The Brexit plot thickens: The Queen suspends Parliament

The Brexit plot thickens: The Queen suspends Parliament

Yesterday morning three Conservative members of the Queen's Privy Council visited Her Majesty’s Scottish residence, Balmoral.

Their mission: deliver the prime minister’s request to suspend Parliament.

The Queen acquiesced, allowing the government to suspend Parliament no earlier than Monday 9 September and no later than Thursday 12 September, until Monday 14 October.

Prime Minister Johnson said a Queen's Speech would take place after the suspension to outline his "very exciting agenda".

Of course, all of this would be unremarkable were it not for the timing…

Prorogation (ie. suspension of Parliament) is, in the words of Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg, a "completely proper constitutional procedure"; Parliament is normally prorogued by the Queen, on the advice of the prime minister, for a short period before a new session begins.

But generally more briefly, and rarely, if ever, at such a constitutionally charged time.

Herein lies the controversy.

If this prorogation happens as expected, it will see Parliament closed for 23 working days, cutting short the time MPs have to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said it was a "constitutional outrage".

"However it is dressed up, it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of [suspending Parliament] now would be to stop [MPs] debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country."

The Prime Minister said allegations that the suspension was part of a move to force through a no deal were "completely untrue".

"We need new legislation. We've got to be bringing forward new and important bills and that's why we are going to have a Queen's Speech.”

But the move has been met with anger across the political spectrum.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn vowed his first course of action when MPs return to the Commons next Tuesday will be to "attempt legislation to prevent what [the PM] is doing", followed by a vote of no confidence "at some point".

Last night hundreds of protesters gathered in Westminster chanting "stop the coup" and carrying anti-Brexit placards and EU flags.

They indicated it was only the beginning, with more demonstrations to come.