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FILES-BRITAIN-EU-POLITICS-BREXIT The Palace of Westminster (left), which houses the UK Houses of Parliament  (AFP or licensors)

Opposition responds to move to prorogue UK Parliament

Political opposition to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's move to suspend Parliament crystalized Thursday amid protests, legal action and a petition to block the move which has gathered more than 1 million signatures.

By Vatican News

Political opposition to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's move to suspend Parliament crystalized Thursday amid protests, legal action and a petition to block the move which has gathered more than 1 million signatures.

The government on Wednesday formally requested Queen Elizabeth to bring the current Parliament session to an end in September. Opposition lawmakers contend that he wants to limit the ability of lawmakers to come up with legislation to block a no-deal Brexit.

Johnson's maneuver gives his political opponents even less time to prevent a no-deal Brexit before the Oct. 31 withdrawal deadline. But the decision outraged critics and is serving as a unifying force for the disparate opposition, who have confirmed they will press on with measures to block a departure from the European Union without a deal despite Johnson's actions.

Johnson has insisted that the decision to prorogue parliament was a means of putting forward the agenda for his new government: “We’re not going to wait til October the 31st before getting on with our plans to take this country forward.” He said, “To do that, we need new legislation, we’ve got to be bringing forward new and important bills, and that’s why we’re going to have a Queen’s Speech, and we’re going to do it on October 14th.”

However, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, John Bercow, said that was a constitutional outrage as it limited the time the 800-year-old heart of English democracy has to debate and shape the course of British history.

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour party, similarly attacked the move: “I’ve protested on the very strongest possible terms, on behalf of my party, and I believe all the other opposition parties are going to join in with this, and simply saying that suspending parliament is not acceptable. It’s not on.” He said that when Parliament does meet ahead in the first week of September, “the first thing we’ll do is attempt legislation to prevent what he’s doing, secondly, we’ll challenge him on a motion of confidence at some point.”

Johnson’s formal request to prorogue Parliament was approved by the Queen on Wednesday. Members of Parliament will return to the assembly next week, meeting for just a few days before the session is closed, on a date between 9-12 September. It will then be suspended from for five weeks, with MPs returning on October 14 for the Queen’s Speech.

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29 August 2019, 15:03