PM’s Commons suspension plan will drag Queen into political row, critics claim

Boris Johnson has been accused of acting like a "tin pot dictator" and mounting a "coup" after reports he is seeking an extended suspension of Parliament which could hamper MPs' efforts to block a no-deal Brexit.

The Prime Minister is said to be planning to temporarily shut down Parliament from September 11 ahead of a Queen's Speech on October 14.

The House of Commons is currently expected to resume sitting after its summer break on September 3 and Labour's Jeremy Corbyn and other opposition leaders have agreed to seek legislative changes to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

The Commons was expected to break again for the party conferences then return in early October after the Conservative gathering had finished, but reports suggest that Mr Johnson will seek to extend that break until the Queen opens a new session of Parliament.

That would mean suspension from around September 11 until October 14, giving MPs little time to use parliamentary procedures ahead of the October 31 Brexit day.

The process of suspending Parliament ahead of the state opening of a new session – known as prorogation – usually only lasts for a few days.

The reports sparked outrage from opponents of Mr Johnson's approach and led to claims the monarch was being dragged into a political row.

Tory MP Simon Hoare said: "This is not 'taking back control' it's certainly not respecting/restoring Parliamentary Sovereignty.

"Rather it's an executive seeking to abuse one of its (perfectly proper) powers."

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson posted: "This action is an utterly scandalous affront to our democracy. We cannot let this happen."

Senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper said: "Boris Johnson is trying to use the Queen to concentrate power in his own hands – this is a deeply dangerous and irresponsible way to govern."

And fellow Labour former cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw said: "This would be a coup, plain and simple, against our parliamentary democracy and drag the monarch into an unprecedented constitutional crisis."

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, who was one of the MPs at a meeting with Mr Corbyn on Tuesday to agree tactics to prevent a no-deal Brexit, said the Prime Minister was embarking on a "dangerous and unacceptable course of action".

She said: "Shutting down Parliament would be an act of cowardice from Boris Johnson.

"He knows the people would not choose a no deal and that elected representatives wouldn't allow it. He is trying to stifle their voices."

Lib Dem MP Sarah Wollaston – a former Tory – said: "Johnson behaving like a tin pot dictator.

"Time for ministers to resign and Conservative MPs to cross the floor rather than be tainted with this outrage."

But Conservative Party chairman James Cleverly played down the row, responding the reports by saying: "Or to put it another way: Government to hold a Queen's Speech, just as all new Governments do."

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