Public backs shut parliament?

A new poll claims people want to bypass parliament

Psychological warfare over no-deal masks a strategic vulnerability

The Telegraph's decline from respectable broadsheet to semi-deranged prime ministerial fanzine continues. "Boris Johnson has public's support to shut down parliament to get Brexit over line" its front page says today - a series of words which have almost no connection whatsoever to objective reality.

The copy reads: "The ComRes survey for the Telegraph found that 54% of British adults think parliament should be prorogued to prevent MPs stopping a no-deal Brexit. "

Their survey shows no such thing.

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Does the public really support shutting down parliament?

By Joe Harker

A new ComRes poll for the Daily Telegraph claims a majority of the public supports shutting down parliament to force through a no deal Brexit.

It would mean the UK's departure from the EU, considered by many to be the most important British political event for decades, would have to bypass MPs to go through.

Essentially it would be a suspension of the UK's representative democracy giving the prime minister no requirement for a majority in the House of Commons, but is that really what the public wants?

The Claim:

The Telegraph is claiming their ComRes poll says 54 per cent of the public wants Boris Johnson to prorogue parliament and let the UK hit the October 31 deadline, thus leaving the EU without a deal despite it not having the approval of the Commons.

The poll says 76 per cent of Tory voters, 32 per cent of Labour voters and 25 per cent of Liberal Democrat voters support the prorogation of parliament to push through no deal Brexit.

They also asked respondents whether politicians were more in tune with the public mood than the prime minister, with just 38 per cent agreeing and 62 per cent considering Johnson to have his finger on the pulse.

More negotiations with the EU are not expected by the government until a summit on October 17, two weeks before the deadline hits. If Johnson sticks to his "do or die" promise to seek no further extension to the Halloween deadline then leaving without a deal may be the only way to get Brexit done.

Two weeks is almost certainly not enough time to thrash out a deal and get it through parliament, nevermind the time it takes to pass the necessary legislation to make it law. It may soon be that time has run so low that doing a deal becomes impossible.

The Counter Claim:

Ian Dunt of writes that the ComRes survery shows nothing close to the Telegraph's claims on the matter.

He criticises the poll for being "sloppily worded" to the point that it becomes unprofessional, referring to the prime minister as Boris rather than his title or surname.

However, his main point was that the Telegraph's report just completely excluded the "don't knows" from the data to make it look as though over half of the public backs the prorogation of parliament.

The actual data said 44 per cent supported it and 37 per cent opposed it while 19 per cent said they didn't know. More said yes than no, but not over half as the Telegraph reported and put on their front page yesterday.

Dunt suggests the presentation of the data in a specific and misleading way was designed to convince MPs and the public that any chance to stop Brexit had passed, writing that an "information war" is being waged with the intention of misleading the public and politicians.

The Facts:

Shutting down parliament is difficult, suspending democracy is no small matter. Parliament has backed measures to prevent the prime minister from suspending proceedings and speaker John Bercow has repeatedly insisted MPs will not be overridden to force Brexit through by undemocratic means.

A legal challenge to stop Johnson from shutting down parliament has begun, with a group of MPs and peers hoping the Court of Session in Edinburgh will rule that suspending parliament to force through a no deal Brexit would be "unlawful and unconstitutional".

However, the case will not be accelerated through the courts and some worry it might not be ruled on before October 31, which could mean the prime minster commits an "unlawful and unconstitutional" act before the legal process can confirm it as such. What would happen then, if Johnson was retroactively judged to have acted in such a manner?

In the meantime be on the lookout for misleading presentation of polling data where a portion of the figures is omitted in order to produce a different result.

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