UK opposition reacts with fury to Parliament suspension

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked Queen Elizabeth II yesterday to suspend Parliament, throwing down the gauntlet to his critics and causing outrage among opposition leaders who will have even less time to thwart a no-deal Brexit.

Johnson told lawmakers he has decided to ask the monarch to give her speech that outlines the government’s legislative agenda on October 14. Since Parliament is normally suspended before the speech, the decision means opposition lawmakers would be unlikely to have enough time to pass laws blocking the United Kingdom’s (UK) exit from the European Union (EU) without a negotiated deal on October 31.

Though Johnson had previously refused to rule out suspending Parliament, the timing of the decision took lawmakers — many of whom are on vacation — by surprise. They reacted with fury, including Speaker of the Lower House of Commons John Bercow, who was not told in advance of Johnson’s plan.

“Shutting down Parliament would be an offence against the democratic process and the rights of Parliamentarians as the people’s elected representatives,” he said. “Surely at this early stage in his premiership, the prime minister should be seeking to establish rather than undermine his democratic credentials and indeed his commitment to Parliamentary democracy.”

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson smiles during his final press conference at the G7 summit in France. PHOTO: AP