Updated | Brexit: Queen consents to suspension of parliament

MPs have accused British PM Boris Johnson of suspending parliament in a bid to prevent any laws that could stop a no-deal Brexit

The Queen has accepted a request by British prime minister Boris Johnson to suspend Parliament just days after MPs return to work in September – just a few weeks before the Brexit deadline.

A Queen’s Speech would take place after the suspension, on 14 October, to outline his “very exciting agenda”, but the move is intended at preventing MPs from passing laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

Tory backbencher Dominic Grieve called the move “an outrageous act”, warning that it could lead to a vote of no confidence in Johnson, adding: “This government will come down.”

“If the prime minister persists with this and doesn’t back off, then I think the chances are that his administration will collapse.

“There is plenty of time to do that if necessary [and] I will certainly vote to bring down a Conservative government that persists in a course of action which is so unconstitutional.”

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson tweeted that the move was an “utterly scandalous affront to our democracy”.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said MPs must come together to stop the plan next week, or “today will go down in history as a dark one indeed for UK democracy”.

Johnson said it was “completely untrue” to suggest the suspension was motivated by a desire to force through no deal.

He said he did not want to wait until after Brexit “before getting on with our plans to take this country forward”, and insisted there would still be “ample time” for MPs to debate the UK’s departure.

“We need new legislation. We’ve got to be bringing forward new and important bills and that’s why we are going to have a Queen’s Speech,” he added.

Shutting down Parliament – known as prorogation – is done by the Queen, on the advice of the prime minister.

But it is controversial since it is intended at stopping MPs being able to play their democratic part in the Brexit process.  Parliamentary sessions normally last a year, but the current one has been going on for more than two years – ever since the June 2017 election. When Parliament is prorogued, no debates and votes are held, and most laws that haven’t completed their passage through Parliament die a death.

High-profile figures such as former Tory PM John Major have threatened to go to the courts to stop it.

Johnson wants the UK to leave the EU on 31 October with a deal, but it is “do or die” and he is willing to leave without one rather than miss the deadline.

Opposition MPs who want to block a possible no deal this week announced they intended to use parliamentary process to do so. It was also thought Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would call for an emergency debate in the Commons next week, giving MPs a chance to lay down legislation designed to ultimately stop a no-deal exit.

If Parliament is suspended, opponents will only have a few days next week to push for their changes.

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