Parliament will be suspended in September with critics suspecting that Boris Johnson plans to force through a no-deal Brexit.
Boris Johnson will prorogue Parliament in September. Parliament will be suspended from between September 9 and September 12 right through until October 14. This leaves limited time to discuss plans for Brexit with the deadline looming on October 31 and it increases the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
Critics have already slammed this decision by Mr Johnson, claiming that he is enhancing his own political agenda and pushing for a no-deal Brexit. John Bercow – the Speaker of the House of Commons – has led the backlash, calling this decision a “constitutional outrage”.
It was a highly-discussed topic during the Conservative leadership race after Dominic Raab refused to take it off the table. This was widely criticised by his peers on the televised debates, although Mr Johnson was absent. Here are quotes on prorogation from six different senior Conservative politicians dug up from the recent past.
Mr Hunt said: “If your response to that lack of ability to unite is to say, well in that case if you don’t agree with me I’m just going to close down Parliament, despite the fact that the Brexit referendum was actually bringing back power to Parliament, it was bringing back sovereignty to this country – that is a fundamental misreading of what Parliament stands for and what the people in this country will accept.”
He categorically ruled it out and claimed that most of the Conservative party would do the same. “It’s the wrong thing to do. I wouldn’t do it – and I don’t think most people in the Conservative party would do it either,” he added.
Michael Gove was the Environment Secretary at the time of the Tory leadership contest. Talking to Andrew Marr (via @dcakraemer), Mr Gove said that proroguing Parliament would be “wrong”.
He said: “We must also respect the fact that we are a parliamentary democracy and suspended, or as the constitutional experts call it, ‘proroguing’, parliament in order to try to get no-deal through, I think would be wrong.” When pushed further, Mr Gove added: “I think it would be wrong for many reasons. I think it would not be true to the best traditions of British democracy.”
Sajid Javid, ex-Home Secretary and current Chancellor of the Exchequer, stressed that the Prime Minister is not a “dictator” when discussing the issue of prorogation.
Mr Javid said: “You don’t deliver on democracy by trashing democracy. We are not selecting a dictator of our country, we are selecting a prime minister for one of the proudest parliamentary democracies in the world.”
International Development Secretary Rory Stewart (at the time) said Mr Johnson would be comparable to Charles I if he prorogued Parliament. Mr Stewart said that period of time led to “very, very disturbing things in our country.”
Speaking to Sky News (via The Independent), Stewart said: “You don’t ever lock the doors on parliament in this country. Somebody who attempted to subvert our constitution, our liberties, our parliament, and who dared to stand as prime minister and claim they could lock the doors on parliament would not deserve to be prime minister. This parliament would meet, whether he locked the doors or not, and we would bring him down.”
Matt Hancock – the Health Secretary – was an early contender for the Tory leadership. He has expressed his strong opinions on prorogation, writing a letter to his colleagues pleading with them to rule out proroguing Parliament and sharing it with his followers on Twitter.
Part of his statement read: “One of the benefits of Brexit is that it restores Parliamentary sovereignty to the UK. We should be proud of our Parliamentary democracy. England is the mother of Parliaments – respected as such around the free world.
“To suspend Parliament explicitly to pursue a course of action against its wishes is not a serious policy of a Prime Minister in the 21st century. What kind of message would this send around the world about our values when so many have given so much for the rights of democratic freedom?”
Amber Rudd did not run for the Conservative leadership but she weighed in on the prorogation debate. She hinted that suspending Parliament to push through a no-deal Brexit was anachronistic.
Ms Rudd said (quotes via BBC News): “I think it’s outrageous to consider proroguing Parliament. We are not Stuart kings.”