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Queen agrees to suspend UK Parliament till Oct 31 on PM's request ahead of Brexit


ANI Europe
Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson's request to suspend the British Parliament for five weeks from mid-September, shortening the time available to lawmakers to block a no-deal Brexit just weeks before the deadline of October 31.
The suspension will begin no sooner than Monday (September 9) and no later than Thursday (September 12) and last until October 14, a body of senior politicians who act as the Queen's official advisers, confirmed in a statement cited by CNN.
Brexit is due to happen on October 31, and Johnson has promised the UK will leave the European Union on that date with or without a deal.
The majority of parliamentarians are against a no-deal Brexit. But they will now effectively have several days -- after returning from summer break on September 3 -- to pass any legislation to prevent a withdrawal from the EU before the parliament is prorogued.
Lawmakers will then have another week after the Queen's speech in mid-October.
British governments usually arrange for a new parliamentary session to begin every year. New sessions start with a Queen's speech, which outlines the government's legislative priorities for the session. However, former Prime Minister Theresa May allowed the previous session to continue, as she repeatedly attempted to persuade lawmakers to pass her Brexit deal.
Johnson's controversial demand to suspend Parliament prompted widespread criticism among his MPs, especially Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow who called the Prime Minister's manoeuvrings a "constitutional outrage."
"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," said Bercow.
"Shutting down Parliament would be an offence against the democratic process and the rights of Parliamentarians as the people's elected representatives," the speaker added.
During a televised interview on Wednesday, Johnson denied that he was seeking to prevent the Parliament from limiting his Brexit plans.
"That is completely untrue. If you look at what we're doing, we're bringing forward a new legislative program," he said.
In a letter to lawmakers, the Prime Minister said that the Parliament "will have the opportunity to debate the Government's overall program, and approach to Brexit, in the run-up to EU Council, and then vote on this on 21 and 22 October, once we know the outcome of the Council."
Johnson is demanding that the EU reopens the Brexit agreement, which European leaders have been reluctant to do.

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First Published: Aug 28 2019 | 10:08 PM IST

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