Boris Johnson asks Queen to suspend Parliament ahead of Brexit deadline

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will seek to shut down Parliament ahead of the Brexit deadline.

Key points:

  • Mr Johnson has denied the move is to prevent MPs stopping a no-deal Brexit
  • One MP described the move as an attempt to govern without Parliament
  • The UK is due to leave the EU on October 31

Critics say such a move is part of a drive to prevent MPs from having a say on a controversial no-deal exit from the European Union.

It comes a day after politicians who are opposed to a no-deal Brexit met to discuss ways they could use parliamentary procedure to force Mr Johnson to seek a delay to Brexit.

Mr Johnson said he had asked the Queen to request an end to the current parliamentary session in the second sitting week in September and bring it back for a Queen’s speech nearly a month later.

“We’re not going to wait until October the 31st before getting on with our plans to take this country forward, and this is a new Government with a very exciting agenda,” Mr Johnson said.

“We are bringing forward a new legislative program on crime, hospitals, making sure we have the education funding we need.

“To do that we need new legislation, we’ve got to be bringing forward new and important bills and that’s why we are going to have a Queen’s speech, and we’re going to do it on October 14.”

The Prime Minister denied the move was designed to prevent MPs the time to stop a no-deal Brexit.

“No, that is completely untrue,” Mr Johnson said.

Mr Johnson said MPs would have “ample time” to debate the UK’s departure from the EU, which is currently set for October 31.

The Government’s plan caused the value of the pound to fall, losing nearly one per cent to both the Euro and US Dollar since the news broke.

Shutting down Parliament a ‘constitutional outrage’

Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, took a break from his family holiday to issue a statement saying he had not been consulted on the Government’s plan.

The Speaker, who does not usually make statements on political announcements, said it was a “constitutional outrage”.

“However it is dressed up, it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of prorogation now would be to stop Parliament debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country,” Mr Bercow said.

“Shutting down Parliament would be an offence against the democratic process and the rights of Parliamentarians as the people’s elected representatives.

“Surely at this early stage in his premiership, the Prime Minister should be seeking to establish rather than undermine his democratic credentials and indeed his commitment to Parliamentary democracy.”

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn slammed the move and said if Mr Johnson had confidence in his plans, he should call a general election.

“I am appalled at the recklessness of Johnson’s Government, which talks about sovereignty and yet is seeking to suspend Parliament to avoid scrutiny of its plans for a reckless No Deal Brexit,” Mr Corybn said in a statement.

“This is an outrage and a threat to our democracy.”

Former chancellor Phillip Hammond, who quit the Cabinet before Mr Johnson became prime minister, said the move was “profoundly undemocratic”.

Boris Johnson asks Queen to suspend Parliament ahead of Brexit deadline 1

Labour MP Clive Lewis said if Mr Johnson shut down Parliament, he and others “will defend democracy’.

“The police will have to remove us from the chamber. We will call on people to take to the streets,” Mr Lewis said in a tweet.

“We will call an extraordinary session of Parliament.”

PM could face no-confidence vote

Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, the former attorney general, said MPs were more likely to bring on a no-confidence vote in Mr Johnson in the wake of the move.

Mr Grieve said it made it more difficult for Tory rebels like himself to give confidence to the Government.

He said the move to suspend Parliament was an attempt to govern without Parliament and that the Parliament could move quickly to a vote of no confidence.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted it appeared Mr Johnson was trying to shut down Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.

“Unless MPs come together to stop him next week, today will go down in history as a dark one indeed for UK democracy,” Ms Sturgeon said.

Boris Johnson asks Queen to suspend Parliament ahead of Brexit deadline 2
A tweet by Nicola Sturgeon: “So it seems that Boris Johnson may actually be about to shut down Parliament to force through a no deal Brexit. Unless MPs come together to stop him next week, today will go down in history as a dark one indeed for UK democracy.”

ABC News (AU)


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