Constitutional vandalism: Stretching the truth

Constitutional vandalism: Stretching the truth

The sight of Jacob Rees-Mogg lying stretched across three seats at the House of Commons during Tuesday’s late night debate on Brexit is proof of the contempt with which he and some of his colleagues hold the Mother of Parliaments.

Lying languidly on the front bench, Rees-Mogg’s body language prompted heavy criticism from political opponents. As Labour MP Angela Rayner put it: “I am half expecting his nanny to march into the chamber with a blanket, pillow and a hot cup of Horlicks for the poor man!”

Considering his later repose, it was a bit rich of Rees-Mogg raise the ghost of Charles Stewart Parnell when he criticised earlier the approach of MPs trying to seize control of parliamentary business. Referencing the filibuster of Parnell in the 1880s as he tried to get Home Rule onto the parliamentary agenda, he said: “The approach taken today is the most unconstitutional use of this House since the days of Charles Stewart Parnell when he tried to bung up parliament.”

Yet peaceful protest, either in parliament or on the streets, can be effective and constitutional, as the Hong Kong demonstrators have shown, forcing the region’s leader Carrie Lam to withdraw a contoversial extradition bill.

If he knows anything about Parnell, Rees-Mogg should be aware that the “uncrowned King of Ireland” was, first and foremost a constitutional nationalist. Rees-Mogg, on the other hand is, like his boss Boris, a constitutional vandal.

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