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John Bercow Erupts At Boris Johnson For Suspending Parliament
28 August 2019, 12:28 | Updated: 28 August 2019, 12:39
John Bercow has made his feelings about Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament known - and he's not happy.
The House of Commons speaker released a statement after news broke that Boris Johnson was asking the Queen to suspend Parliament - known as prorogation - from 9th September to the 14th October.
It would mean the Queen's Speech, which lays out the plans for the government and is usually held in November, would be forced to happen early.
It would also mean rebel MPs would lose vital days to pass laws in the House of Commons to pass laws preventing a no deal before the Halloween Brexit deadline.
However, the prime minister denied he called for the suspension due to Brexit, instead claiming it was so he could "get on with plans to take this country forward."
But Mr Bercow seemed less than impressed with this explanation, and called the move a "constitutional outrage".
In a statement he said: "However it is dressed up, it is blindingly obvious that the purpose of the prorogation now would be to stop Parliament debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country."
"At this time, one of the most challenging periods in our nation's history, it is vital that our elected Parliament has its say. After all, we live in a parliamentary democracy."
“Shutting down Parliament would be an offence against the democratic process and the rights of Parliamentarians as the people’s elected representatives.
“Surely at this early stage in his premiership, the Prime Minister should be seeking to establish rather than undermine his democratic credentials and indeed his commitment to Parliamentary democracy.
“My family and I are away on holiday and I will make no further comment at this stage.”
Mr Bercow also claimed he had received no contact from the government either before or after the controversial announcement.
Other politicians have also been reacting to this morning's announcement.
Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly downplayed the significance of the action, claiming the government was planning a Queen's Speech "just as all new governments do".
Or to put it another way:— James Cleverly MP (@JamesCleverly) August 28, 2019
Government to hold a Queen’s Speech, just as all new Governments do. https://t.co/fgKSmLdOzb
It would be a constitutional outrage if Parliament were prevented from holding the government to account at a time of national crisis. Profoundly undemocratic.— Philip Hammond (@PhilipHammondUK) August 28, 2019
So 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. https://t.co/68lFnEgiyr— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) August 28, 2019
We do not have a “new government.” This action is an utterly scandalous affront to our democracy. We cannot let this happen. https://t.co/93TBKCSWhk— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) August 28, 2019
The mother of all Parliaments and the democratic model proudly emulated all over the globe is not about to slide into a dictatorship. Never, never, never. https://t.co/NkjOd55zCX— Heidi Allen MP (@heidiallen75) August 28, 2019
But others have described the decision to suspend parliament as an "affront to democracy" and warned this could be disastrous for Mr Johnson's premiership.
Tory MP and Remain campaigner Dominic Grieve called the prorogation an "outrageous act" and warned it could "bring the government down."
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon called it a "dark day for democracy".
The First Minister of Scotland tweeted: "So 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."
Liberal Democrat MP Chuka Umunna, who supports a second EU referendum, accused Mr Johnson of "behaving like a tin-pot dictator" by proroguing parliament.
According to reports, only a handful of government ministers were aware of the move before the announcement, meaning it is likely to cause some friction within the party.