Reports: Government to ask Queen to suspend parliament

PUBLISHED: 09:22 28 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:49 28 August 2019

Houses of Parliament. Photo: PA / Tim Ireland

Houses of Parliament. Photo: PA / Tim Ireland

PA Wire/PA Images

The government is expected to prorogue parliament from September 9, according to a BBC report.

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It would significantly lessen MPs' ability to prevent a no-deal Brexit, as parliament is due to sit after summer recess on September 3.

The move comes after around 160 Remainer MPs met and signed an agreement committing to do "whatever is necessary" to stop the prorogation in order to stop a forced no-deal Brexit.

MORE: Remainer MPs defy Johnson and commit to 'whatever is necessary' to stop prorogation for no deal

Government figures are reportedly on their way to Balmoral to address their request to the Queen.

The BBC's political editor Laura Kuenssberg said that the government plans to hold the Queen's Speech on October 14, which then allows Johnson to prioritise parliamentary time for new government business - and not for stopping no deal.

"There is going to be [a] HUGE row," she tweeted, adding that only a "tiny handful" of cabinet ministers knew about the reported move.

Remain MPs have slammed the idea.

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson tweeted: "We do not have a 'new government'. This action is an utterly scandalous affront to our democracy. We cannot let this happen."

"Shutting down Parliament would be an act of cowardice from Boris Johnson. He knows the people would not choose a No Deal and that elected representatives wouldn't allow it. He is trying to stifle their voices.

Liberal Democrats Brexit spokesman Tom Brake tweeted: "If BBC News are correct Boris Johnson's just thrown down the gauntlet to parliamentary democracy.

"The mother of all parliaments will not allow him to shut the People's Parliament out of the biggest decision facing our country.

"His declaration of war will be met with an iron fist."

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas took to Twitter to call it "the act of a cowardly prime minister who knows his reckless no-deal Brexit will never gain the support of MPs".

She added that it is "a constitutional outrage which parliament and the people will oppose".

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."

Remain campaigners called on the Queen to refuse to grant the request. "It would make no sense for the Queen to back this deeply undemocratic, unconstitutional and fundamentally political manoeuvre from the government," said Best for Britain CEO Naomi Smith.

"If the Queen is asked to help, she would do well to remember history doesn't look too kindly on royals who aid and abet the suspension of democracy."

Brexiteer MP James Cleverly denied the move was in any way controversial. "Or to put it another way: Government to hold a Queen's Speech, just as all new governments do," he tweeted.

The BBC reports that the plan to hold the Queen's Speech on October 14 will be confirmed by the Privy Council at Balmoral today.

Updates to follow.

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