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Boris Johnson to Suspend UK Parliament from Oct 8, Weeks after Previous Attempt Was Ruled Illegal

The parliament is set to be prorogued for the shortest time possible to enable all the necessary logistical preparations for Queen Elizabeth II to outline the government's new legislative programme, said a statement from his office.

AFP

Updated:October 3, 2019, 7:35 AM IST
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Boris Johnson to Suspend UK Parliament from Oct 8, Weeks after Previous Attempt Was Ruled Illegal
Houses of the Parliament in London. (Reuters)

London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson intends to ask for parliament to be suspended from October 8 to 14, his Downing Street office said on Wednesday, after a previous attempt was ruled unlawful.

"These timings would mean parliament is prorogued for the shortest time possible to enable all the necessary logistical preparations" for Queen Elizabeth II to outline the government's new legislative programme, it said in a statement.

Johnson previously advised the monarch to suspend, or prorogue, parliament from September 10 to October 14.

Pro-European lawmakers were outraged and saw the move as an attempt to stifle democratic debate on Britain's pending departure from the European Union on October 31.

Following legal challenges in England and Scotland, the Supreme Court judged Johnson's advice to the monarch was unlawful, and deemed the lengthy prorogation frustrated parliament's constitutional functions. Britain's highest court quashed the prorogation, and parliament resumed on September 25.

In a nation without a written constitution, the case marked a rare confrontation between the prime minister, the courts and Parliament over their rights and responsibilities. It revolved around whether Johnson had acted lawfully when he advised the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks during a crucial time frame before the October 31 Brexit deadline when Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union.

The court had rejected the government's assertions that the decision to suspend Parliament until October 14 was routine and not related to Brexit. It claimed that under Britain's unwritten constitution, it is a matter for politicians, not courts, to decide.

Johnson earlier this week also reportedly apologised to Queen Elizabeth II over the Supreme Court verdict.

The move would mean parliament is suspended after the close of business on Tuesday and then miss just two sitting days, on October 9 and 10.

Johnson, who took office in July, needs a new suspension if he is to outline his legislative programme for the next session of parliament.

"I want to deliver on the people's priorities," he said. "Through a Queen's Speech, the government will set out its plans for the NHS (National Health Service), schools, tackling crime, investing in infrastructure and building a strong economy. We will get Brexit done on October 31 and continue delivering on these vital issues."

Johnson on Wednesday made a Brexit offer to the EU but said that if Brussels does not engage then Britain would leave on October 31 without a deal.

"We are coming out of the EU on October 31, come what may," Johnson told party members, after expressing "love" for Europe in a speech which focused mostly on domestic issues such as health, the economy and crime.

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