Boris Johnson seeks advice on shutting down parliament for five weeks ahead of Brexit deadline

Boris Johnson delivers his maiden speech as prime minister. Photograph: PARLIAMENT TV.

Boris Johnson delivers his maiden speech as prime minister. Photograph: PARLIAMENT TV. - Credit: Archant

The prime minister has reportedly taken legal advice from the attorney general Geoffrey Cox about temporarily shutting down parliament - known as prorogation - for five weeks.

Boris Johnson has asked Geoffrey Cox whether parliament can be shut down from 9th September, The Observer reports based on a leaked email.

The move would allow for a Queen's Speech, starting a new parliamentary session, on October 14.

It would keep MPs away from the Commons until shortly before the European Council summit of EU leaders on October 17, potentially preventing moves to block a no-deal Brexit.

Sent within the last 10 days, the email from a senior government adviser to Boris Johnson's office claim that he had recently request guidance on the legality of such a move.

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The newspaper says that the advice given is that closing parliament could be possible, unless the courts side with anti-Brexit campaigners to block the move.

Government sources said Number 10 officials ask for legal and policy advice every day.

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But a source added: "The claim that the government is considering proroguing parliament in September in order to stop MPs debating Brexit is entirely false."

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: "To suspend parliament at this crucial time is outrageous. MPs must take the earliest opportunity to take Johnson on and defeat him."

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