Queen Elizabeth II will be asked on Wednesday to approve a plan to suspend the United Kingdom’s parliament in order to push through a “no-deal” withdrawal from the European Union, it has emerged.
MPs are due to return to work after their summer holidays next Tuesday, but the parliamentary session will likely be suspended by the end of the week.
On Tuesday, six opposition parties came together to pledge unified legislative action to block a no-deal Brexit, likely by forcing through a new law to delay the Brexit date. Many economists, politicians and experts agree this would be disastrous for the UK economy.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly vowed that Britain would leave the EU with or without a deal – “do or die” in his words – on October 31.
“A constitutional outrage plain and simple,” tweeted Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner of the opposition Labour party. “Charles 1st did this regularly which caused chaos, now an unelected PM seeking to shut parliament down for his own political gain, this isn’t taking back democracy this is destroying democracy.”
Parliament is normally suspended for a brief period in the autumn, during which political parties hold their main conferences. When they return, a new session is formally opened amid great pomp and ceremony with “the Queen’s speech” announcing the government’s new legislative agenda for the coming year.
But the plan suggested on Wednesday would involve delaying MPs’ return after conference season until October 14, ensuring no parliamentary time could be dedicated to avoiding Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal. There is a European Council meeting, dedicated to Brexit, on October 17 and 18.
“Boris Johnson has always threatened he could suspend parliament – he has never ruled it out,” said Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee, reporting from London. “That now looks like exactly what he is going to do.