Johnson seeks suspension of Parliament, Queen approves it

Updated: Aug 29, 2019, 08:30 IST | Agencies |

Parliament will be suspended any time between Sept 9 and 12 until Oct 14; British MPs to return from their ongoing summer recess next Tuesday and conclude business by the following week

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (centre) is seen speaking to Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow (right), in the Houses of Parliament in central London. Pic/AFP
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (centre) is seen speaking to Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow (right), in the Houses of Parliament in central London. Pic/AFP

London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday unveiled plans to suspend Parliament until October 14, days ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline, in order to present what was described as a "new bold and ambitious legislative agenda", a move which has attracted widespread criticism from the Opposition. Downing Street said Johnson had spoken to Queen Elizabeth II to request an end to the current parliamentary session in its second sitting week next month, starting September 9.

Three Conservative party members of the Queen's Privy Council, the monarch's body of advisers, took the formal request to her Scottish residence at Balmoral Castle on Wednesday morning on behalf of Johnson. It was then approved, allowing the government to suspend Parliament any time between September 9 and 12 until October 14.

British MPs will now return from their ongoing summer recess next Tuesday and will conclude business by the following week, giving them very little time to table any new legislative measures for debate. "Following the conclusion of the traditional party conference season, the second session of this Parliament will commence with a Queen's Speech on Monday, October 14," Downing Street said in a statement. The House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, led the charge against the move, describing it as a "constitutional outrage".

"However it is dressed up, it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of (suspending Parliament) now would be to stop (MPs) debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country," he said. Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said, "Suspending Parliament is not acceptable. What the Prime Minister is doing is a smash and grab on our democracy to force through a no deal."

He said when MPs return to the Commons next Tuesday, "the first thing we'll do is attempt legislation to prevent what (the PM) is doing", followed by a vote of no confidence "at some point". Johnson had briefed his Cabinet of the plan at a meeting earlier, highlighting the number one legislative priority as Brexit. If a new deal is forthcoming at the European Council in mid-October, he will then introduce a Withdrawal Agreement Bill and "move at pace" to secure its passage before October 31. "I believe it is vital that Parliament is sitting both before and after European Council and if, as I hope, a deal with the EU is forthcoming, Parliament will then have the opportunity to pass the Withdrawal Agreement Bill," Johnson said.

Sseptember 9
Day second sitting week of the Parliament to start

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