Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called it a "smash and grab" of British democracy and even some members of Johnson's own party have denounced the move.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on August 29, 2019

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has totally out-foxed the opponents of a no-deal Brexit by suspending the sitting of the UK Parliament.

Johnson, who only became UK PM on 24 July, went and sought the agreement of The Queen to order a five-week suspension of the UK Parliament.

This gives the opponents to the UK leaving the European Union without a deal on 31 October substantially less time to stop him in the UK Parliament.

Johnson’s shock UK Parliament suspension move was met with predictable fury. Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called it a “smash and grab” of British democracy and even some members of Johnson’s own party denounced it as potentially unconstitutional and undemocratic. Johnson outmanoeuvred them and the current session of Parliament is the longest since the English Civil War which ended in 1651.

Before Johnson’s action, the preferred option of politicians who oppose a no-deal Brexit was to pass a law requiring the government to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline and hold a second referendum, should negotiations with the EU fail to result in a deal. Those legal moves were to begin when Parliament returns from its annual summer break on 3 September.

Johnson’s move means they’ve only got a handful of days to engineer the required legislation before the suspension approved by the Queen takes effect. It is no wonder Corbyn wants to see the Queen. This situation would force them into a vote of no-confidence in the government and that is highly unlikely to succeed.

The new session will begin with the State Opening of Parliament and all of its associated pageantry (carriage processions, trumpets and the like), CNN reported. There will be the Queen’s Speech, which lays out her government’s legislative priorities for the upcoming session. The speech is written by Downing Street and it will simply be a mouthpiece for Johnson.

Johnson is trying to ensure that parliamentary debate is on the contents of the Queen’s speech and thereby he cannot be accused of stifling debate. It coincides with the next meeting of the EU Council, on 17 and 18 October. If Johnson returns from the EU Council brandishing a new Brexit deal, he will try to force it through Parliament in the two weeks left until Brexit day (31 October).

Then he has the opportunity for a general election. The Conservatives majority is just one seat and Johnson will be galvanised by his Brexit deal.

However, and it seems more likely, negotiations with the EU fail and Johnson sets a path to no-deal, then he will have the Queen’s Speech to fall back on and try and lead the country into a new era.

His opponents room for dissent has been greatly diminished.

Johnson, of course, denies his actions the suspension of Parliament has anything to do with the UK’s removal from the European Union.

In a televised interview on Wednesday, Johnson denied that he was seeking to prevent Parliament from limiting his Brexit plans.

“That is completely untrue. If you look at what we’re doing, we’re bringing forward a new legislative program,” he said.

In a letter to politicians, Johnson said Parliament “will have the opportunity to debate the Government’s overall program, 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.”

Up to 1,500 people in London protested Johnson’s suspension of the Parliament.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU was “fully prepared for a no-deal scenario” but added that the European Union would do “everything it can to avoid such a situation”.