LONDON - The government is expected to suspend parliament from mid-September, meaning MPs have a limited time to stop a no-deal Brexit, the BBC reports.
Political editor Laura Kuenssberg this morning tweeted that a suspension will pave the way for Boris Johnson’s new administration to hold a Queen’s Speech – laying out the government’s future plans – on 14 October.
The House of Commons is currently expected to resume sitting after its summer break on 3 September. But if parliament is suspended until October it means MPs are unlikely to have time to pass any laws that could stop the prime minister taking the UK out of the EU without a deal on 31 October.
A Number 10 source said: ‘It’s time a new government and new PM set out a plan for the country after we leave the EU.’ A plan to re-open parliament with a Queen’s Speech on 14 October will be confirmed by the Privy Council at Balmoral today.
A government source told Sky News the move was ‘about getting on with Mr Johnson’s domestic agenda’.
In response to the news, Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: ‘So it seems that Boris Johnson may actually be about to shut down Parliament to force through a no deal Brexit. ‘Unless MPs come together to stop him next week, today will go down in history as a dark one indeed for UK democracy.’
Independent Group for Change MP Chris Leslie wrote on Twitter: ‘If true, this undemocratic manoeuvre to try and shut down Parliament must be fought every step of the way.
‘How totally underhanded of Boris Johnson to make the Queen sign off on this plot it in a secret ceremony up in Balmoral. ‘The House of Commons must assemble and veto this.’
On Tuesday, cross party MPs signed a declaration saying they will continue to meet as an alternative House of Commons if Prime Minister Boris Johnson temporarily shuts down Parliament to get a no-deal.
Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly tweeted: ‘Or to put it another way: Government to hold a Queen’s Speech, just as all new Governments do.’
But Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson said: ‘We do not have a ‘new government’. This action is an utterly scandalous affront to our democracy. We cannot let this happen.’
Green MP Caroline Lucas said it was ‘the act of a cowardly Prime Minister who knows his reckless No Deal Brexit will never gain the support of MPs’.
The news comes a day after 160 MPs from across the political divide came together to sign a declaration to stop a no-deal Brexit using ‘whatever mechanism possible’.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and other opposition leaders agreed to seek legislative changes to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made it clear that he intends for the UK to leave the EU on October 31 this year, come what may, ‘deal or no deal’.
MPs will be returning to Parliament following the summer recess next Tuesday. They will have only a few weeks within which to meet and sit in Parliament in September and October, given that the annual autumn party conference season takes place in the autumn.
That gives MPs who opposed a no-deal limited time within which to act, before the Brexit deadline of October 31.
The most obvious way to stop a no-deal would be for an agreement to be struck between the government and the EU. However, the Institute for Government (IfG) has said in its Voting on Brexit paper, that it is ‘very unlikely’ the UK will be able to leave the EU with a deal on October 31.
The issue of the Irish backstop remains a major stumbling block, with little progress being made on the matter thus far.
There is also the issue of a lack of time to implement any deal which could potentially be secured.
MPs can vote against a no-deal, but that on its own would not require the Government to act, nor would it change the law. Even if MPs try to seize control of the order, as previously attempted, there would be limited chances of success. There are limited opportunities for backbenchers to seize control of the order, as previously attempted, even if this move was facilitated by Commons Speaker John Bercow.
Jeremy Corbyn has been very vocal about holding a vote of no confidence in the government when Parliament returns. However, a vote of no-confidence, even it were successful, is not enough to stop a no-deal.
An emergency government of national unity, would have to be formed, yet MPs are divided over who should manage and lead the process, with some suggesting that the father of the house, Ken Clarke should lead it, while others have suggested the Labour mother of the house, Harriet Harman.
It’s been hinted that Boris Johnson could call an early election, in order to secure a mandate for a no-deal Brexit. Yet there is little time to hold a general election before October 31.
Many of those supporting remain have suggested holding a second referendum, however support for such an option is unlikely, given that the option failed to secure a parliamentary majority during the indicative votes process earlier this year.
Such a scenario could also only happen with Government support through legislation. Yet the Government’s position is clear: to pursue Brexit and leave the EU on October 31 following the referendum decision in 2016. (FA)