Boris Johnson accused of ‘going rogue’ in threatening to suspend UK Parliament

Written by Martin Banks on 3 September 2019 in News
News

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of “going rogue” in threatening to suspend the British Parliament and de-select Tory MPs who vote against the government for a no-deal Brexit.

Boris Johnson  | Photo credit: Press Association


Johnson also said on Monday there would be “no circumstances” under which he would request a Brexit delay from the EU.

“If there is one thing that can hold us back in these talks it is the sense in Brussels that MPs may find some way to cancel the referendum or that tomorrow MPs will vote with Jeremy Corbyn to get another pointless delay,” he said, delivering a statement outside No. 10 Downing Street.

As Brexit developments went into overdrive, a cross-party group of MPs also published a draft bill that would force the Prime Minister to request a three-month extension to Brexit negotiations if a deal is not agreed between the EU and the UK by October’s European Council.


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Later on Tuesday, rebel MPs will apply to the Speaker of the House John Bercow for an emergency debate to be held later on the same day. If granted, the motion would include a measure which - if agreed in a vote - would allow MPs to take control of business on Wednesday.

Commenting on the latest dramatic moves, Molly Scott Cato, the Green MEP for the South West region, told this website, “The decision to prorogue Parliament is the most audacious power grab our country has seen since 1642 and a fundamental assault on parliamentary sovereignty.”

“It is now clear what Take Back Control meant: a constitutional coup by a dishonest and self-serving elite, hellbent on forcing through a damaging crash-out Brexit. There is no parliamentary mandate for this and it goes against the will of the majority of British people.”

Scott Cato, Green Party speaker on Brexit, added, “But it is important not to despair. This unprecedented move by the government reflects that there is now no way of making Brexit happen democratically.”

“This is a desperate government choosing an anti-democratic route to achieve a policy that is no longer popular in the country” Molly Scott Cato MEP

“This is a desperate government choosing an anti-democratic route to achieve a policy that is no longer popular in the country. The mandate for Brexit is now over three years old and has been found to be totally flawed, mired in lies and manipulative and illegal behaviour.”

“Now is the time for all of us to stand up for the democratic rights that were hard won through sacrifice and struggle. We must defend our representatives and support them in their work across Parliament to defend our democracy.”

“If that means occupying the chamber and refusing to be removed, then that is what our elected members must do. And we need to join them outside Parliament in a show of strength for democratic standards. It is time to hand back control to the people either through a People’s Vote or a general election,” said the deputy who was re-elected in May.

Further comment came from civil rights activist and former Labour MP Roger Casale who accused the UK government of “turning rogue.”

He told this website, “Whether Britain adopts a hard or a soft Brexit or no Brexit may be a matter for the UK but shutting down democracy and ignoring the rule of law should be a matter of European and international concern.”

Speaking at Europe House in Vienna, at a meeting organised by New Europeans and the European Future Forum on "The Future of Europe" in the shadow of Brexit, Casale said, "We have now reached a really critical juncture in the UK and it is time for the EU to make clear that it cannot negotiate with a government that is unable to confirm that it respects the rule of law.”

“When the UK last asked for an extension, Donald Tusk rightly insisted that European elections were held in the UK. The EU should make conditions again now. Democracy, human rights and the rule of law are fundamental tenets of the EU and a Member State that flouts these principles should be sanctioned."

“Whether Britain adopts a hard or a soft Brexit or no Brexit may be a matter for the UK but shutting down democracy and ignoring the rule of law should be a matter of European and international concern” Former Labour MP Roger Casale

He said Boris Johnson shutting down Parliament was “designed to thwart MPs opposed to a no deal from legislating to prevent such an outcome.”

Two cabinet members, Michael Gove and Gavin Williamson, have refused to confirm that the government will respect such a law if it reaches the statute book prior to prorogation.

Johnson has also threatened to sack MPs (removing the party whip) who vote for such a measure and have them de-selected as MPs.

Writing in Der Standard, Ernst Loeschner, one of the speakers at the event in Vienna, said, "We want to say to the British people, please think again. We are Europeans, we belong together."

Together with the social media platform WeMove.org, Loeschner has set up a petition to gather support from Europeans in the face of the current crisis and “show solidarity with all those in the UK who are fighting to stop a no-deal Brexit.”

Casale said, "It is very important that we mobilise support across Europe to challenge what is happening in the UK. The EU is the place we as citizens can go when our governments turn rogue.”

He added, “While the UK is still a member of the EU we look to the EU institutions to guarantee our rights and freedoms as citizens, protect our democracy and ensure that the UK government respects the rule of law."

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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