Thursday 29 August 2019 8:12 am

Boris Johnson's parliament prorogation generates huge backlash

A petition against proroguing parliament has gathered more than 1m signatures as Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces an angry revolt over his move.

Thousands of protesters gathered outside parliament and Downing Street yesterday evening to voice their anger against the prorogation.

Read more: Boris’ Brexit blindside: What the hell just happened?

Demonstrators called the decision to suspend the current Commons session, approved by the Queen yesterday, amounted to a “coup”.


But the government has insisted the move will leave MPs with enough time to debate Brexit.

The UK is currently due to leave the EU on 31 October, and parliament will be suspended between 9 September and 14 October.

A petition against the suspension has gathered 1.2m signatures at the time of writing.

Meanwhile a cross-party group of MPs are expected to begin a bid to block a no-deal Brexit as early as next week.

Former chancellor Philip Hammond told media yesterday: “A number of my colleagues would have preferred to wait … and move in late September.

“That will now not be possible. We will have to try to do something when parliament returns next week.”

Meanwhile legal challenges against the suspension – which MPs cannot block – were launched in London and Edinburgh.

Protesters gather outside parliament late into the night after Prime Minister Boris Johnson succeeded in a bid to suspend the Commons
Protesters gather outside parliament late into the night after Prime Minister Boris Johnson succeeded in a bid to suspend the Commons (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Remainer Gina Miller issued one of the legal bids, telling the BBC: “Our unwritten constitution is a bit like a gentleman’s agreement, and you have to say it’s not been used in that manner.”

Barrister Jo Maugham, who leads the Good Law Project, is behind the Scottish motion.

Johnson has insisted it is “completely untrue” to point to Brexit as the reason for dissolving parliament’s current session. Instead he said it is one of the longest sessions in 250 years.

Johnson has said he wants to suspend parliament in order to have a Queen’s Speech to outline his “very exciting agenda” for domestic issues.

Read more: This epic proroguing gamble shows Boris won’t let dithering be his downfall

However, Ruth Fox, director of the parliament-focused Hansard Society, said the prorogation was “significantly longer” than a normal one. 

Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, she added that the suspension could “potentially halve” the number of days MPs can use to debate the government’s stance on Brexit.

All images courtesy of Getty

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