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Phrase has been on the go since 1653

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Neville Chamberlain. Credit: Central Press

Neville Chamberlain. Credit: Central Press

Neville Chamberlain. Credit: Central Press

Boris Johnson faced comparisons with Neville Chamberlain as he was urged by former Cabinet minister David Davis to quit with a famous phrase, telling him: “In the name of God, go”.

It has been used now on three notable occasions in the Commons — and once at Stormont.

  • Oliver Cromwell used those words in 1653 when he arrived with armed guards to eject members of the Rump Parliament. He said: “You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately... In the name of God, go!”
  • The phrase was used by Conservative MP Leo Amery who attacked Neville Chamberlain in 1940, urging him to quit during the Norway debate when British forces were overwhelmed by the Nazis. He said: “This is what Cromwell said to the Long Parliament when he thought it was no longer fit to conduct the affairs of the nation: You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you.”
  • Yesterday David Davis said he had spent weeks defending the PM from “angry constituents”. He added: “I expect my leaders to shoulder the responsibility for the actions they take. Yesterday he did the opposite of that. So, I will remind him of a quotation which may be familiar to his ear: Leopold Amery to Neville Chamberlain. ‘You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. In the name of God, go.’”
  • And in the Assembly in 2021, former UUP leader Mike Nesbitt used the quote to urge then Education Minister Peter Weir: “In the name of God, go” after he insisted he wouldn’t step in to call off transfer tests.

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