International desk – Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sparked outrage after he asked the Queen to suspend parliament for a month at a time when MPs have been debating in the House on Britain’s divorce with European Union by October 31.
His decision to suspend Parliament sparked protests across the country, a legal challenge and a petition with more than a million signatures as the lawmakers want to debate the Brexit issue.
The government said the five-week suspension in September and October will still allow time to debate Brexit.
On Wednesday, Johnson shook Westminster out of its summer slumber with a shocking announcement — he would ask the Queen to suspend Parliament for a month to allow for a new session to start in mid-October, according to CNN.
It’s par for the course for a new PM to make such a request — in fact, it normally happens every year — but this request is shrouded in controversy because it comes just weeks before the current deadline for Britain to leave the EU.
Remainers reacted with horror to the news, arguing Johnson was shutting down the chamber to stop lawmakers legislating against a no-deal Brexit.
But Johnson said MPs will have “ample” time to debate Brexit.
Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg said opponents of the PM were “phoney” and just wanted to stay in the EU, says BBC.
He told BBC Breakfast that Parliament would normally head into a recess for the party conferences in September anyway – adding there would still be time to debate Brexit in the Commons before the scheduled departure date of 31 October.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove added the suspension, which was approved by the Queen on Wednesday, was “certainly not” a political move to obstruct opposition to the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
But Ruth Fox – director of parliamentary experts the Hansard Society – said this prorogation was “significantly longer than we would normally have” for the purpose of starting a new parliamentary session.
Ms Fox said depending on the day the suspension began – and on whether MPs would have voted to have a party conference recess at all – the prorogation could “potentially halve” the number of days MPs have to scrutinise the government’s Brexit position, according to BBC.