News | Published August 28 2019

Government to ask Queen to suspend parliament

The Privy Council, instructed by Boris Johnson’s government, will ask the Queen to suspend parliament today.

As reported in The Telegraph, MPs are likely to meet from the 2nd to the 10th of September, with Johnson’s government asking parliament to be suspended after this point until October 14th. 

Following the period of suspension, parliament would return with a Queen’s Speech in which the government will lay out its plans for its tenure.

If parliament is indeed suspended between these dates it will limit the time MPs have to try and stop a no-deal Brexit.

A Downing Street source told the BBC: “It’s time a new government and new PM set out a plan for the country after we leave the EU.”

Immediate reaction to this news has been polarised. 

James Cleverley, the Conservative Party Chairman, said the plan was merely for “Government to hold a Queen’s Speech, just as all new Government’s do.”

Opposition MPs, particularly those who oppose a no-deal Brexit, responded with outrage. 

Tom Watson, the Labour deputy leader, described the move as an “utterly scandalous affront to our democracy” and Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, said “today will go down in history as a dark one indeed for UK democracy.”

While suspending parliament prior to a Queen’s Speech is not unusual, prorogation generally happens once a year in Spring to end a parliamentary session - the specific timing of this move that has caused consternation.

A break had already been planned for party conference season but this move has extended the time away, with parliament returning on October 14th rather than the 7th of the month, and has reduced the amount of time before the October 31st Brexit deadline.

It is now likely that the only available time for MPs to block no-deal will be in the early weeks of September. 

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Authored by

George Salmon
Political Editor
August 28 2019

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