Boris Johnson announced this morning that he will attempt to schedule a Queen’s speech on 14 October, and will suspend parliament for several weeks in September to do so – cutting down the amount of time MPs have in parliament to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
It’s entirely normal for a new government to schedule a Queen’s speech on taking power, and will usually suspend parliament beforehand (though not normally for this length of time). Boris Johnson’s decision will also bring an end to one of the longest parliamentary sessions in history, and will not close parliament during the actual Brexit date, as many anti no-dealers initially feared.
Nonetheless, as expected, as soon as the prorogation was announced there was a clamour of hysterical reactions from Remain-leaning politicians and public figures, claiming that Boris’s decision was a constitutional outrage.
Here are the best reactions of the bunch:
Flying out of the traps was the former Labour minister and fully-fledged Remainer, Lord Adonis, who suggested that the government’s plan was a ‘constitutional outrage’ that would be ‘hotly contested’ in parliament. Mr S wonders if Adonis was quite as annoyed when Speaker John Bercow bended constitutional convention to stop a no-deal Brexit in March…
If this is true, it is a constitutional outrage & crisis, unless there is an immediate election. It will be hotly contested in parliament and the courts https://t.co/5d7e2V4k5F
— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) August 28, 2019
Acclaimed author Philip Pullman meanwhile went a step further, and insisted that Boris Johnson has ‘finally come out as a dictator’. He then rather sinisterly suggested that we should ‘get rid’ of him ‘as soon and as finally as possible.’
The 'prime minister' has finally come out as a dictator. I've had enough of being outraged. We must get rid of him and his loathsome gang as soon and as finally as possible.
— Philip Pullman (@PhilipPullman) August 28, 2019
If that wasn’t clear enough, Pullman went on to clarify on Thursday morning that when he hears Boris’s name the words ”rope’ and ‘nearest lamp-post’ come to mind’. How charming.
When I hear the name 'Boris Johnson', for some reason the words 'rope' and 'nearest lamp-post' come to mind as well.
— Philip Pullman (@PhilipPullman) August 29, 2019
The Labour faction Momentum kept to the same theme as Pullman, and suggested that the entirely normal practice of prorogation was evidence of an ‘establishment coup’. Something suggests to Mr S that the group would be far more relaxed if it was Jeremy Corbyn storming the Winter Palace to take power.
An unelected prime minister looks set to approach an unelected monarch to ask her if he can shut down parliament to force through a disastrous no deal Brexit.
Make no mistake – this is an establishment coup.
— Momentum (@PeoplesMomentum) August 28, 2019
Labour MP Jess Phillips meanwhile suggested that she had never ‘met the kind of people who game a system just for the sake of winning a game’, in response. Never come across anyone gaming a system before, not even Remainers in parliament? Mr S isn’t convinced…
Before entering parliament I had truly never met the kind of people who game a system just for the sake of winning a game. I was not raised in a place where people genuinely want to prove they are the biggest big dog for being its sake. It's been a shock.
— Jess Phillips Esq., M.P. (@jessphillips) August 28, 2019
While Sarah Wollaston said that Johnson was behaving like a ‘tin pot dictator’ and called for ministers to do the right thing and resign in response. While we’re on the subject of democratic accountability, Mr S notes that it’s been several months now since Sarah Wollaston first left the Conservatives, joined Change UK, and then defected to the Liberal Democrats – all without calling a by-election in her constituency. Perhaps if she’s that concerned about convention, she should start by looking a little closer to home…
Johnson behaving like a tin pot dictator. Time for ministers to resign & Conservative MPs to cross the floor rather than be tainted with this outrage https://t.co/ui4Y8tP2ra
— Sarah Wollaston MP (@sarahwollaston) August 28, 2019
Back in Labourland, Clive Lewis channelled his inner revolutionary, and suggested that the police would have to remove him from the Commons Chamber if parliament was suspended in September. This is, presumably, the same Clive Lewis who didn’t bother to vote against suspending parliament over the summer in June this year.
If Boris shuts down Parliament to carry out his No-Deal Brexit, I and other MPs will defend democracy.
The police will have to remove us from the chamber. We will call on people to take to the streets.
We will call an extraordinary session of Parliament. #PeoplesParliament
— Clive Lewis MP (@labourlewis) August 28, 2019
Reacting to the news that the Queen has approved Boris Johnson’s request to prorogue parliament, the former Labour spin-doctor Alastair Campbell suggested that Boris Johnson’s education might to blame for the country’s woes. The born-again Remainer may have been a little dramatic though when he went on to describe Britain as a failed state.
An Old Etonian Prime Minister elected by two-thirds of less than one percent of the country sends an Old Etonian Leader of the Commons to a Scottish castle to ask an elderly Monarch to shut down Parliament as part of the plan to deliver Parliamentary sovereignty #failedstate
— Alastair PEOPLE’S VOTE Campbell (@campbellclaret) August 28, 2019
And if you thought Boris Johnson was throwing out constitutional convention by suspending parliament, Labour’s Kate Osamor decided to outdo him with another bizarre suggestion this evening. The MP instead proposed that the Queen should be deposed for, errr, following her constitutional role to the letter and allowing the parliamentary session to end.
The Queen should look at what happened to her cousin Tino ex King of Greece when you enable a right wing coup!
— Kate Osamor || Labour & Co-op MP for Edmonton (@KateOsamor) August 28, 2019
While Stephen Fry suggested that his followers should ‘weep for Britain’ and that suspending parliament for the month meant a ‘a sick, cynical brutal and horribly dangerous coup d’état’ was taking place.
Weep for Britain. A sick, cynical brutal and horribly dangerous coup d’état. Children playing with matches, but spitefully not accidentally: gleefully torching an ancient democracy and any tattered shreds of reputation or standing our poor country had left.
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) August 28, 2019