‘I don’t support proroguing Parliament’ Bob Seely Tweeted in July (before deleting). OnTheWight asked him what’s changed

‘I don’t support proroguing Parliament’ Bob Seely Tweeted in July – then deleted it. In August he became a supporter of prorogation. OnTheWight asked him what has changed his mind.

deleted tweet by bob seely

Last month, Conservative Isle of Wight MP Robert Seely declared his support for the Prime Minister’s plans to prorogue Parliament for five weeks.

However, the previous month, Bob didn’t support the idea.

On 9th July at 23:13 in response to a Guardian article in which Dominic Grieve said “proroguing parliament would be end of democracy in UK”, Bob tweeted:

I don’t support proroguing Parliament, but actually, Grieve, Parliament trying surreptitiously to overturning or undermine the mandate we voluntarily gave the British people would do much greater damage to our democracy.

Shortly afterwards, his tweet was deleted.

What’s changed?
Having been alerted to Bob’s deleted tweet, when only week ago he was supporting proroguing of Parliament, we asked him,

With Prorogation expected next week, can you let Islanders know what changed your mind since that Tweet in July, for you to now support proroguing Parliament.

Seely: “I have only ever once taken down a tweet
Bob replied,

“I don’t remember the circumstances, but I have only ever once taken down a tweet because of what I said so if you want to go back, I suspect you will find that I edited it or correct a typo and put up a very similar version.”

We did go back through Bob’s timeline, as well as searching for prorogue, prorogation and proroguing, but could not find an amended version of the tweet he deleted, or any tweet by him containing those words.

“Damage to democracy”
Bob’s deleted Tweet also implied that proroguing Parliament would damage democracy.

His comparison was that proroguing would damage democracy to a lesser extent than “Parliament trying surreptitiously to overturning or undermine the mandate we voluntarily gave the British people”.

We asked him,

“What were the points that won you over, that the ‘damage to our democracy’, you say proroguing Parliament would create, would become acceptable?”

Having read and read his response a number of times (shown in full below), we couldn’t find anything that seemed to answer this question.    

Seely: Five weeks not “abnormal time”
Bob did however go on to explain that he felt five weeks was not an “abnormal time” to prorogue for,

“I am/was against proroguing Parliament for an abnormal time, i.e. from July or early Sept until after 31 Oct or after Brexit. That would not be in keeping with practise. This isn’t that. It’s proroguing it for barely half a dozen days longer than normal, and starting with a Queens Speech in Oct.”

Vernon Bogdanor (Professor of Government at King’s College London) disagrees with that, telling Channel 4 News’ FactCheck, the length of time proposed in this case is “abnormal”.

Recess and proroguing are different
When Parliament takes its usual three-week break for their annual Party conferences, it goes into recess, no prorogation.

In recess it is just the House of Commons and House of Lords that do not sit. Other business, such as that of the Select Committees can still continue.

However, when Parliament is prorogued, no other business can take place during that time.

Motions (including early day motions) lapse when the House becomes prorogued, questions which have not been answered fall, nothing more will happen with them. If they have not been answered then they will stay unanswered. No motions or questions can be tabled during a prorogation.   

Online petition
Over 1.7million people have now signed the petition (3,036 from the Island) demanding that:

Parliament must not be prorogued or dissolved unless and until the Article 50 period has been sufficiently extended or the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU has been cancelled.

The petition will be debated in Parliament on 9th September. You can watch it live via the Parliament You Tube Channel.

Our thanks to MatesJacob for the heads-up.


Full question and answer
For openness, here’s what we asked Bob and what he replied in full.

We asked

We see that in July you Tweeted (and deleted) the following:

“I don’t support proroguing Parliament, but actually, Grieve, Parliament trying surreptitiously to overturning or undermine the mandate we voluntarily gave the British people would do much greater damage to our democracy. “

Linking to https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/09/grieve-proroguing-parliament-would-be-end-of-democracy-in-uk

1 – With Prorogation expected next week, can you let Islanders know what changed your mind since that Tweet in July, for you to now support proroguing Parliament.

2 – The comparison you make in your Tweet implies that proroguing Parliament would damage democracy, albeit, by your comparison, to a lesser extent than “Parliament trying surreptitiously to overturning or undermine the mandate we voluntarily gave the British people.”

What were the points that won you over, that the ‘damage to our democracy’, you say proroguing Parliament would create, would become acceptable?

He replied:

I don’t remember the circumstances, but I have only ever once taken down a tweak because of what I said so if you want to go back, I suspect you will find that I edited it or correct a typo and put up a very similar version. 

I am/was against proroguing Parliament for an abnormal time, i.e. from July or early Sept until after 31 Oct or after Brexit. That would not be in keeping with practise. This isn’t that. It’s proroguing it for barely half a dozen days longer than normal, and starting with a Queens Speech in Oct.  All sides, including the Opposition, have been arguing for a Queen’s speech for weeks if not months. It’s a bit rich to moan now they have one.

