UPDATE: Almost 3,000 Saffron Walden constituents back petition to stop proroguing of parliament
PUBLISHED: 14:49 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:41 02 September 2019
A petition launched on August 28 against Boris Johnson's move to prorogue Parliament appears to lack popularity within the Saffron Walden constituency.
The petition sparked a total 1,615,950 signatures nationwide, with 2,993 signatures from Saffron Walden so far. This accounts for 2.679% of the 111,701 constituents. In Braintree, 1,483 people signed the petition so far, which translates as 1.467% of the 101,221 total.
The decision to suspend Parliament was criticised because MPs are unable to vote against it, and, with the prorogation lasting much longer than usual, they also have less time to pass legislation against a no-deal Brexit, critics argue.
The petition argues that the prorogation should not be done without sufficiently extending Article 50 or without cancelling 'the UK's intention to withdraw from the EU'.
However, the prime minister argued there will be enough time for MPs debate on October 17, two weeks before Brexit is due to happen. Johnson also denies intending to prevent MPs from interfering with his Brexit agenda.
Responding to the petition, Mrs Kemi Badenoch, Conservative MP for Saffron Walden, said: "The overwhelming view in the constituency, from all my meetings and correspondence from residents and business, is that the uncertainty over Brexit must end as soon as possible so that we can get back to focusing on domestic issues".
Last month, Mrs Badenoch was appointed as Children and Families Minister under Boris Johnson, having previously been Vice Chairman of the Conservatives under Theresa May.
Mrs Badenoch shares Mr Johnson's preference for Brexit with a deal, but says that 'leaving without a deal is still the default outcome should we not find a mutually agreeable solution'.
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Following claims by the opposition that labelled the suspension, backed by the Queen's approval as 'anti-democratic', Mrs Badenoch said: "This is simply not the case. The Queen's Speech will continue to have Brexit at its heart, meaning that Parliament can still debate the Government's overall programme, including its approach to Brexit, in the run up to EU Council on October 17-18, and then vote on this on October 21-22.
"Parliament has had multiple opportunities over the last three years to find a way forward. What is critical is that we deliver on the biggest mandate ever given in a British vote so we can move on from this current situation and start addressing and answering some of the pressing issues our country faces, which the new Queen's Speech will aim to do."
Talking to the Saffron Walden Reporter, Alan Dean, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Stansted North and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, shared his views of the prorogation: "We haven't found anyone who is supporting it. It's normal to have a prorogation but not this lengthy, it's the longest since the Second World War. I think we are heading to a disaster. We are heading to a dictatorship and there is a danger Boris Johnson will turn into a dictator if Brexit goes forward".
Alan Dean also believes that the government will not deliver on its promises, as he says they made a lot of promises over the past three years:
"Sometimes the government makes promises in good faith and finds it hard to deliver them. Many people voted for something that wasn't delivered and it created a major damage to the society. I have been around since just after the Second World War and this is the worst crisis in my lifetime".
Cllr Dean also spoke about the ongoing petition against the prorogation: "I have signed it yesterday as I am disgusted with the behaviour of the present government. We have a Prime Minister that was elected by a small number of Conservative members, not by the people and it's trying to support the Government's Brexit and I think it's appalling. I welcome this.
The latest event sparked a lot of reactions on social media according to the Councillor, from people he knows who he says are 'equally appalled' as him.
"I believe there is a daily protest in Saffron Walden. I got friends from the Liberal Democrats, friends standing outside the town hall in protest", he said.
Responses from the Parliament and the Government regarding the petition are now pending after it surpassed the required the number of signatures.