British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will seek to shut down Parliament before the Brexit deadline.
Critics say such a move – from September 9 to October 14 – could be part of a drive to prevent MPs from having a say on a controversial no-deal exit from the European Union.
Sky News political correspondent Lewis Goodall tweeted that the Queen will be asked at Balmoral within hours by three members of the Privy Council to prorogue Parliament for September 9.
The controversial move 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.
Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn hosted talks with the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and the Independent Group for Change on Tuesday to discuss tactics to prevent a no-deal exit.
“The attendees agreed on the urgency to act together to find practical ways to prevent No Deal, including the possibility of passing legislation and a vote of no-confidence,” the parties said in a joint statement after the meeting.
But less than 24 hours later Mr Johnson said he had asked the Queen to request an end to the current parliamentary session in the second sitting week in September.
— euronews (@euronews) August 28, 2019
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.
Former chancellor Phillip Hammond, who quit Cabinet before Mr Johnson became prime minister, said the move was “profoundly undemocratic”.
“It would be a constitutional outrage if Parliament were prevented from holding the government to account at a time of national crisis,” Mr Hammond tweeted.
The BBC reported the government would seek to extend the period during which Parliament does not normally sit, shutting it for around a month until October 14.
The UK is due to leave the EU on October 31.
The Government is expected to prorogue Parliament from 9 September to 14 October, which would give MPs a short amount of time to prevent a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. @lewis_goodall explains how this would work.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 28, 2019
‘A dark day for democracy’
Conservative MP Dominic Grieve said MPs were more likely to bring on a no-confidence vote in Boris 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.
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. https://t.co/68lFnEgiyr
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) August 28, 2019
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.