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Boris Johnson to shut down Parliament for a month in apparent move to force Brexit with or without deal

2019-09-09

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s brazen move to tie lawmakers’ hands as he negotiates Britain’s exit from the European Union is about to go into effect.

The five-week suspension of Parliament was scheduled to begin Monday night after Queen Elizabeth II approved Johnson’s request to shut down the legislative body through Oct. 14, giving his opponents less time to block a potential Brexit plan without a deal.

The move, a legal process officially known as “proroguing,” prevents lawmakers from holding a session, debating or voting. Critics furiously condemned the maneuver, but no court has agreed to intervene in the case.

The controversial suspension leaves lawmakers with just over two weeks to debate Brexit before the official Oct. 31 deadline.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, called the move “disgraceful.”

“Parliament should be sitting and Parliament should be holding the government to account," he said in an interview. "And the prime minister appears to be wanting to run away from questions.”

The Prime Minister's decision to shut down parliament today is disgraceful. pic.twitter.com/W3MC4JbPdE

Johnson, who came into office vowing to take Britain out of the E.U. by the deadline, insisted after a meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin on Monday that a deal can still be reached.

The struggling U.K. leader said he would “overwhelmingly prefer to find an agreement,” which he said could come by Oct. 18, when E.U. leaders are set to hold a summit in Brussels. But he also acknowledged that a no-deal exit “would be a failure of statecraft for which we would all be responsible.”

The meeting was Johnson’s first with Varadkar since he became prime minister in July and was highly anticipated given Ireland’s role in the year-long Brexit dilemma. The main point of contention in the negotiations has been the so-called “backstop,” a provision in the Brexit agreement reached by former Prime Minister Theresa May that would ensure an open border between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and E.U. member Ireland.

Amid the ongoing crisis and looming deadline, Brexit seems to be heading to major showdown next month as lawmakers approved last week a bill designed to stop Brexit without an agreement. The proposal is set to become law this week.

With News Wire Services