It is more likely than ever before that the UK will crash out of the European Union without following British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that he will go ahead with plans to prorogue – or suspend – the activities of the country’s Parliament for five weeks from 9 September. “Suspending Parliament is basically the suspension of democracy and the voice of the people. Nothing less than an anti-democratic power-grab,” commented Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld who also suggested that Johnson’s move to side-line MPs now made the “taking back control” slogan sound “quite sinister”. In the meantime, social media users are urging workers across the UK to undertake a general strike in a desperate bid to stop Johnson from suspending the British Parliament.
#StopTheCoup was one of the UK’s top Twitter trends yesterday (28 August) as outrage spread over Johnson’s plan to suspend the House of Commons from sitting until it is too late for opposition leaders to block a “no-deal” withdrawal from the EU. It is “an outrage and a threat to our democracy”, said opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is reportedly seeking a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II to raise his concerns. “I am appalled at the recklessness of Johnson’s government, which talks about sovereignty and yet is seeking to suspend parliament to avoid scrutiny of its plans for a reckless no-deal Brexit. This is an outrage and a threat to our democracy.”
MPs are due to return to work after their summer holidays next Tuesday, but the parliamentary session wi ll be suspended on a day between 9 September and 12 September, the Privy Council – a group of advisers to the queen – has confirmed. Many economists, politicians and experts agree a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for the UK economy and its global standing. Meanwhile in Brussels, the head of the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, Guy Verhofstadt, hit out at Johnson’s decision, saying that “suppressing debate on profound choices is unlikely to help deliver a stable future EU-UK relationship. As a fellow parliamentarian, my solidarity is with those fighting for their voices to be heard.”