Parliament prorogued: Opposition parties issue ‘demand’ that Boris Johnson backtracks on suspension plan

Opposition parties have issued a joint statement to “demand” that Boris Johnson backtrack on his plan to prorogue Parliament

The statement has been released by Labour, the SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, The Independent Group for Change and the Green Party. 

They state that the plan should be stopped or alternatively put to a vote by MPs in the Commons. 

The statement reads: “It is our view that there is a majority in the House of Commons that does not support this prorogation, and we demand that the Prime Minister reverses this decision immediately or allows MPs to vote on whether there should be one.”

It also states that the parties feel the suspension has been put in place “with the sole aim of stopping MPs from avoiding a no-deal Brexit”.

The PM has previously denied he has been motivated by Brexit, instead stating he made the move to allow him to lay out a new “legislative agenda”.

The statement continues: “We condemn the undemocratic actions of Boris Johnson following his suspension of Parliament until October 14.

“There is no mandate from the public for a damaging no-deal Brexit. The Prime Minister is shutting down Parliament with the sole aim of stopping MPs from avoiding a no-deal Brexit.

“This will be the longest prorogation in recent history, and one that comes at a critical moment in the history of our respective nations and the Brexit process.

“Voters are being deprived of the opportunity to have their representatives hold the Government to account, make any key decisions, and ensure there is a lawful basis for any action that is taken.”

READ  Revealed: councils paid inadequate care homes £2.3m to house children

It comes as a petition also demanding the action be halted garnered more than 1.5 million signatures

The move comes hours after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said MPs would bid to prevent Boris Johnson’s “smash and grab raid against democracy” when they return on Tuesday.

Mr Johnson said the suspension was necessary so he could put forward his Government’s new legislative agenda, and in order to do this through a Queen’s Speech, the current two-year session of Parliament must formally come to an end.

However, anti-no-deal MPs believe it is an attempt to shorten the amount of time they have to try to stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Jeremy Corbyn: Boris Johnson has launched a smash-and-grab raid against democracy

Speaking at the start of a three-day tour of Scotland in Dunfermline on Thursday, Mr Corbyn said he believed the implications of proroguing Parliament were “very, very serious” for the country.

He said: “We will be back in Parliament on Tuesday to challenge Boris Johnson on what I think is a smash and grab raid against our democracy.

“He’s trying to suspend Parliament in order to prevent a serious discussion and a serious debate to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

“What we’re going to do is try to litigately stop him on Tuesday with a parliamentary process in order to legislate to prevent a no-deal Brexit, and also to try and prevent him shutting down Parliament during this utterly crucial period.

“The implications for this country are very, very serious. A no-deal Brexit would mean trade immediately at risk, jobs immediately at risk, the Northern Ireland border suddenly reimposed because there would be no deal whatsoever, there would be no backstop of any sort.

The Prime Minister is facing challenges from both the oppostition and from members of his own party (AFP/Getty Images)

“And he would lead us straight into the arms of Donald Trump and the putative trade arrangement with the United States, which will be very damaging to our economy and, despite what he says, I believe will mean US healthcare corporations lining up to take over our NHS.”

It comes as backbench Tory rebels have started working with opposition MPs to try to force the Prime Minister not to take the UK out of the EU without a deal.

Former justice secretary David Gauke said next week will be crucial for MPs hoping to block a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking to BBC News, Mr Gauke said: “We are very concerned about what no deal is going to involve.

“It’s probably not in our interests to be very specific about what the proposals might be as to how we would do that.

“I think there are many of us who would be inclined to say that Parliament doesn’t need to take action for a while yet.

“But given the announcement from (Wednesday) that Parliament is only going to be sitting for a week next week and then really at the end of October, by which point it will be too late for Parliament to do anything effective.

“Then I do think we have to look at what our options are next week.”

He added: “The fact is there isn’t a mandate for a no-deal Brexit. It is not what was campaigned for in 2016.

“It is not what the public want according to opinion polls, only about a third of the public would support that and I think as the consequences of no deal become clear, that number may well fall.

“So I think Parliament does have a responsibility to act and it may well be that next week is the only opportunity for us to do so.”

Tory former chancellor Ken Clarke said he would be willing to vote against the Government in a confidence vote to try to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Asked if he would be willing to bring down the Government, Mr Clarke told ITV News: “If it’s the only way of stopping us plunging into the disaster of a no-deal Brexit, then yes.”

Mr Johnson is facing legal challenges in London, Edinburgh and Belfast as the backlash to his decision to suspend Parliament for more than a month in the run-up to Brexit continued unabated.

He received a double blow as Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson and whip Lord Young of Cookham quit their posts on Thursday.

Ruth Davidson announced she was standing down as leader of the Scottish Conservatives (PA)

And the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator made it clear he was not ready to retreat on the issue of the Northern Ireland backstop, despite pressure from the Prime Minister.

Michel Barnier tweeted: “PM @BorisJohnson has said that the UK will leave the EU on 31 Oct. In all circumstances, the EU will continue to protect the interests of its citizens and companies, as well as the conditions for peace and stability on the island of Ireland. It is our duty & our responsibility.”

In her resignation speech, Ms Davidson highlighted “the conflict I have felt over Brexit”.

Lord Young, a Government whip in the upper house who served as a minister under Margaret Thatcher, was more direct, saying he was “very unhappy” with the Prime Minister’s decision to prorogue Parliament for an extended period as the October 31 deadline for Brexit looms.

Leading Brexiteer Mr Rees-Mogg hit back at critics, insisting the prorogation move was not intended to limit the time available for MPs to debate Brexit but will allow the Government to tackle other issues.

He said: “I think the outrage is phoney and it is created by people who don’t want us to leave the European Union and are trying very hard to overturn the referendum result and don’t want the benefits of leaving the European Union.”

He added: “Parliament wasn’t going to be sitting for most of this time anyway. This is completely constitutional and proper.”



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here