British PM Boris Johnson makes shock move to suspend Parliament

The shock move was criticised as a means for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to evade scrutiny of plans for leaving the European Union or of any new deal he strikes with the EU.
The shock move was criticised as a means for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to evade scrutiny of plans for leaving the European Union or of any new deal he strikes with the EU.PHOTO: AFP

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson manoeuvred yesterday to suspend Parliament for five weeks, a step his political opponents say gives them even less time to block a no-deal Brexit before the Oct 31 withdrawal deadline.

A statement from the official body of advisers to Queen Elizabeth II, known as the Privy Council, confirmed that the British Parliament will be prorogued on a day between Sept 9 and Sept 12, until Oct 14.

The shock move - which had lawmakers up in arms - was criticised as a means for Mr Johnson to evade scrutiny of plans for leaving the European Union or of any new deal he strikes with the EU.

MPs will also have less time to try to change the law to stop Mr Johnson from taking the United Kingdom out of the EU without a deal.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, Mr John Bercow, said yesterday that the move was an "offence against the democratic process".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the opposition party will attempt to stop Mr Johnson's rare move next week. Options on the table include a call for a vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson, which could trigger a general election.

MPs could also go to the courts to stop Mr Johnson from suspending Parliament.

Responding to queries on the plan, EU Commission spokesman Mina Andreeva said yesterday that the bloc "is not commenting on internal political procedures of our member states. And we're also not going to speculate what this means in terms of next steps".

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2019, with the headline 'Johnson makes shock move to suspend Parliament'. Print Edition | Subscribe