'A threat to our democracy': Politicians respond to Johnson's plans to suspend UK Parliament

Latest: European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt has said Boris Johnson's plans to suspend Parliament are “unlikely to help deliver a stable future EU – UK relationship”.

'A threat to our democracy': Politicians respond to Johnson's plans to suspend UK Parliament

Latest: European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt has said Boris Johnson's plans to suspend Parliament are “unlikely to help deliver a stable future EU – UK relationship”.

“‘Taking back control’ has never looked so sinister,” he tweeted.

“As a fellow parliamentarian, my solidarity with those fighting for their voices to be heard.

“Suppressing debate on profound choices is unlikely to help deliver a stable future EU – UK relationship.”

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend UK Parliament is “an outrage and a threat to our democracy”.

"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," said Mr Corbyn.

"That is why Labour has been working across Parliament to hold this reckless Government to account and prevent a disastrous no-deal which parliament has already ruled out.

“If Johnson has confidence in his plans he should put them to the people in a general election or public vote.”

When asked this morning whether he is planning a general election before the end of the year, Mr Johnson said: “No. What you should take from this is we’re doing exactly what I said on the steps of Downing Street, which is that we must get on now with our legislative domestic agenda."

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said that today's announcement "makes a confidence motion now certain".

Responding to reports that Downing Street would call an election in the event of losing a no-confidence vote, Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Bring it on.”

DUP leader Arlene Foster has said that her party welcomes the decision to hold a Queen's Speech on October 14.

Ms Foster said that the terms of the confidence and supply agreement will be reviewed ahead of the new parliamentary session.

"We originally envisaged that being after two years. This will be an opportunity to ensure our priorities align with those of the Government," she said in a statement this morning.

In the meantime, we will continue our work with the Prime Minister to strengthen the Union, deliver a sensible deal as we exit the EU and restore devolution in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, a cross-party group of more than 70 MPs and peers have

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Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray said that Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend Parliament is “an assault on our democracy”.

“This is the people’s parliament and the people deserve to have their representatives in Parliament during this vital period,” said Mr Murray.

“This is the opposite of taking back control. Legal action to prevent the Prime Minister suspending Parliament has already been fast-tracked through the courts and the legal team will now consider the appropriate next steps, including seeking interim orders.”

Johnson denies plans to suspend UK Parliament are because of Brexit

Update 10.45am: Boris Johnson has rejected claims his decision to hold a Queen’s Speech on October 14 is designed to block MPs from considering ways to thwart his Brexit plans after he was accused of mounting a “coup” against Parliament.

The British Prime Minister said it was “completely untrue” that Brexit was the motivation for the move, insisting it was time for a new session of Parliament to set out his “exciting agenda”.

Under his plan UK Parliament will be temporarily shut down from around September 11 until the state opening on October 14.

In a letter to MPs outlining his Government’s plans, Mr Johnson said he was bringing forward a “bold and ambitious domestic legislative agenda” which MPs would be able to vote on in October.

He said: “This morning I spoke to Her Majesty The Queen to request an end to the current parliamentary session in the second sitting week in September, before commencing the second session of this Parliament with a Queen’s speech on Monday 14 October.

“A central feature of the legislative programme will be the Government’s number one legislative priority, if a new deal is forthcoming at EU Council, to introduce a Withdrawal Agreement Bill and move at pace to secure its passage before 31 October.

I also believe it is vitally important that the key votes associated with the Queen’s Speech and any deal with the EU fall at a time when parliamentarians are best placed to judge the Government’s programme.

“Parliament will have the opportunity to debate the Government’s overall programme, and approach to Brexit, in the run up to EU Council, and then vote on this on 21 and 22 October, once we know the outcome of the Council.

“Should I succeed in agreeing a deal with the EU, Parliament will then have the opportunity to pass the Bill required for ratification of the deal ahead of 31 October.”

(Downing Street/PA)
(Downing Street/PA)

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, commenting on the move to prorogue Parliament in preparation for a Queen’s speech on October 14, said: “I have had no contact from the Government, but if the reports that it is seeking to prorogue Parliament are confirmed, this move represents 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.

At this time, one of the most challenging periods in our nation’s history, it is vital that our elected Parliament has its say. After all, we live in a parliamentary democracy.

“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.

“My family and I are away on holiday and I will make no further comment at this stage.”

Johnson accused of mounting 'coup' amid reports he is seeking extended suspension of UK Parliament

Update 10.30am: Boris Johnson has been accused of acting like a “tin pot dictator” and mounting a “coup” after reports he is seeking an extended suspension of Parliament which could hamper MPs’ efforts to block a no-deal Brexit.

The British Prime Minister is said to be planning to temporarily shut down the UK Parliament from September 11 ahead of a Queen’s Speech on October 14.

A Downing Street source confirmed the Queen’s Speech would be on October 14 and insisted that only around four Commons sitting days would be lost as a result.

As reports of Mr Johnson's plan emerged, UK politicians have been taking to Twitter to voice their criticism and concerns.

Former Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston, who recently joined the Lib Dems, tweeted: “Johnson behaving like a tin pot dictator. Time for ministers to resign & Conservative MPs to cross the floor rather than be tainted with this outrage.”

Craig Oliver, who was Downing Street Director of Communications under David Cameron, tweeted: “I suspect Number 10 believes it has created a win win scenario with this explosive announcement."

Nicola Sturgeon called on Ruth Davidson and all Scottish Tory MPs to oppose Mr Johnson’s plans.

Johnson to seek extended suspension of UK Parliament - reports

Update 9.30am: Boris Johnson will seek an extended suspension of the British Parliament ahead of a Queen’s Speech on October 14 in a move which would hamper efforts by MPs to thwart a no-deal Brexit, according to reports.

The British Prime Minister’s plan will be considered in a Privy Council meeting at the Queen’s Balmoral estate, according to reports.

The House of Commons is currently expected to resume sitting after its summer break on September 3 and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and other opposition leaders have agreed to seek legislative changes to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

But, according to the BBC, the Prime Minister will seek to suspend Parliament from around September 11 until the Queen’s Speech – a process known as prorogation.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “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.”

In response to the reports of a parliamentary suspension, Tory Party chairman James Cleverley said: “Or to put is another way: Government to hold a Queen’s Speech, just as all new governments do.”

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