • Anna Turley is the Member of Parliament for Redcar