Chaos as UK parliament suspended

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 00:00 |
Labour Party leader Jeremy Bernard Corbyn termed the decision to suspend parliament disgraceful. Photo/PD/AFP

London, Tuesday

Parliament has officially been suspended for five weeks, with MPs not due back until October 14.

Amid unprecedented scenes in the Commons, some MPs protested against the suspension with signs saying “silenced” while shouting: “Shame on you.”

It comes after beleaguered Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s bid to call a snap election in October was defeated for a second time. He, however, vowed to continue his attempts to strike a new Brexit deal.

Opposition MPs refused to back the snap election bid, insisting a law blocking a no-deal Brexit must be implemented first. Some 293 MPs voted for the prime minister’s motion for an early election, far short of the two thirds needed.

Parliament was suspended—or prorogued—just before 2pm local time on Tuesday. 

As Speaker John Bercow, who earlier announced his resignation,  was due to lead MPs in a procession to the House of Lords to mark the suspension, a group of angry opposition backbenchers tried to block his way.

Late into Monday night, MPs also burst into song on the Commons benches, singing traditional Welsh and Scottish songs, Labour anthem Red Flag and hymns like Jerusalem.

“The uproar in Parliament wasn’t just Pantomime politics - there is genuine fury,”  said BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith.

During the five-week suspension, parties will hold their annual conferences but no debates, votes or committee scrutiny sessions will take place.

Early election

Boris will not face Prime Minister’s Questions until the period is over and his scheduled questioning by the Commons liaison committee on Wednesday has been cancelled.

Parliament’s suspension means MPs will not get another chance to vote for an early election until they return, meaning a poll would not be possible until November at the earliest.

Boris said the government would use the time Parliament was suspended to press on with negotiating a deal with the EU, while still “preparing to leave without one”.

“No matter how many devices this Parliament invents to tie my hands, I will strive to get an agreement in the national interest,” he said. “This government will not delay Brexit any further.” -BBC

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