Remainer Parliamentarians are outraged over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that his government will suspend parliament in the autumn, with Europhile MPs saying it will give them less time to activate plots to stop Brexit.
Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow, who vowed to “fight with every breath” the UK leaving the EU in a clean break and was accused of breaking parliamentary protocol by allowing MPs to vote on an amendment to stop Brexit, said Johnson was “undermining his democratic credentials”.
Appearing very offended that he had not been told in advance of the prime minister’s decision, Bercow wrote in a statement: “I have had no contact from the government, but if the reports that it is seeking to prorogue parliament are confirmed, this move represents a constitutional outrage.”
Proroguing Parliament, which happens most Autumns, is “a constitutional outrage” – according to the very same people who only a few days ago were trying to impose Ken Clarke as PM.
— Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) August 28, 2019
Sarah Wollaston — who defected from her Eurosceptic stance to Remain before resigning from the Tories, to join the pro-EU Change UK, then the Liberal Democrats some months later — said that the prime minister was “behaving like a tin pot dictator” and called on her former colleagues in the Conservative Party to “cross the floor” and change parties. Hopefully, just the once.
Johnson behaving like a tin pot dictator. Time for ministers to resign & Conservative MPs to cross the floor rather than be tainted with this outrage https://t.co/ui4Y8tP2ra
— Sarah Wollaston MP (@sarahwollaston) August 28, 2019
Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn, who wants to pass a law to stop no-deal Brexit and had pushed to destabilise the country by removing Boris and placing himself as interim prime minister, said he was “appalled at the recklessness of Johnson’s government”. He added that the attempt to stop Remainer MPs defying the will of the people, the majority of which who voted to Leave, was “an outrage and a threat to our democracy”.
The rabidly anti-Brexit former Tory MP Anna Soubry claimed that “democracy is under threat from a ruthless prime minister”, while former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, a prominent head of the Tory Remain Alliance, called it a “constitutional outrage” and “profoundly undemocratic”.
Outrageous that #Parliament will be shut down at a moment of crisis as we face crashing out of the #EU with no deal & for which there is no mandate. Our democracy is under threat from a ruthless PM elected by less than 100K Con members. Email your MP now & demand Parliament sits
— Anna Soubry MP (@Anna_Soubry) August 28, 2019
It would be a constitutional outrage if Parliament were prevented from holding the government to account at a time of national crisis. Profoundly undemocratic.
— Philip Hammond (@PhilipHammondUK) August 28, 2019
Alastair Campbell, the former spindoctor of ‘“deep cover Trotskyite” Tony Blair, told Tories to back Corbyn’s plans to stop Boris Johnson “destroying Parliamentary democracy”.
On the other side of the English Channel, senior MEP and arch EU federalist Guy Verhofstadt, who pushes for European nations to hand over sovereignty to Brussels, called Johnson’s decision “sinister”, adding that “As a fellow parliamentarian, my solidarity with those fighting for their voices to be heard.”
Hopefully Tory MPs who thought they could 'wait and see' can now see plainly that they need to get behind the legislative plan discussed by Opposition leaders yesterday. Fast. Or play along with Johnson destroying Parliamentary democracy while pretending to 'take back control'
— Alastair PEOPLE’S VOTE Campbell (@campbellclaret) August 28, 2019
Brexiteers welcomed the move, including the conservative, Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which is in a confidence and supply arrangement with the Conservative government. Party leader Arlene Foster remarked that “This has been the longest Parliamentary Session since the Union of England and Scotland in 1707″ and welcomed the decision to hold a Queen’s Speech to mark the start of a new session of parliament.
“The new session of Parliament will set a new domestic legislative programme which can deal with the matters most important to people such as their safety, their schools and their hospitals,” she added.
A number of MPs pointed out that it was normal to suspend parliament before the Queen’s Speech, with Lucy Allan saying a Queen’s Speech was “long overdue” and needed to get the UK’s domestic agenda back on track.
In 400 years we haven’t had a session of Parliament that’s lasted as long as this. We need a Queen’s Speech to set out a bold agenda for after we leave the EU – on policing, infrastructure and the NHS. And there will still be time for a Withdrawal Agreement if terms are agreed.
— Simon Clarke MP (@SimonClarkeMP) August 28, 2019
Tory Party MEP Daniel Hannan wrote: “A prorogation normally happens every autumn. This parliamentary session has lasted three years — the longest since the Civil War. What kind of screwed-up mindset do you need to see the long-overdue return of constitutional normality as ‘a coup’?”
Other Leave supporters were more cautious, with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage saying: “The government’s announcement today makes a confidence motion now certain, a general election more likely and is seen as a positive move by Brexiteers.
“The unanswered question is whether Boris Johnson intends to pursue the Withdrawal Agreement.
“If he does, then The Brexit Party will fight him every inch of the way. But if he now wants a clean break Brexit then we would like to help him secure a large majority in a general election.”
If he does, then The Brexit Party will fight him every inch of the way. But if he now wants a clean break Brexit then we would like to help him secure a large majority in a general election.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) August 28, 2019
While Brexit Party MEP Andre England Kerr called the move a “necessary evil”, saying it was needed “to prevent those MPs that were not prepared to respect the referendum result, to allow the UK to leave the EU”.
He continued: “The suspension will mean that laws cannot be passed that could stop the Prime Minister taking the UK out of the EU.
“This an extremely serious and drastic cause of action but in my view a necessary one to ensure democracy in this country is upheld.
“We cannot allow even elected politicians to frustrate the greatest and most important democratic vote in this great nations history just because they didn’t like the results when we were specifically assured that the decision would be respected.”
The move to suspend Parliament in my view is a necessary evil.
Parliament has made it clear that they are willing to do anything to stop Brexit.
If this is the only way to deliver Brexit, then so be it. pic.twitter.com/CgiSHAbwEe
— Andrew England Kerr (@englandkerrmep) August 28, 2019
Prime Minister Johnson outlined that Parliament will reconvene on September 3rd and around the 12th, will be suspended ahead of party conference season, with the Queen’s Speech scheduled for October 14th. The European Council summit is planned for October 17th to 18th — during which Mr Johnson will attempt to have the controversial Irish backstop removed from the withdrawal agreement — with votes on the Queen’s Speech to occur October 21st to 22nd. If Mr Johnson can secure the removal of the backstop, there will be a vote the Withdrawal Agreement Bill before October 31st — Mr Johnson’s pledged “do or die” Brexit date.