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Denis MacShane Calls It A "Con Trick" To Hold A General Election In December
25 October 2019, 17:49
The former Labour MP explained to Shelagh Fogarty why holding an election in December is impractical and could even disenfranchise some people.
Shelagh Fogarty asked: "What do you think should happen on Monday from a Labour perspective? Should Jeremy Corbyn say yes, come on then, let's do it?"
MacShane replied: "It's almost nothing to do with Jeremy Corbyn. I don't mean that in any rude sense. But this is decision for the 260 odd Labour MPs and all the other MPs.
"I was one for 20 years and it'll be their personal decision. And my guess is I haven't yet met a Tory MP of my generation - I'm not talking about the young ardent Brexiteers - who thinks that election now is a good idea.
"On the Labour side, I phoned a few Labour MPs this week to get the feel and to a man and woman, they all said you must be joking. Eh, middle of December?
"Universities have gone home, the electoral register is in the process. It's when it's changed.
So you'd be working on a very old out-of-date electoral register. It's actually a bit of a con-trick in democratic terms to hold an election to the middle of December."
Shelagh said: "I've seen all kinds of reasons for not doing it on Twitter. I mean I tweeted myself the other day you know, the road I live on is a hill but the polling station is always at the bottom of the hill.
"This is a little hall at the bottom of the hill and I've seen and helped, in the middle of June, elderly people coming down that hill to cast their vote.
In December, slippery leaves, ice, frost, I mean it could actually disenfranchise some people. Couldn't it?"
MacShane said: "It certainly will. I campaigned in February elections in '74 and it's mean and miserable. December, everybody's thinking about Christmas shopping, Christmas parties."
He continued: "I just don't understand Boris Johnson's obsession with speed.
"The point about a democratic parliament is it slows things down.
It does slow things down to give time for everybody to think he's come back with a completely newish withdrawal agreement."
He then spoke about Northern Ireland and customs forms and export declarations.