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Hancock stays silent on U-turn over suspending Parliament over Brexit

PUBLISHED: 16:00 29 August 2019

Matt Hancock was all smiles in Ipswich during the 2017 general election - but he is not speaking to the media about the prorogation of Parliament. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Matt Hancock was all smiles in Ipswich during the 2017 general election - but he is not speaking to the media about the prorogation of Parliament. Picture: PAUL GEATER

Archant

West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock is staying silent on parliament's suspension - despite previously warning it would lead to a general election, an end to Brexit and make Jeremy Corbyn prime minister.

Mr Hancock is refusing interview requests from news organisations - but is maintaining his social media presence, tweeting about health issues and wishing Ruth Davidson well after she quit as leader of the Scottish Tories.

When this newspaper requested an interview, his office replied: "Many thanks for getting in touch. I am afraid that Matt will not be able to give you an interview."

Radio Suffolk's Mark Murphy told his Breakfast Show listeners that Mr Hancock had also refused to speak to the BBC in the wake of Boris Johnson's decision to prorogue parliament before introducing a Queen's Speech in mid-October.

Mr Hancock's refusal to answer questions about the move comes just two and a half months after he wrote to fellow Tory leadership candidates urging them to rule out proroguing parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.

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And he outlined his concerns in a speech launching his campaign in the wake of the D-Day commemorations, saying: "There is this idea from some people that to deliver Brexit we should suspend our parliamentary democracy, that we should prorogue parliament.

"But that goes against everything that these men who waded on those beaches fought and died for. And I will not have it!"

His public letter to fellow candidates said that such a move would be catastrophic for their party. "The most likely outcome would be a general election, risking Corbyn by Christmas, a second referendum and killing Brexit altogether," he said.

He also said it "would mean the end of the Conservative Party as a serious party of government."

Mr Hancock is not the only cabinet member to have criticised plans for suspending parliament - work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd and culture secretary Nicky Morgan have dismissed those proposals in the past.

Like Mr Hancock, they have not made any comment since Mr Johnson's request to the Queen for a prorogation was revealed earlier this week.

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