Boris Johnson claims parliament 'has outlived its usefulness'

PUBLISHED: 13:42 25 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:14 27 October 2019

Boris Johnson delivers a speech in front of police officers in West Yorkshire. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA.

Boris Johnson delivers a speech in front of police officers in West Yorkshire. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Eyebrows have been raised after Boris Johnson claimed that parliament had 'outlived its usefulness' as he called for MPs to back a general election.

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In an interview with the BBC, Johnson said he would try to push ahead with a public poll regardless of whether the opposition backed it or not.

He explained: "It would be clear if Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party refuse to go ahead with this deal, and do not accept either that Brexit can be done, refuse to accept there should be more time to deliberate Brexit, because that's what they've been saying, and refuse to accept there has to be a general election.

"Then what is the purpose that they think they are serving in parliament?

"What we would do, we would campaign day after day after day for the people of this country to be released from subjection of a parliament that has outlived its usefulness."

He continued: "It's fulfilled its function and refusing to get Brexit done. It's refusing to advance any of the fantastic One Nation agenda that we set out in the Queen's Speech."

He added: "It is time frankly for this parliament to make way for a fresh parliament that can deliver on the priorities of the British people".

But those very words about outliving its 'usefulness' have alarmed those that have compared the words to those of a dictator, after the FT quoted the line in an interview.

Robert Harris tweeted a photograph of their story, writing: "Appalling fascistic remark for a British PM to make, especially one not even chosen by the electorate."

Graeme Law responded: "All sounds like UK is getting closer to a dictatorship it's so abhorrently disgusting."

"'Parliament has outlived its usefulness' is pretty horrifying," wrote Sidney Lotterby. "Be very concerned when a leader says that, it is designed to facilitate the dissolution if our governance, often permanently. Johnson would do that, given the chance."

Arun Joshi said: "The worst dictators in history started with greater democratic legitimacy."

But Tim Johnson took a differing view. He said: "He's trying desperately to be chosen by the electorate! Calling for elections isn't usually seen as an anti-democratic move…"

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