Protests erupt across UK over Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament ahead of Brexit debate

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's provocative decision to suspend the British Parliament for a time before the country's deadline for leaving the European Union came under fire on Saturday in London and other cities where protesters took to the streets.

The Associated Press September 01, 2019 11:24:23 IST
Protests erupt across UK over Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament ahead of Brexit debate
  • An estimated 10,000 people gathered in central London, while others protested in Belfast, York, and other cities to show determination to block a 'no-deal' Brexit

  • Corbyn said Johnson, who became prime minister through a vote of Conservative Party members instead of a general election, does not have a mandate for shutting down Parliament or for leaving the EU without a deal in place

  • Many economists and academics think a no-deal Brexit would lead Britain into a prolonged recession

London: Prime Minister Boris Johnson's provocative decision to suspend the British Parliament for a time before the country's deadline for leaving the European Union came under fire on Saturday in London and other cities where protesters took to the streets.

The demonstrations were called ahead of what is expected to be a pitched debate in Parliament this week as Johnson's opponents scramble to try to pass legislation that would block him from carrying out Brexit on 31 October without an approved withdrawal agreement.

An estimated 10,000 people gathered in central London, while others protested in Belfast, York, and other cities to show determination to block a "no-deal" Brexit. Protesters in London briefly blocked traffic on a downtown bridge and in Trafalgar Square.

Protests erupt across UK over Boris Johnsons decision to suspend Parliament ahead of Brexit debate

File image of Boris Johnson. AP

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who had urged his supporters to come out in large numbers, told thousands of people at a rally in Glasgow, Scotland that the message to Johnson was simple: "No way. It's our Parliament."

Corbyn said Johnson, who became prime minister through a vote of Conservative Party members instead of a general election, does not have a mandate for shutting down Parliament or for leaving the EU without a deal in place.

Many economists and academics think a no-deal Brexit would lead Britain into a prolonged recession. "It's not on, and we're not having it," Corbyn said. Johnson's decision to shutter Parliament for several weeks when a debate about Brexit plans had been expected galvanized angry crowds of protesters on Saturday.

Organisers said protests were held in more than 30 locations throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In London, they chanted: "Boris Johnson, shame on you."

Some carried signs saying: "Stop the Coup" in reference to what they say is a move that threatens democracy. The protests were organized by the anti-Brexit group Another Europe Is Possible and by Momentum, which is allied with the opposition Labour Party.

The group is urging its membership to "occupy bridges and blockade roads." In Exeter in western England, pharmacist Bridie Walton, 55, said she was attending the first demonstration of her life.

"Nobody voted for a dictatorship," she said, condemning Johnson's suspension of Parliament. "These are the actions of a man who is afraid his arguments will not stand scrutiny."

Johnson's plan is also being opposed by some in Parliament who plan to introduce legislation this week to try to prevent a disorderly departure from the European Union. Their task will be made more difficult if Johnson's plan to shut Parliament for part of the time period before the 31 October Brexit deadline is carried out.

Johnson's supporters may well be able to delay any proposed legislation from being enacted in time. Tactics could include introducing a variety of amendments that would have to be debated, or the use of filibusters to stall the process. The shutdown of Parliament is also being challenged in three separate court cases scheduled to be heard next week.

Former prime minister John Major has joined one of the lawsuits, raising the likelihood that he will argue in court that the current prime minister, a fellow member of the Conservative Party, is acting improperly by shutting Parliament.

Johnson, who helped lead the successful Brexit referendum campaign, says his government is actively pursuing a new deal with EU leaders and claims opposition to his policy will make it harder to wring concessions from Europe.

Updated Date:

also read

UK to follow US in pulling out troops from Afghanistan by September, claims report
World

UK to follow US in pulling out troops from Afghanistan by September, claims report

The Times said Britain would withdraw its roughly 750 troops, as 'they would struggle without American support because of a reliance on US bases and infrastructure'

British government launches probe into lobbying scandal involving ex-PM David Cameron
World

British government launches probe into lobbying scandal involving ex-PM David Cameron

British media began digging into Cameron’s work for Greensill after the company’s collapse forced the owner of Liberty Steel to seek a government bailout

COVID-19 Vaccine: UK to offer Oxford AstraZeneca alternative to under-30s over blood clot concern
World

COVID-19 Vaccine: UK to offer Oxford AstraZeneca alternative to under-30s over blood clot concern

Britain's drug regulator said since the balance of risk is in favour of older people, the advice would be for younger people to be offered alternatives such as the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines