As a Conservative voter of, until recently, 37 years’ standing, I am appalled at what has been done by the leader of the house (MPs join 90-minute-long queue to vote to end virtual voting, 2 June). It is so obviously and completely wrong, unfair, unjust and anti-democratic, with scenes reminiscent of voter suppression in the US, where voters in gerrymandered states often have to queue for up to five hours to vote, and with those MPs being disenfranchised not even being allowed a vote on the matter, in the manner of a coup d’état. There can therefore only be one conceivable reason for it: to avoid debate in parliament, and to reduce opportunities for ministers to be held to account – especially, I assume, the PM, whose performances have been appalling and who is the one most in need of being “shielded” from scrutiny – and as a power grab by the executive at a critical time.
This measure undermines all that the Conservative party is supposed to stand for. It was also wrong that a measure so fundamentally affecting our democratic process should be whipped through by the government, again suggesting it was done for partisan political advantage. This makes me fear for our democracy, and I very much hope that the courts will be able to overturn it. It makes clear what those who spoke so often of “taking back control” meant: not returning sovereignty to parliament, but seizing power for themselves.
• Despite warnings from the Equality and Human Rights Commission that it cannot be right to exclude elected representatives from parliament, MPs voted on Tuesday to end online voting by those MPs shut out from Westminster by this pandemic.
This is an outrageous attack on our parliamentary democracy by a failed government elected on the falsehood of an “oven-ready” Brexit, when it becomes clearer by the day that they intend to go for no-deal at disastrous cost to the national interest.
This amounts to a conspiracy led by Jacob Rees-Mogg to exclude the representatives of thousands of voters from crucial decisions made by parliament that will affect our future for years to come. Having manifestly failed to prevent thousands of unnecessary deaths as a result of their tardy response to this pandemic, this failed government can only cling to office by destroying democracy.
Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan
• In 2017, the May government launched its industrial strategy with the laudable aim of investing in research and development in businesses to improve our national productivity. This would enable the UK to grow an innovative, digitalised and high-skilled economy that would mitigate some of the Brexit-related damage. On Tuesday, I watched the exact opposite of productivity as the 400 highly paid MPs able to make the journey to Westminster spent a large proportion of their working day standing in an old-fashioned queue when an innovative, digitalised (not to mention inclusive) option is available.
Jacob Rees-Mogg may think he is setting a good example by being physically in his workplace, but he sets an equally poor one in terms of efficiency and value for money.
• In what alternative virtual reality does Jacob Rees-Mogg conjecture that a denial of voting rights to those unwilling or unable, through no fault of their own, to attend parliament in person will be “more democratic”?
• I wonder how many of the Conservative MPs who are demanding an immediate reopening of parliament are the very same Conservatives who supported the unlawful suspension of parliament last autumn?