Johnson condemned for efforts to bypass MPs over Brexit
The European Parliament’s Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, has called UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement to suspend parliament “sinister” and accused the new executive, that appears to lack a parliamentary majority, of trying to suppress debate.
Verhofstadt offered his solidarity to British MPs who Johnson says he hopes to lock out of parliament as the October 31 Brexit deadline looms.
“’Taking back control’ has never looked so sinister. As a fellow parliamentarian, my solidarity with those fighting for their voices to be heard,” Verhofstadt said.
“Suppressing debate on profound choices is unlikely to help deliver a stable future EU-UK relationship.”
Sterling has lost 7.5 per cent of its value over the last five months, as a no-deal Brexit has looked more likely with Johnson’s victory in the Conservative leadership race.
The pound was worth US$1.32 in mid-March when Brexit was clearly going to be delayed and is now 10 cents lower.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has written to the Queen to express his concerns about Johnson’s plans, requesting a meeting with the monarch and her privy counsellors, which includes senior government figures and Corbyn, himself, as the opposition leader. However, the monarch has already approved Johnson’s request.
Pro-EU Speaker John Bercow, despite the requirement for the role to be apolitical, has described Johnson’s move, which would make it harder for parliament to stop a hard Brexit, as “an offence against the democratic process” and a “constitutional outrage”.
The European Commission said it was a domestic issue.
Under Johnson’s plan parliament would be closed for 23 days until October 14. MPs have been told they cannot block “prorogation”, although that term refers to a constitutional move approved by the Queen.
More than 1,100,000 people have signed a petition in the last 12 hours against Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament.
The “Do not prorogue Parliament” petition will now be considered for a parliamentary debate.
The petition says: “Parliament must not be prorogued or dissolved unless and until the Article 50 period has been sufficiently extended or the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU has been cancelled.”
Any official petition that secures 10,000 signatures is guaranteed a response and 100,000 names will be considered for a debate. Pro-Brexit petitions have often failed to generate considerable interest.
The Brexit crisis is coming to a climax. Picture credit: Eurasia Times