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Swansea’s Labour leader warns of ‘food shortages’ following no-deal Brexit

SWANSEA’S Labour leader raised the spectre of food shortages after a no-deal Brexit as councillors backed an emergency motion opposing any attempt by Boris Johnson to suspend Parliament.

Cllr Rob Stewart said he sat on a number of bodies which were trying to prepare for a no-deal departure from the European Union.

“There is a real potential for food shortages within seven days, and significant medical shortages within 10 days,” he said.

“No deal is a disaster for this country.

“It won’t be (Jacob) Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson who will pay the price.”

Cllr Stewart described Wednesday – the day the Prime Minister announced a five-week suspension of Parliament – as a dark day for democracy in the UK and the biggest political crisis since the Second World War.

“This is not normal – you don’t close down Parliament in the middle of a crisis,” he said.

Mr Johnson has said a Queen’s Speech would take place after the suspension, on October 14, to outline his new policies and that there would be enough time for MPs to debate Brexit before the October 31 departure date.

But the move has prompted a cross-party backlash.

Cllr Stewart said Mr Johnson was not a fool.

“He knows what he is doing and he knows what he is leading us into,” he said.

“We need to send a clear message to Boris Johnson. We will not stand up for it.”

Liberal Democrat leader, councillor Chris Holley, went as far as to describe the suspension as “evil”, and a “sham”.
He said: “A man who was elected by 93,000 people has decided to run roughshod over our Parliamentary democracy.
“That is totally and utterly wrong.”

Swansea Conservative leader, councillor Lyndon Jones, led his group out of the Guildhall chamber after branding the debate “huffing and puffing and false outrage”.

He said Parliament was not being suspended or shut down.

“It is simply the end of the current Parliamentary session – which was due to happen last May,” said Cllr Jones.

“It is a fact that Parliament is prorogued for a new session almost every year.”

He added: “We hope we get a deal. But the only way you will get a good deal is to be prepared to leave without a deal and mean it.

“We believe this is not the place for this debate.

“It is wasting the time of Swansea Council and council taxpayers’ money, which could be better spent, so we want no part of it.”

Labour councillor Jennifer Raynor said: “How unsurprising that Lyndon and the Tories run before they can be challenged.”

One Conservative councillor did remain in the chamber, Paxton Hood-Williams, who said he wanted to speak on other items coming up for discussion but that he agreed totally with Cllr Jones’s comments.

Members voted by 45 to one to back the motion, meaning Cllr Stewart will write to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, expressing “our total disagreement with any attempt to suspend Parliament thus avoiding a democratic debate on our future relationship with the EU”.

Well over 100 people attended a rally outside the Guildhall beforehand, opposing any undermining of Parliamentary democracy.
Speakers included Singleton Hospital consultant ophthalmologist Gwyn Williams.

He said the hospital relied on medicines made abroad.

“We have no idea what will happen if we leave without a deal,” he said.

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