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Word for word: How Alex Chalk told constituents he would resign if the government acted unlawfully


Today, Cheltenham MP Alex Chalk told BBC Radio Gloucestershire he would not be resigning from his government role as PPS to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in light of the Supreme Court ruling that the government had acted unlawfully in suspending parliament.

This is despite telling constituents just over a fortnight ago that "the issue of lawfulness is a red line for me personally".

On the eve of September 10, the day parliament was suspended by Boris Johnson, Mr Chalk travelled back to his constituency from Westminster and held an impromptu Q&A for constituents in Pitville Park to try and defend his government's Brexit mess.

Asked for his red line when it came to resignation, Mr Chalk said he would not tolerate the government breaking the law. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled the government had acted unlawfully in suspending parliament - a process known as prorogation - for five weeks in the run-up to Brexit on October 31.

But still Mr Chalk insists he will not resign from government...

Read Mr Chalk's full comments from Pitville Park here:

"I had a conversation earlier this week…Because Amber [Rudd] went there were all these reshuffles going on and the chief whip came and had a conversation with me.

"The question was, 'Could you guarantee that you wouldn’t resign?' I said, 'Look chief, the bottom line is this: if there is the scintilla of a suggestion that the British government would act unlawfully, forget it. Game over.' So there would be a raft of people that would say, 'I’m not having any part of this.'

"We’re a nation of laws, I’m a barrister by background and I recognise that that solemn compact we have between the rights of the individual and the power of the state means that the state must act in good faith.

"Whilst I’m prepared to accept that not all legislation is watertight, Jonathan Sumption who’s a former Supreme Court justice had it absolutely right on Radio 4 which is that the law is tolerant and plain, governments obey the law. Now that is a really important red line for me. 

"What was not a red line bluntly was [prorogation] because although I strongly deprecated the issue of prorogation, you have to pick your moments. Once you resign, you only resign once. So you have to decide when is your moment to do it. 

"My sense was that actually we could be in a position when actually we’re going to land this and if we land this you have got to have people there who are going to be able to deal with it. You don’t want to cede the ground entirely to one fringe or other of the party so you have to pick your moments. But the issue of lawfulness is a red line for me personally."

To watch the video yourself visit: twitter.com/mpmwilko/status/1176494221546741762 


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