Boris Johnson was forced to make an embarrassing change to his plan to ask the Queen to suspend Parliament, it has been claimed.
According to reports, the Prime Minister and his team at Number 10 were determined to keep their plans a secret until everything was done and dusted – but things didn’t quite go as they hoped.
Three of Johnson’s ministers – Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg , Lords Leader Baroness Natalie Evans and Chief Whip Mark Spencer – were sent to Balmoral to ask the Queen to suspend Parliament.
However a leak, believed to have come from within Whitehall, meant word of their plans got out much earlier than planned.
According to the Times, this means Johnson had to bring his phone call with the Queen forward to tell her what he was planning so she didn’t read it in the news first.
The Times states: “To the embarrassment of Downing Street, Boris Johnson had to bring forward a phone call to Her Majesty to ask her to prorogue Parliament so that she would know about it before the rest of the nation heard it on the news.”
However Number 10 has refused to confirm what time the phone call happened.
The Monarch signed off the shock bid – which has prompted outrage among MPs and plunged Britain into a constitutional crisis – in the meeting at her summer retreat Balmoral.
It means Parliament will be suspended or ‘prorogued’ for more than a month from September 12, sabotaging MPs’ efforts to block no-deal Brexit or vote no confidence in the government.
According to Jacob Rees-Mogg , the Queen did not question Johnson’s request to shut down Parliament – and realistically would not have been able to.
He said there was “no chat, no debate” after he flew to Balmoral to make the request, saying: “The Queen says ‘approved’. That’s it.”
Some suggested the Queen should have blocked the ‘prorogation’, however she isn’t technically allowed to.
Royal expert Ingrid Seward, editor in chief of Majesty magazine, believes the Queen may not be happy about what she was forced to do , but knows she has to be above politics.
She said: “Her Majesty is in an uncomfortable position. As Head of State she acts for the Government of the day. That is her job.
“The constitution is working exactly as it should.
“It is not a crisis as many people have said, but it is a very difficult chapter in the history of the constitution which was set by statue as a Bill of Rights in 1689.
“Having reigned for over 70 years, Her Majesty is sensitive to the wishes of her people and knows over this issue the nation is seriously divided.
“She may not be happy and she may well be troubled by the latest turn of events. But she is above politics and always has been.
“Those close to Her Majesty say how much she dislikes being dragged into a potentially political minefield.
“She has spent her time as Queen avoiding doing so.
“She is not about to start now and, whatever her personal feelings, she will not mention them.
“When Boris Johnson travels to Balmoral next month, if indeed he goes, she will not even mention them to him.
“That is always the way she has dealt with politically sensitive issues, and in these troubled times she will be extremely cautious.
“She has no choice.”