LONDON, Sept 9 (NNN-AGENCIES) – Lawmakers are expected to reject Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s second call for a snap election ahead of the suspension of parliament later Monday, just seven weeks before Britain is due to leave the European Union.
Downing Street announced that Johnson will prorogue, or suspend, parliament from close of business on Monday.
Johnson said he wanted to suspend parliament until mid-October and then submit his government programme for a new session.
Opponents accused him of using prorogation to limit scrutiny of his plans and to force through a no-deal Brexit on October 31.
“I think it’s disgraceful,” opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn told the BBC.
“Parliament should be sitting and parliament should be holding him to account, and the prime minister appears to be wanting to run away from questions,” Corbyn said.
Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party (SNP) leader in the parliament, also told the broadcaster that lawmakers “should be sitting through this constitutional crisis.”
Blackford accused Johnson of “acting like a dictator” by shutting down parliament at a crucial time for Brexit.
Labour, the SNP and other opposition parties have agreed to vote against Johnson’s call to hold a snap election on October 15, making it almost certain that he will not win the two-thirds majority he needs for the election to go ahead.
Adding to the pressure on Johnson, a bill to prevent Britain leaving the European Union without a deal is expected to receive royal assent on Monday, meaning the legislation can be implemented.
Johnson insisted earlier Monday, during a visit to Ireland, that Britain must leave the EU as planned on October 31, with or without an exit deal.
He said that he would “overwhelmingly prefer to get a deal” with Brussels and that it would be achievable by October 18.
After her resignation from Johnson’s government on Saturday, former minister Amber Rudd said she had seen little evidence that he was trying to negotiate a deal and could “no longer believe leaving with a deal is the government’s main objective.”
Pro-Brexit politicians are encouraging Johnson to ignore the legislation to block a no-deal Brexit or challenge it in a British court.
“The prime minister has been taken hostage by parliament,” tweeted outspoken Conservative eurosceptic lawmaker John Redwood.
“This parliament has decided to oppose the people by denying us the result of our people’s vote,” Redwood wrote, referring to the 2016 Brexit referendum, in which 52 per cent voted to leave the EU.
“The PM threatened to implement the people’s view, so they decided to strip him of the power of his office to stop him,” he added.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told broadcaster Sky News on Sunday that the government would “test to the limit what [the legislation] actually lawfully requires.”
Johnson has claimed that it “would mean years of uncertainty and delay” because it requires a further postponement of Britain’s date for leaving the EU.
More than 1.7 million people have supported an online petition to the British parliament against prorogation.