Queen Elizabeth II cleared on Wednesday that the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to suspend the UK Parliament until October 14, days ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson 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.
Johnson had spoken to Queen Elizabeth II to request an end to the current parliamentary session in its second sitting week next month will be starting on September 9, Downing Street said.
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 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 14 October,” Downing Street said in a statement.
Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said, “Suspending Parliament is not acceptable, it is not on. What the Prime Minister is doing is a smash and grab on our democracy to force through a no-deal.”
He further 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”.
The idea of shutting down Parliament known as prorogation has already caused controversy, with critics saying it would stop MPs being able to use legislative measures to prevent a damaging British exit from the EU as part of Johnson’s “do or die” Brexit pledge.
The UK government move comes a day after the Opposition parties had been able to agree on a strategy of using legislative means to work together to prevent Johnson leaving the EU without any agreement in place by the October 31 Brexit deadline.
“The Prime Minister set out that the UK will be leaving the EU on October 31, whatever the circumstances, and that we absolutely want to do so with a deal. The PM was also clear however that unless the Withdrawal Agreement is reopened and the backstop abolished there is no prospect of that deal,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.
Last week, Boris Johnson had welcomed a potential “blistering timetable of 30 days” to find an agreement with the EU on the terms of Brexit.
During a press briefing in Berlin, German chancellor Angela Merkel had said a solution could be found in establishing “absolute clarity” on the EU-UK future relationship.
He also tried to set a relaxed tone in the joint news conference, recounting the many spheres in which Germany and the UK have worked together successfully — from security to biodiversity — emphasising that all that will be part of the agenda of his visit.
The controversial clause led to a withdrawal agreement struck by his predecessor, Theresa May, being rejected repeatedly in Parliament following negotiations triggered since Britain voted to leave the EU in a June 2016 referendum.