I agree, proroguing Parliament now does make it more difficult for MPs opposed to Brexit to hijack the agenda. But I feel we need to deliver. 

This Parliament is unable to agree anything. It’s become a joke, a laughing stock. We need a Government/Parliament that respects the mandate given to it, and delivers on that mandate. We then need to get our focus back to governing. I want an Island Deal. Boris has agreed it. The last time we spoke about it was on Tuesday in the Tea Room over a cuppa. 

I want to continue to deliver. We have had the extra costs of being an Island recognised. We have nearly £50 million extra for capital investment for the Island’s NHS. We have had guarantees over the future of Ryde Pier. There is more that needs to be done.

This crisis has been caused because the overwhelming majority of Labour MPs have not delivered on their manifesto commitment to respect the mandate. They had three chances to vote for a deal.  They refused. I voted for a deal three times. We need to move on. Most Islanders I talk to about this are utterly fed up and wanted MPs to honour promises made. I agree.

Friday, 6th September, 2019 7:57pm

By

ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2naw

Filed under: Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Politics, Top story

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

Leave your Reply

16 Comments on "‘I don’t support proroguing Parliament’ Bob Seely Tweeted in July (before deleting). OnTheWight asked him what’s changed"

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Email updates?
peterj

Three cheers to OTW for actually doing some of that journalism stuff and asking actual questions of our representative in that circus of half-wits and degenerates.

The eye-stabbing tedium of the continuous sycophantic PR articles that the County Press churn out has seriously been eroding my brain cells at an accelerated rate.

Nitonia

Brilliant work OTW. A snake is a snake is a snake.

Steve Goodman

As documented elswhere OTW, Bob wasn’t the only u-turn tory post prorogation:

(“Steve Goodman

Channel 4 news has reminded us that not long ago Johnson and Gove and Rudd et al were, for good reason, publicly very much against doing what they have just done.

28, August 2019 7:28 pm”, and subsequent more detailed posts)

Rupert Besley

A revealing exchange. Well pursued, OTW.

chausettes

So, Bob’s allowed to change his mind then? Doesn’t that mean…

Jenny Smart

Yep. On things of substance he changes like the wind, ad political lightweights always do.

Alternative Perspective

The answer might be found in the photo above.

Is that a Blue Tory Party LifeJacket Bob’s wearing?

iain mckie

“The mandate we voluntarily gave the British people” – I believe that the mandate is transferred from the people to MPs and not the other way around unless we are to live in an authority state.

hialtitude
My apologies for this again posting again, however, it is a rather neat and succinct summation of why Johnson’s prorogation is not ordinary or normal. It is an extracted from an article by Professor Meg Russell, University College London, who is an acknowledged expert of British constitutional law Make no mistake, to prorogue like this is far from normal. Yes, a short prorogation (usually a few days)… Read more »
Alternative Perspective
hialtitude you are correct, but the point is, it’s a diversionary tactic that simply keeps everyone in Parliament frothing at the mouth whilst time ticks by. All that Boris needs to do is feed the public with lies that he wants a ‘deal’ and is negotiating with the EU, whilst effectively doing nothing. The U.K. on the 31st will automatically leave the EU, he doesn’t have to… Read more »
Alternative Perspective

…..then riding high with an electorate weary of Brexit he’ll force a snap General Election, easy to achieve ahaving ensured the Conservatives are a minority Government having dismissed 21 MPs from the Party, he will hope to win before the post Brexit chaos really hits home.

His strategist, Dominic Cummings, is was smarter than any MP, and will have game played every scenario.

Alternative Perspective
Conservatives will throw money at any and every little post Brexit problem until winning another term in office. They will undoubtably do well in a immediate post Brexit snap election, since there will be no need for disillusioned Conservative voters to vote for the Brexit Party. Remain voters, many of whom would not have voted Conservative anyway, will have their votes divided between Labour and the resurgence… Read more »
wighty
What a w*****, trying to pretend that Boris is some sort of mate of his. What Seldom Seen did was dump Gove when he saw the writing on the wall for the candidate he’d praised to high heavens only days earlier. Whether they are right or wrong on Brexit, neither Gove nor Boris is stupid and I bet neither of them give a flying f*** about the… Read more »
Jenny Smart

I’m sure I saw a photo a few weeks ago of a young Bob Seely with his arm around Boris.

They are clearly big mates

Alternative Perspective

Whether you voted leave or remain, proroguing Parliament is a complete red herring that is having everyone thrashing about.

All that Boris Johnson needs to do is nothing, we will automatically leave on the 31st and he’ll argue he hasn’t broken any law because he hasn’t done anything.

Rowan
Well done OntheWight for asking! I’m currently in the weird position of kind of having two MPs, because I’m staying at what was my Mum and Dad’s house (I was my Mum’s full-time carer but she died in May) until we can sell it. And that house is in the constituency of the Conservative MP (now labelled a ‘rebel’ and kicked out of the party he’s been… Read more »