Government plans Queen’s Speech in October after controversial parliament prorogation

Written by Kevin Schofield and John Johnston on 28 August 2019 in News
News

Johnson insists move would still leave "ample" time for Brexit debate, but decision criticised by Commons speaker as a constitutional outrage.

Photo: PA

Boris Johnson is to ask the Queen to suspend parliament for more than a month from 9 September in a move that could limit efforts by MPs to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Under the prime minister’s plan, parliament would be “prorogued” from 9 September until 14 October, when the monarch will deliver a Queen’s Speech setting out the government’s legislative plans.

The move, set to be confirmed by the Privy Council on Wednesday, would reduce the time available for MPs to pass any new laws aimed at stopping a no-deal Brexit before 31 October.


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It will also further increase speculation that Johnson is planning a snap election.

The move comes after a group of opposition MPs led by Jeremy Corbyn agreed a shared approach intended to stop a no-deal Brexit if no new deal has been reached by the 31 October deadline.

Johnson insisted that the move to hold a Queen's Speech on 14 October setting out the government's legislative programme would still give MPs "ample" time to debate Brexit before the UK is due to leave the EU.

"And this is a new government with a very exciting agenda to take our streets safer. It is very important we bring violent crime down. We need to invest in our fantastic NHS, we need to level up education funding across the country, and we need to invest in the infrastructure that is going to take this country forward. And we need to deal with the cost of living, moving to a high-wage, high-productivity economy which is what I think this country needs to be.

"And to do that, we need new legislation. We have got to be bringing forward new and important bills. And that is why we are going to have a Queen's Speech, and we are going to do it on 14 October. We have got to move ahead with a new legislative programme."

Under the PM's plan, parliament will reconvene just three days before a EU summit that would be the last chance to secure a new Brexit deal.

Asked whether his real intention was to limit the options of anti-Brexit MPs, the prime minister said: "There will be ample time on both sides of that crucial October 17th summit, ample time, for MPs to debate the EU, to debate Brexit and all the other issues. Ample time.

"All you need to take from this is we are doing exactly what I said on the steps of Downing Street, which is that we must get on now with our legislative, domestic agenda.

"We need to get on with the stuff that parliament needs to approve on tackling crime, on building the technology we need, on levelling up our education, and reducing the cost of living. That is why we need a Queen's Speech and we are going to get on with it."

However, House of Commons speaker John Bercow has led the criticism of Johnson's move for a prorogation of the Commons, describing it as a "constitutional outrage".

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon, said: "It seems that Boris Johnson may actually be about to shut down parliament to force through a no deal Brexit.

"Unless MPs come together to stop him next week, today will go down in history as a dark one indeed for UK democracy."

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Kevin Schofield and John Johnston
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Peter Bennet

Submitted on 28 August, 2019 - 22:02
So Parliament voted to make the Art 50 notification which set out a default leaving date. Parliament voted to enact the Withdrawal Act which says we will leave on "exit day". Parliament did not vote against the SI to change exit day to 31 October. Parliament 3 times voted against the withdrawal agreement agreed between the Government and the EU. Seems to me Parliament has already decided we should leave on 31st October.

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