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What politicians said about Boris Johnson’s plan to prorogue Parliament

The Prime Minister has found support for his decision but has also incensed his opponents.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced there will be a new Queen’s Speech on October 14 (Neil Hall/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced there will be a new Queen’s Speech on October 14 (Neil Hall/PA)

By Patrick Daly, PA Political Correspondent

Figures from across the political spectrum have been reacting to the news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to prorogue Parliament next month.

The Houses of Commons and Lords could be dissolved as soon as Tuesday September 10 after Mr Johnson, who became Conservative Party leader and PM in July, said a Queen’s Speech was required for him to pursue his domestic agenda.

He has written to MPs informing them that he has asked the monarch to give the next Queen’s Speech, detailing his Government’s intentions, on October 14.

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(PA Graphics)

But critics say he has no mandate, having not been elected by the general public, to set out such long-term plans, and fear he could use prorogation to scupper attempts to prevent Britain leaving the European Union without a deal.

Here’s what some of them had to say:

“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” – Commons Speaker John Bercow.

“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. This is an outrage and a threat to our democracy”  – Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“Proroguing Parliament, which happens most autumns, is ‘a constitutional outrage’ – according to the very same people who only a few days ago were trying to impose Ken Clarke as PM” – Johnson ally Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond.

“The Government’s announcement today makes a confidence motion now certain, a general election more likely and is seen as a positive move by Brexiteers. The unanswered question is whether Boris Johnson intends to pursue the Withdrawal Agreement” – Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.

“It would be a constitutional outrage if Parliament were prevented from holding the Government to account at a time of national crisis. Profoundly undemocratic” – Phillip Hammond, former chancellor of the Exchequer.

“Bring it on. Have the courage of your convictions, Boris Johnson. Call an election now – with polling day before October 31 – and let the people vote. Or are you frit?” Scotland’s First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon.

“This has been the longest parliamentary session since the Union of England and Scotland in 1707. We welcome the decision to hold a Queen’s Speech marking the start of a new session of Parliament on October 14 where the Government will set out its new domestic legislative agenda. This will be an opportunity to ensure our priorities align with those of the Government” – Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party.

“Hopefully Tory MPs who thought they could ‘wait and see’ can now see plainly that they need to get behind the legislative plan discussed by opposition leaders yesterday. Fast. Or play along with Johnson destroying parliamentary democracy while pretending to ‘take back control'” – Alastair Campbell, former Labour spin doctor and second referendum campaigner.

“If Boris shuts down Parliament to carry out his No-Deal Brexit, I and other MPs will defend democracy. The police will have to remove us from the chamber. We will call on people to take to the streets” – Shadow Treasury minister Clive Lewis.

“No matter how you voted. Boris can not be allowed to close parliament. I along with my colleagues will occupy parliament” – Shadow  women and equalities minister Dawn Butler.

PA

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