UK PM Johnson suspends Parliament

MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA are seen outside the Houses of the Parliament in London yesterday.  (photo credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)
MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA are seen outside the Houses of the Parliament in London yesterday.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent party envoys to the Queen on Wednesday and requested she suspend the parliamentary session. This past session, which started after the election in June 2017, has been going on for more than two years, more than twice the length of normal parliamentary sessions.
On October 14, the Queen’s Speech, the traditional speech given at the opening of a parliamentary session, will take place; a few days later lawmakers will vote on Johnson’s initiatives.
Johnson announced the shutdown, also known as a “prorogation,” in a video put out by 10 Downing Street:
“As I said on the steps of Downing Street, we’re not going to wait until October the 31 before getting on with our plans to take this country forward. This is a new government with a very exciting agenda,” he said. “We need to deal with the cost of living, moving to a high wage, high productivity economy, which is, I think, what this country needs to be. And to do that we need new legislation.
“We’ve got to be bringing forward new and important bills, and that’s why we are going to have a Queen’s Speech,” he said.
This move came as a shock to the country, as Parliament was set to sit on September 3, break for a couple of weeks so that the parties could convene, and then return in October.
This suspension will be 23 days long, according to the BBC.
The Queen officially approved the motion in a statement: “It is this day ordered by Her Majesty in Council that the Parliament be prorogued on a day no earlier than Monday the 9th day of September and no later than Thursday the 12th day of September 2019, [until] Monday the 14th day of October 2019,” according to Reuters.
Critics of the prime minister say that Johnson’s move was meant to block the democratic process and stop members of Parliament from taking action to stop or delay Brexit before his October 31 deadline, when he plans on pulling out of the European Union with or without a deal in hand.
However, Johnson told Reuters that there would be “ample time” for MPs to deliberate before the EU leaders’ summit on October 17.
In a press conference, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn responded to Johnson’s actions, saying that, “what the prime minister is doing is a sort of smash and grab on our democracy in order to force through a no-deal exit from the European Union.
“What is he so afraid of, that he has to suspend parliament in order to prevent parliament discussing these matters?” Corbyn said, according to The Guardian.
Speaker of the House Commons, John Simon Bercow, also commented saying that the 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,” he said in an interview with the BBC.
Labour MP Clive Lewis tweeted: “The police will have to remove us from the chamber. We will call on people to take to the streets.”
Amid the criticism, a source at 10 Downing Street defended the prime minister’s actions in an interview with the BBC, saying, “It’s time a new government and new PM set out a plan for the country after we leave the EU.”
Conservative Party MP John Redwood also came to the prime minister’s defense, stating that the opposition was not stifled in the suspension, and is still free to bring down Johnson in a no-confidence vote when Parliament returns, the BBC reported.