Sturgeon laments ‘dark day for democracy’

Nicola Sturgeon has said it will be a dark day for democracy if Boris Johnson is not stopped from suspending Parliament.

Writing on Twitter, Scotland’s First Minister also challenged the Prime Minister to call a General Election before the October 31 Brexit deadline.

Parliament will be temporarily shut down from around September 11 until the state opening on October 14 under the PM’s plan.

It would leave just a matter of weeks before the UK is set to leave the EU and means there would be little time for any legislation to be passed by opposition MPs in the House of Commons to stop a no-deal.

“So it seems that Boris Johnson may actually be about to shut down Parliament to force through a no deal Brexit,” Ms Sturgeon tweeted.

“Unless MPs come together to stop him next week, today will go down in history as a dark one indeed for UK democracy.

“Given her past statements opposing a no deal Brexit, it would be good to have confirmation from Ruth Davidson today that all Scots Tory MPs will back the cross party effort next week to stop it – and that they will also oppose Boris Johnson’s attempt to shut down Parliament.”

Following a surprise announcement on Tuesday that Chancellor Sajid Javid will set out Whitehall spending budgets next week, speculation was also fuelled there could be a snap General Election.

Ms Sturgeon told Boris Johnson to call one before the end of October.

The First Minister tweeted: “Bring it on. Have the courage of your convictions, Boris Johnson.

“Call an election now – with polling day before Oct 31 – and let the people vote. Or are you frit?”

It was also announced on Wednesday that petitioners who launched legal action to stop Boris Johnson from suspending Parliament are considering the option of pursuing an emergency ruling from the courts.

A cross-party group of more than 70 MPs and peers has indicated it will now consider seeking an interim interdict – similar to an injunction in England and Wales – at the Court of Session in Edinburgh to block prorogation, with a hearing currently scheduled for September 6.

Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray, one of the petitioners, said: “Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend Parliament is an assault on our democracy.

“This is the people’s Parliament and the people deserve to have their representatives in Parliament during this vital period. This is the opposite of taking back control.

“Legal action to prevent the Prime Minister suspending Parliament has already been fast-tracked through the courts and the legal team will now consider the appropriate next steps, including seeking interim orders.”

Ruth Davidson on no deal Brexit
Ruth Davidson has been urged to oppose the Prime Minister’s move (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie urged Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson to condemn the move by Mr Johnson.

“This is an Eton coup and a democratic outrage,” he said.

“I hope that Ruth Davidson will join the chorus of condemnation that this decision deserves and confirm that Scottish Conservatives will oppose any measures to prevent parliament having its say.

“This process began with a democratic vote, it must not end with a behind closed doors stitch up.”

Scottish Greens co-Leader Patrick Harvie said: “Boris Johnson led a Leave campaign which cheated and broke the law to win.

“It’s no surprise that now he’s the Prime Minister he is continuing his assault against democracy.

“If we need to ‘take back control’ from anyone, we need to take it back from him.

“The people of Scotland are used to the UK Government treating them with contempt but this move by Johnson takes this contempt to a whole new level and reinforces the need for the people to have a say over the future direction of our country.”

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