Elec­tion pre­dicted Ref­er­en­dum and par­lia­ment cov­ered in MP’S park talk

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Phillip THOMP­SON phillip.thomp­[email protected]­plc.com

MP Alex Chalk said he be­lieved an elec­tion was com­ing when he spoke in Pittville Park this week.

He said Mon­day was “a mo­ment when I ac­tu­ally fol­lowed the whip to vote for an elec­tion when it might not have ac­tu­ally been in my own per­sonal in­ter­est be­cause I ac­tu­ally felt this sit­u­a­tion was not sus­tain­able.”

Mr Chalk added ‘he is more con­fi­dent now that Brexit can be re­solved than he was 72 hours ago’ - stat­ing that he has spo­ken to Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son di­rectly, as well as Chan­cel­lor of the Ex­che­quer Sa­jid Javid and civil ser­vants, and is ‘sat­is­fied’ at­tempts are be­ing made to ne­go­ti­ate an exit deal with the EU.

Speak­ing on Tues­day evening, Mr Chalk an­swered ques­tions from res­i­dents af­ter an­nounc­ing on Face­book he would like to ‘take the op­por­tu­nity to speak to peo­ple about his and their con­cerns’ fol­low­ing the pro­ro­ga­tion of Par­lia­ment.

There was a small but sig­nif­i­cant crowd of peo­ple who gath­ered in front of the Pittville Pump Rooms to talk with Mr Chalk, who ap­plauded him when the ses­sion ended.

The crowd fielded ques­tions the Chel­tenham MP, who is also PPS to Do­minic Raab at the For­eign & Com­mon­wealth Of­fice, for over an hour.

When asked by a mem­ber of the crowd what his bot­tom line would be to re­sign, Mr Chalk said: “If there is a scin­tilla of a sug­ges­tion that the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment would act un­law­fully, for­get it, game over. That is a re­ally im­por­tant red line for me.”

He added that de­spite be­ing strongly dep­re­cated on the is­sue of pro­ro­ga­tion, “You have to pick your mo­ments, once you re­sign you only re­sign once.”

Mr Chalk said: “My sense was that ac­tu­ally we could be in a po­si­tion when we land this.”

He men­tioned that the Chief Whip had a con­ver­sa­tion with him af­ter Am­ber Rudd’s res­ig­na­tion on Sun­day from the Depart­ment for Work and Pen­sions dur­ing the reshuf­fle.

He said: “I’m not go­ing to spell things out, but you might be able to work things out for your­self.”

One woman fought back tears, speak­ing of her ex­pe­ri­ences as a Euro­pean and who was de­nied a vote in the ref­er­en­dum, asked Mr Chalk if he join the calls for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum.

“Af­ter 20 years of giv­ing ev­ery­thing to this coun­try”, she said, “I’m on the re­ceiv­ing end of ev­ery­thing that is hap­pen­ing now.”

Mr Chalk once again ruled out his sup­port for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum, say­ing that he ques­tions how a re­peat would bring the coun­try back to­gether.

He warned, as he pre­vi­ously did at a Peo­ple’s Vote rally in Chel­tenham, that it would pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for po­lit­i­cal ex­tremes.

An­other woman, who men­tioned that she was born in North­ern Ire­land, said: “Be­lieve me West­min­ster doesn’t un­der­stand North­ern Ire­land, you don’t know what you’re deal­ing with.

“It is a sec­tar­ian so­ci­ety, this is now a sec­tar­ian so­ci­ety.

“When I came and lived here it was not, now it is a sec­tar­ian so­ci­ety.

As the ses­sion drew to a close, Mr Chalk thanked the crowd sin­cerely for tak­ing part in this ‘big ex­per­i­ment.’

He said: “It gives me heart that we can come to­gether as a na­tion in the fu­ture.”

Mr Chalk is cur­rently in­volved in a cross-party ini­tia­tive, along with Labour MP Stephen Kin­nock, Lib­eral Demo­crat MP Sir Nor­man Lamb and oth­ers, who are look­ing at break­ing the po­lit­i­cal im­passe through a mod­i­fied ver­sion of Theresa May’s pre­vi­ous deal .

It gives me heart that we can come to­gether as a na­tion in the fu­ture.

Alex Chalk

MP Alex Chalk holds an im­promptu Q&A at Pittville Park

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