September 09, 2019 22:47:21

The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has confirmed it will suspend the UK Parliament until October 14.

Key points:

  • Mr Johnson had previously say he would shut down Parliament
  • The move has been dubbed a “coup” by opponents Mr Johnson
  • Suspending Parliament will limit opposing MPs’ abilities to block Mr Johnson’s plans for Brexit

Mr Johnson’s spokesman James Slack said Parliament will be prorogued at the close of the day’s business on Monday evening (local time).

Mr Johnson has said he will take Britain out of the European Union on October 31 even without a deal, but Parliament has passed a bill that would force him to seek a delay from the EU if no deal has been agreed.

He had previously said he would send British MPs home sometime this week.

The suspension limits Parliament’s ability to block Mr Johnson’s plans for Brexit.

MPs are trying to stop a no-deal Brexit, and some have branded the suspension a “coup”.

It is being challenged in court by opponents who say the suspension is anti-democratic and illegal.

The Prime Minister will not sanction any more delays to Brexit, Mr Slack said, and MPs should vote for a snap election which Mr Johnson would call for later on Monday to resolve the issue.

Backstop issue unresolved

During a press conference with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin, Mr Johnson did not explain how the longstanding Brexit stalemate could be broken in a way that satisfies the other 27 EU leaders and would win backing in Britain’s Parliament, where his party no longer has a working majority.

Mr Johnson said a deal on the Irish border question could be secured in time to enable a smooth divorce from the EU.

Mr Varadkar said Britain had not produced any realistic alternatives to the controversial “backstop” agreement reached by Mr Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May.

Opposition to the backstop was a key reason why Britain’s Parliament rejected Mrs May’s Brexit deal with the EU on three occasions earlier this year.

The backstop, which has emerged as the main stumbling block to an agreement, is intended to make sure that no hard border is put up between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK.

Mr Varadkar said a no-deal departure would cause severe economic problems for Ireland now that border checks have been eliminated for an extended period of time.

He said the EU does not want another extension of the October 31 deadline but is willing to consider one if it is requested.

The Irish leader said more negotiations are needed and that the Good Friday peace agreement, which states that no hard border is re-imposed on the island of Ireland, must be respected.

Boris hoping for a better week

Mr Johnson’s political position in Britain has been weakened over the past week, with the loss of his Conservative Party’s working majority in Parliament and the departure of some key party figures who sided with the opposition in key votes.

He plans to press Parliament to back his plan for an early election, with the hope of winning a majority that would back his Brexit strategy, but opposition parties have said they will vote the measure down.

“There is a simple way for MPs to resolve this,” Mr Slack said.

“All they have to do is vote for an election today so the British public can decide whether they want to get Brexit done on the 31st of October.”

Mr Johnson has said he will not seek a delay despite the new bill that seeks to force him to do so.

His government is studying the bill for possible loopholes that might allow a legal challenge.