The government has announced plans to prorogue Parliament ahead of the Queen’s Speech on 14 October in its latest bid to prevent MPs blocking no deal.
The proposal, which has now been approved by Her Majesty the Queen, will see Parliament suspended no earlier than 9 September.
The move has sparked fierce criticism from across the political divide, with the Speaker, John Bercow, dubbing Mr Johnson’s plans as a “constitutional outrage”.
“I have had no contact from the government, but if the reports that it is seeking to prorogue parliament are confirmed, this move represents a constitutional outrage,” he says.
‘Recklessness of Johnson’s government’
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, issued a public statement describing the “recklessness of Johnson’s government.”
“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”, he said.
“This is an outrage and a threat to our democracy.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also voiced his concern.
In a tweet, he urged other Conservative leadership candidates to rule out proroguing parliament, saying it undermined parliamentary democracy.
Cut down time
Streams of experts have expressed their disapproval at the move, which could see MPs only sitting until 13 September.
Dr Catherine Haddon, a senior fellow at the Institute for Government, spoke to BBC news earlier.
“We were due to have a Queen’s speech and prorogation anyway but to do it right now, given everything that is going on and given the emphasis that is going to be on parliament in the effort by some MPs to try and stop a no-deal Brexit, it does seem like a very obvious move to try and cut down the time available to anti-no deal MPs to be able to do something about it.”
Meanwhile, the Wales’ first minister, Mark Drakeford, has renewed his calls for a second referendum in response to today’s prorogation news.
The SNP says legal action to block suspension of parliament will be sped up.
SNP MP Joanna Cherry has confirmed that she has spoken to her legal team about speeding up the action in the Scottish courts to stop Boris Johnson shutting down parliament, which was due to be heard on 6 September.
Nicola Sturgeon hopes this latest Brexit crisis will boost her party’s chances of a shock Holyrood by-election victory in the Liberal Democrat stronghold of Shetland tomorrow.
Pundits believe the SNP is on the verge of winning the seat, which the Lib Dems have held comfortably since the first Scottish parliament elections in 1999.
The DUP, which props up the Conservative government, has supported the decision to prorogue parliament.
The party’s leader, Arlene Foster, said that it had been the longest parliamentary session in the Union of England and Scotland since 1707.
She said that the terms of the party’s confidence and supply agreement with the government would be reviewed in advance of the new session.
“This will be an opportunity to ensure our priorities align with those of the Government,” said Foster.
How does proroguing work?
According to the House of Commons Library, Prorogation is the means (otherwise than by dissolution) by which a Parliamentary session is brought to an end.
“Prorogation brings to an end the proceedings in both Houses for the current Parliamentary session. Unless specific provision is made (e.g. in the Standing Orders to “carry-over” bills) no business of a previous Parliamentary session may be carried over into the next session.”
“The motions set down and orders made for business to be considered on future days all fall at Prorogation, as do notices of EDMs and unanswered Parliamentary questions.
“Select committee inquiries continue, though no committee may meet during Prorogation; statutory periods for Parliamentary consideration of secondary legislation are suspended over Prorogation, but the legislation itself does not fall.”