On 28 August, the Prime Minister (PM) of the UK Boris Johnson dropped a bombshell. As reported by the BBC, Johnson has asked the Queen to suspend Parliament “just days” after MPs return to work from the summer recess. The plan comes only several weeks before the Brexit deadline of 31 October. But this prorogation of Parliament means MPs are unlikely to have time to stop a no-deal Brexit.
In a letter, the PM told MPs of his intentions:
Boris Johnson’s letter to MPs conforming prorogation of Parliament pic.twitter.com/OvtZ7cIwOA
— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) August 28, 2019
Johnson did however confirm a “very exciting agenda” to be outlined in a Queen’s Speech which will take place after the suspension on 14 October. The PM is keen not to wait until after Brexit to bring about plans to “take this country forward”. Seems legit right!?
Former Tory Business Secretary now backbencher Dominic Grieve called Johnson’s plan “an outrageous act”. Grieve also believes the PM’s actions will lead to a vote of no confidence in Johnson, saying “This Government will come down”.
But that’s “completely untrue”
Contrary to widespread speculation, the PM said it is “completely untrue” to suggest the suspension of Parliament is linked to forcing through no-deal. But in completely unrelated news, Left Foot Forward published an article named “Is Boris Johnson a “known liar”? Here’s six times he’s known to have lied” on 27 August. Like I said, completely unrelated to Johnson’s rebuttal for his motivations for the prorogation.
But politicians from opposition parties seem to think the suspension of Parliament might have something to do with no-deal. In fact, opposition parties think Johnson’s plan has a lot to do with ushering in no-deal. But then again they could just be cynical, the PM may just want to get on with “helping the NHS, fighting violent crime, investing in infrastructure and science and cutting the cost of living”.
When the news broke of the prorogation Green Party MP Caroline Lucas said:
Wasn’t this meant to be about “taking back control”?
The act of a cowardly PM who knows his reckless No Deal Brexit will never gain the support of MPs.
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) August 28, 2019
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister (FM) and leader of the SNP, called today a “dark one” for UK democracy:
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. https://t.co/68lFnEgiyr
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) August 28, 2019
And Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru’s leader at Westminster, said:
"Faced with what could be the most serious abuse of power in living memory, we must do everything we can to defend representative democracy against this undemocratic coup d’état. Plaid Cymru is ready to dedicate all our energy to doing that.” @LSRPlaid https://t.co/kfPpMjphoS pic.twitter.com/gRGHBNK91K
— Plaid Cymru (@Plaid_Cymru) August 28, 2019
Leader of the UK Labour Party and official opposition Jeremy Corbyn said:
Boris Johnson’s attempt to suspend parliament to avoid scrutiny of his plans for a reckless No Deal Brexit is an outrage and a threat to our democracy.
Labour will work across Parliament to hold the government to account and prevent a disastrous No Deal.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) August 28, 2019
And Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell called Johnson’s actions “a very British coup”:
Make no mistake, this is a very British coup. Whatever one’s views on Brexit, once you allow a Prime Minister to prevent the full and free operation of our democratic institutions you are on a very precarious path. https://t.co/9kwmw8i6E1
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) August 28, 2019
This is even more alarming
But what makes this even more alarming, is the Speaker of the House John Bercow was not informed of the plan to suspend Parliament by the Tory Government. When asked about the prorogation Bercow said:
Bercow weighs in – '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'
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) August 28, 2019
And Corbyn has apparently written to the Queen to request a meeting over Johnson’s proroguing plans:
NEW – understand Jeremy Corbyn has written to the Queen, expressing concern about Boris Johnson's announcement that he's proroguing parliament, and requesting a meeting with her.
— Heather Stewart (@GuardianHeather) August 28, 2019
What an absolute omnishambles!
But I’m sure the Tories north of the border will be ready to stand up for Scotland….
Meanwhile the Tories in Scotland…
But you’ll be wondering what Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has to say on the matter. After all, Johnson’s move could be detrimental to Scotland and scupper relations further between Holyrood and Westminster. As reported by the Telegraph on 28 July, Davidson also said she will not “support a no-deal Brexit”. Surely Davidson – who is constantly touted as a “star” of the party and a “future leader” of the UK party by the adoring mainstream media – will be vocal on such a prominent announcement.
Channel 4 News correspondent Ciaran Jenkins has the answer:
Ruth Davidson is not doing interviews today.
— Ciaran Jenkins (@C4Ciaran) August 28, 2019
And the Scottish FM is not surprised:
Well, this is* a shock (*not). https://t.co/Aw0T1rHuw6
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) August 28, 2019
This is not democracy
So a Tory PM wants to shut down the UK Parliament and Scottish Tory leader is refusing to take interviews today. I don’t know about you, but I think Scotland deserves so much better than this. The Scottish electorate voted 62% to remain in the European Union (EU). But it looks as if Scotland will be forced out of the EU with no-deal and Johnson wants to shut down Parliament to get his own way.
This is not democracy.
Editors note: Since publication of this article the Queen has approved the prorogation of the UK Parliament.
Feature image from WikiMedia