Labour, court petitions, millions try to stop Boris Johnson’s Brexit

Labour, court petitions, millions try to stop Boris Johnson’s Brexit

His opponents can claim-with validity-that Johnson is trying to clip the wings of Parliament, to make it less likely that dually elected lawmakers can have their say.

While most ministers avoided comment on the suspension of the British parliament, saying it was an internal matter, Austria's Alexander Schallenberg said when asked if a hard Brexit was more likely because of the move: "I fear so, yes".

The other option to stop a no-deal Brexit is a no-confidence vote to bring down the government.

In an increasingly fractured party system, this could be enough to win a snap election that is widely expected after Britain leaves. In has come Boris Johnson with energy, verve and a penchant for ruthlessness when it comes to achieving his goals. The leader of the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, said Johnson was denying people their voice through their representatives in Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit. It has however, been unable to find a majority for any other Brexit plan.

Cheered on by U.S President Donald Trump, Johnson launched his boldest move yet to take the country out of the European Union by Oct 31 with or without a divorce deal, by setting a new date for a state opening of parliament.

"You're inviting the court to develop ideas about the sovereignty and supremacy of parliament and to apply it to mean that Parliament must be able to sit for the next two months", said George Peretz, a public law attorney, who regularly represents the government.

But while Mr. Johnson's hardball tactics strain political propriety, they're not quite the nuclear option that some had feared - though they may still intensify a political crisis ahead of October 31, the current deadline for Britain to leave the European Union. An extension of the October 31 deadline, a second referendum and other scenarios were also on the table.

The leader of the SNP in Westminster, Ian Blackford, accused Mr Johnson of "acting like a dictator", while First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said he wanted to "close the doors" on democracy.

Outrage ensued from all corners.

Former Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond called it "profoundly undemocratic".

Guto Bebb, one of the handful of Conservatives who has backed the People's Vote campaign, said: "As Conservatives we prize loyalty". A petition calling for the cancellation of the suspension has rocketed passed 1.5 million signatures. Parliament is normally suspended before a so-called Queen's Speech, usually by about a week.

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Johnson's government insists that what they are doing is normal and that it is business as usual.

However we are of the strong opinion that legislating to prevent a "no deal" Brexit can only offer limited support for Sterling simply because preventing "no deal" is not in itself a solution to the current political impasse.

The Financial Times predicted further political problems for the moves against Johnson, because a vote of no confidence "would need about eight Tory MPs to think the virtually unthinkable and vote down their own government, with the potential outcome of a quasi-Marxist Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn".

The uproar over his parliament gag could force a general election, creating fresh uncertainty on how or if Brexit will happen.

What to make of this most recent twist in the Brexit drama?

Proroguing Parliament is not unheard of - it happens most years. There has not been such an address since 2017, which is an unusually long period and a sign of just how much Brexit has derailed the usual processes of British politics.

Johnson's supporters say the suspension is only an extra few days, since Parliament was going to be on hold for party conferences anyway.

We believe that with a sympathetic speaker - which John Bercow is - MPs would push the envelope on what is constitutionally possible in order to deny the Prime Minister the option of walking away from the European Union without a deal.

Now they may not get the chance, as a result of Johnson's actions, and the queen's. A legal case is proceeding in the Scottish courts, brought by the Scottish National Party's (SNP) justice spokeswoman, Joanna Cherry, and backed by around 70 MPs.

In a sign of the pressure building across the political system, media reports said Ruth Davidson, who led a resurgence for the Conservatives in Scotland, had chose to quit.

What the country needs now are acts of courage allowing for the Brexit wounds to heal, not more incendiary rhetoric.