In Summary
  • Queen Elizabeth II has approved the request to close what has been the longest session of parliament in nearly 400 years, and reopen it on October 14 setting out Johnson's fresh legislative programme.

LONDON

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday announced the suspension of parliament in the final weeks before Britain's EU departure date, enraging anti-Brexit MPs.

The pound slid on the surprise news, which opponents branded a "coup" and a "declaration of war", although US President Donald Trump weighed into the row by praising Johnson as "great".

NO-DEAL BREXIT

The Conservative leader's move to close parliament for a month will give pro-EU lawmakers less time than they expected to try to thwart his plans for a possible no-deal Brexit on October 31.

Queen Elizabeth II has approved the request to close what has been the longest session of parliament in nearly 400 years, and reopen it on October 14 setting out Johnson's fresh legislative programme.

Seemingly caught on the hop, incensed anti-Brexit MPs were left scrambling for a way to stop the move.

Johnson's announcement came after six opposition parties said on Tuesday they would first seek to legislate to prevent leaving the EU without a deal when parliament returns from a summer recess next week.

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the main opposition Labour Party, has said he wants to call a vote of no-confidence in Johnson's government, which commands a majority of just one seat.

John Bercow, the speaker of parliament's lower House of Commons, described the closure as a "constitutional outrage" designed to stymie debate on Brexit, with Britain currently on course to crash out without a divorce deal.

An EU summit on October 17-18 could decide whether Britain ends its four decades of membership without a withdrawal agreement that governs future trade relations and citizens rights.

Johnson said there would be "ample time" either side of the summit for MPs to debate Brexit.

And he said it was "completely untrue" that the move was designed to stop MPs blocking his Brexit strategy.

Johnson said it was to "bring forward a new, bold and ambitious domestic legislative agenda for the renewal of our country after Brexit".

The government's chief Brexit adviser David Frost was in Brussels for talks on Wednesday.

In the seismic 2016 referendum on Britain's EU membership, 52 percent voted in favour of leaving the bloc, a result that has left parliament and the country bitterly divided.

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