Boris Johnson Asks Queen Elizabeth To Suspend Parliament Ahead Of Brexit

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson waits for the arrival of US Secretary of State John Kerry for a meeting on the situation in Syria at Lancaster House on October 16, 2016 in London, England.
Justin Tallis / Getty Images

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has asked Queen Elizabeth II to suspend parliament for five weeks beginning in mid-September, reported The Guardian.

The queen agreed to the request to suspend parliament after three conservative members of the Queen’s Privy Council took the request to her Scottish residence in Balmoral on Wednesday morning to ask for her approval.

The decision to suspend parliament is aimed at shortening the time MPs have to introduce legislation to try and prevent a no-deal Brexit, which is not in line with the prime minister’s objectives. Originally, the MPs had until October 31 to attempt to stop a no-deal Brexit.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow commented on the suspension, calling it a “constitutional outrage,” reported The BBC.

“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.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn shares in Bercow’s outrage.

“Suspending Parliament is not acceptable, it is not on. What the prime minister is doing is a smash and grab on our democracy to force through a no deal.”

When MPs return to The Commons next Tuesday, Corbyn says they will immediately attempt legislation to prevent what Johnson is doing, followed by a vote of no confidence at some point.

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Johnson has negated the claims that the suspension was motivated by a desire to force through a no-deal, stating that he did not want to wait until after Brexit “before getting on with our plans to take this country forward” and that there would be time for the MPs to debate the U.K.’s departure from the E.U. after.

In legal terms, shutting down parliament is known as prorogation and happens after the prime minister advises the queen to do it. The controversy surrounding the shutdown in this case is that it will reduce the MPs’ ability to fully play their democratic part in the Brexit process.

While high-profile figures are attempting to launch a legal process to protest the shutdown, this may be challenging due to the queen’s right to exercise her personal prerogative powers. However, a judicial review could be carried out to determine if the prime minister’s advice to the queen was lawful.

The British Parliament is determined to be suspended no sooner than Monday, September 9, and no later than Thursday, September 12, ending on Monday, October 14.