Jeremy Corbyn has slammed Boris Johnson’s “reckless” government as a “threat to our democracy”.
“This is an outrage”
On 28 August, Johnson triggered a process to suspend parliament. MPs return from summer recess on 3 September. But with Johnson’s call for a Queen’s Speech to take place on 14 October, parliament must close. The process is called proroguing parliament. There are widespread concerns this limits MPs’ chances to halt or legislate against a no-deal Brexit.
In a statement, the Labour leader said:
I am appalled at the recklessness of Johnson’s government, which talks about sovereignty and yet is seeking to suspend parliament to avoid scrutiny of its plans for a reckless No Deal Brexit. This is an outrage and a threat to our democracy.
Corbyn also stated:
That is why Labour has been working across Parliament to hold this reckless government to account, and prevent a disastrous No Deal which parliament has already ruled out.
And Corbyn also issued a direct challenge to the prime minister, insisting:
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If Johnson has confidence in his plans he should put them to the people in a general election or public vote.
Corbyn said in a spearate statement:
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?
“It’s a dictatorship”
Corbyn wasn’t alone in his condemnation. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon told the BBC:
It’s absolutely outrageous. Shutting down parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit which will do untold and lasting damage to the country against the wishes of MPs is not democracy.
Sturgeon went further, saying:
It’s a dictatorship and if MPs don’t come together next week to stop Boris Johnson in his tracks then I think today will go down in history as the day UK democracy died.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell, meanwhile, called this “a very British coup”.
“Do not prorogue Parliament”
Following the announcement of Johnson’s plan, a petition opposing prorogation rapidly began to gain signatures. The petition states:
Parliament must not be prorogued or dissolved unless and until the Article 50 period has been sufficiently extended or the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU has been cancelled.
At the time of writing, it had grown to over 250,000 signatures.
Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, the train drivers’ union, warned that this move could provoke “civil unrest”.
Support for Corbyn and those opposing Johnson also came from Guy Verhofstadt, the chief Brexit representative in the European parliament. He said:
“Taking back control” has never looked so sinister. As a fellow parliamentarian, my solidarity with those fighting for their voices to be heard.
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