Journal column - 17/4/18

Doesn't really do democracy, does Theresa May.

Sidelining Parliament in a democracy to bomb another country isn't the lesson I'd want her to teach a brutal dictator in Syria.


The talk in the Brexit referendum was about the sovereignty of the Parliament she bypassed, afraid MPs might use that sovereignty to stop her foolish mission unaccomplished with Donald Trump. 


We need to take back control in Britain so a Prime Minister in future is never able again to order the military into action without the specific approval of the nation's elected representatives.


The War Powers Act proposed by Jeremy Corbyn would do precisely that and there's wide public support, I'm relieved to find, for democratic accountability of the unguided PM, the exception of course being a national emergency.


May didn't recall Parliament or wait until Monday of this week when it returned from recess because she was justifiably frightened she'd lose any vote, cooler heads warning her that Britain launching missiles was unwise.


Ignoring the experts in Syria from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), launching into the conflict before they'd examined the site where dozens of women and children as well as men died, is foolish when she's relying on inspectors from the same OPCW to nail down the Novichok poison used in the attempted assassination of MI6 double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.


The vicar's daughter has form when it comes to sticking up two fingers at Parliament.


The country voted for Brexit so Brexit we shall yet if Parliament not May had decided when Article 50 was triggered we might've gone into the negotiations with our 27 neighbours in the European Union with a much better idea of how we'd like to come out.


Then there's Parliament's meaningful vote – whatever that turns out to be – on the Brexit deal which Mrs May-not was determined to avoid until Parliament asserted its sovereignty and demanded a final say on behalf of the nation.


Our Henrietta VIII in Downing Street loves her inherited monarchical powers and now wants to fix Parliament itself so it is a permanent extension of the Conservative Party.


Her devious plan is to gerrymander elections, fixing the system for the Tories, by reducing the number of MPs from 650 to 600 with most victims of the Conservative cull being – surprise! – Labour and other opposition MPs.


The fundamentally undemocratic May plot would twist further in the Tory favour a system already benefiting the Conservatives, a fact she ignores and her minions wilfully deny to pretend that Labour's the party receiving an unfair advantage.


Calculations by the House of Commons Library show that at the 2017 General Election the Tories got one seat for every 43,018 votes nationally compared with Labour's 49,152 per MP. 


I don't hear Northern Ireland's DUP, whose votes she bought in a Bung Parliament with £1-billion of taxpayers' money, ever included on their list of grievances given they were awarded one MP for just every 29,200 votes.


Rigging democracy in favour of the Tories under the cover of supposedly equalising constituencies is a dirty trick.


And I agree there are too many national politicians but they're not elected MPs. They're the 800 unelected peers with jobs for life in the House of Lords. Cameron stuffed the place at a record rate and May's about to gift ermine to another bunch of Conservative cronies.


As I said, May doesn't do democracy.

Meet your MP


Stephen Hepburn has served the Jarrow Constituency as MP since 1997.

He was last elected to serve in June 2017 and won the seat with a conclusive 17,263 majority.

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