Po­lar­iz­ing is­sue

Lim­its par­lia­men­tary time for op­po­nents to block Brexit

Global Times US Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

Mem­bers of the anti-brexit Our Fu­ture, Our Choice, a youth move­ment sup­port­ing a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal, demon­strate out­side the gates to Down­ing Street in Lon­don on Wed­nes­day. Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son an­nounced Wed­nes­day that the sus­pen­sion of par­lia­ment would be ex­tended un­til Oc­to­ber 14

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son an­nounced Wed­nes­day that par­lia­ment would be suspended un­til Oc­to­ber 14 – just two weeks be­fore the UK is set to leave the EU – en­rag­ing anti-brexit MPS.

The pound slid on the sur­prise news, which op­po­nents branded a “coup” and a “dec­la­ra­tion of war.”

The govern­ment’s move will give pro-eu law­mak­ers less time than they ex­pected to try to thwart John­son’s Brexit plans be­fore Bri­tain’s cur­rent EU de­par­ture date on Oc­to­ber 31.

John­son said he had asked Queen El­iz­a­beth II, the head of state, to recom­mence par­lia­ment with a speech on Oc­to­ber 14 set­ting out his govern­ment’s leg­isla­tive pro­gram.

Anti-brexit MPS re­acted fu­ri­ously, brand­ing John­son – who came to of­fice only last month as head of the gov­ern­ing Con­ser­va­tive Party – a dic­ta­tor.

John Ber­cow, the speaker of par­lia­ment’s lower House of Com­mons, de­scribed the move as a “con­sti­tu­tional out­rage.”

John­son is due to at­tend one last EU sum­mit on Oc­to­ber 17 and 18, which could de­cide whether Bri­tain leaves the bloc af­ter four decades of mem­ber­ship with or with­out a deal.

“There will be am­ple time on both sides of that cru­cial Oc­to­ber 17 sum­mit, am­ple time in par­lia­ment for MPS to de­bate the EU, to de­bate Brexit and all the other is­sues,” he said.

John­son’s an­nounce­ment came af­ter six op­po­si­tion par­ties on Tues­day pledged to pri­or­i­tize seek­ing leg­isla­tive changes to pre­vent a no-deal Brexit rather than at­tempt­ing to bring down the govern­ment, which has only a sin­gle-seat ma­jor­ity in par­lia­ment.

But John­son said it was “com­pletely un­true” that the move was de­signed to block MPS from stymieing his Brexit plans.

In­stead, he said, it was to “bring for­ward a new bold and am­bi­tious do­mes­tic leg­isla­tive agenda for the re­newal of our coun­try af­ter Brexit”.

In the seis­mic 2016 ref­er­en­dum on Bri­tain’s EU mem­ber­ship, 52 per­cent voted in fa­vor of leav­ing the bloc, a re­sult that has left par­lia­ment and the coun­try bit­terly di­vided.

John­son in­sists Bri­tain must leave the EU on the Oc­to­ber 31 dead­line – al­ready twicede­layed – with or with­out a divorce deal from Brus­sels.

Par­lia­ment has re­jected three times the with­drawal agree­ment struck be­tween Brus­sels and John­son’s pre­de­ces­sor Theresa May.

Speaker Ber­cow said he had had no con­tact from the govern­ment about the sus­pen­sion de­ci­sion.

“It is blind­ingly ob­vi­ous that the pur­pose of pro­ro­ga­tion now would be to stop par­lia­ment de­bat­ing Brexit and per­form­ing its duty in shap­ing a course for the coun­try,” he said.

“Shut­ting down par­lia­ment would be an of­fence against the demo­cratic process.”

The pound slumped al­most one per­cent against the dol­lar and euro, hit­ting $1.2179, while the euro bought 91.09 pence.

Par­lia­ment re­turns from its sum­mer break on Septem­ber 3, but by con­ven­tion it is suspended for the an­nual con­fer­ences of the three main par­ties which kick off on Septem­ber 14 and end on Oc­to­ber 2.

John­son wants par­lia­ment to re­turn 12 days later on Oc­to­ber 14.

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