As of yesterday, Boris Johnson’s request to suspend Parliament from 9-12th of September until the 14th of October, has been approved by the Queen.
To the uninformed, the suspension of parliament is a normal event occurring after the appointment of a new government. The suspension allows for a Queen’s speech to outline the new laws that her new government intends to carry out. Before this suspension, the country had been in the longest parliamentary session since the English Civil War. Therefore, a suspension was well overdue. However, it is the timing that has caused controversy. The timing to suspend Parliament just before the country’s set date to leave the EU on October 31st is the problem.
A suspension of Parliament at this time will result in MPs having limited time to discuss plans to block the chances of a no-deal Brexit. Essentially, Johnson is preventing the opposing members of Parliament from stopping his plans for a speedy no-deal Brexit. Despite Johnson’s denial of this being the case, the timing of the suspension is highly strategic. Bercow, House of Commons speaker called this a ‘constitutional outrage’. Corbyn, Labour leader, made claims that Johnson’s suspension of Parliament aims to, ‘avoid scrutiny of (his) plans for a reckless no deal Brexit’. Regardless of Johnson’s dismissal of these claims, it is very clear that other members within Parliament are outraged by his actions.
To those who are still confused, the reasoning as to why Johnson’s actions are heavily problematic is this: MPs are representations of their constituency. MPs are elected to speak on behalf of the people. Therefore, the prevention of their say in the significant political matter that is Brexit, becomes a prevention of the people’s voice. To restrict MPs from having ample time to challenge the chances of a no-deal Brexit, removes the element of ‘democracy’ our country holds so dear.
In our current politically unstable period where the last two British Prime Ministers were not elected by the general public, but instead appointed by the Conservative Party; the members of Parliament are the remaining democratically elected individuals whose actions reflect the views of the majority of the people. Therefore, prevention of action in accordance with the will of the people means, the unelected new Prime Minister has been given permission by the unelected Queen to suspend the meeting of the elected members of Parliament. A true death to our democracy.
The Brexit referendum was held on the 26th of June 2016 where 51.9 per cent of the voting public chose to leave the EU. However, since then, the British public has had no say in the nature of the Brexit we voted for. Hard Brexiters, like Johnson, labelled the people’s call for a second referendum as unconstitutional and a destruction of democracy. However, two years later and, Johnson himself is the spearhead of a movement which completely annihilates the same democracy he claimed to value so highly.
As it stands, various party leaders opposed to the notion of a no-deal Brexit, are set to put forward a vote of no confidence towards Johnson, potentially triggering another election as soon as the new parliamentary session begins. Johnson’s actions have done the opposite of what he intended. The assurance to unify the country and remove our current period of uncertainty appears to be backfiring. Britain is split over the suspension and the chances of a risky no-deal Brexit.
Parliament cannot be left out of one of the biggest issues this country has faced. Brexit has been on the forefront of our politics and news. It is appalling to shut Parliament out at such a critical time. If parliamentary sovereignty is not upheld and respected, the British democratic model will die, and it will do so at the hands of an unelected prime minister.