Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament over Brexit sparks outrage

By Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 7:41 a.m. ET, August 30, 2019
16 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
11:45 a.m. ET, August 29, 2019

Jeremy Corbyn says he'll try to block Johnson from suspending Parliament

Corbyn in Scotland on Thursday.
Corbyn in Scotland on Thursday. Robert Perry/Getty Images

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn pledged to attempt to stop Boris Johnson from proroguing Parliament when the House of Commons returns next week.

"We will be back in Parliament on Tuesday to challenge Boris Johnson on what I think is a smash and grab raid against our democracy," Corbyn told Sky News, adding Johnson was "trying to suspend Parliament in order to prevent a serious discussion and a serious debate to prevent a no-deal Brexit."

"What we're going to do is try to politically stop him on Tuesday with a parliamentary process in order to legislate to prevent a no-deal Brexit -- and also (try) to prevent him from shutting down parliament during this utterly crucial period."

10:19 a.m. ET, August 29, 2019

The Queen could only say yes to Johnson's request

From CNN’s Nic Robertson and Arnaud Siad in London

Johnson and the Queen on the day he became Prime Minister.
Johnson and the Queen on the day he became Prime Minister. Victoria Jones/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II had no choice but to accept the prorogation of Parliament request by the government of Boris Johnson, according to former UK Supreme Court Justice Lord Jonathan Sumption on Wednesday.

Speaking to the BBC, he said the Queen was “bound” to take the government’s advice as it commands a majority in the House of Commons.

He added that the relations between the Crown and Parliament are governed by conventions, which are “based on political sentiment, and on the basis that they are binding only in the sense that it would be politically costly to disregard them.”

Sumption also suggested that while Johnson’s move was lawful, it was “being done for a mistaken political motive.”

Nevertheless, he said it wasn’t within a court’s remit to decide between good or bad political motivations, but to decide what was lawful.

Sumption was a Supreme Court Justice from January 2012 until he retired in December 2018.

8:05 a.m. ET, August 29, 2019

Veteran Conservative resigns in wake of Johnson's decision

From CNN's Luke Hanrahan 

George Young, a Conservative front bench minister in the House of Lords, has resigned over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament.

The former leader of the House of Commons under David Cameron’s government said he was "very unhappy" at the decision to prorogue Parliament. As a Conservative Party minister, Young also served under Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

In his resignation letter, seen by CNN and confirmed as genuine by Young, he said Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament risks “undermining” the role of Parliament at a “critical time” in the country’s history.

The Prime Minister has been accused by critics of “constitutional outrage” over the decision to delay re-opening Parliament with a Queen’s Speech on 14 October.

The suspension means MPs hoping to prevent a no-deal Brexit have less time to pass any laws that could stop it before October 31.

Young wrote: “As a former leader of the House of Commons in the Coalition Government who restored to the Commons some of the powers it had lost to the Executive, I am very unhappy at the timing and length of the prorogation, and its motivation.

“While not agreeing with the hyperbole of some critics, I have been unpersuaded by the reasons given for that decision, which I believe risks undermining the fundamental role of Parliament at a critical time in our history, and reinforces the view that the government may not have the confidence of the House for its Brexit policy.”

Since moving into 10 Downing Street, Johnson has stepped up plans for a no-deal scenario, saying he would take the UK out of the EU "do or die" on October 31.

Young said in his resignation letter that he believed the “Do or Die” commitment was “rash,” but added: "I am not part of any Remainer plot."

9:43 a.m. ET, August 29, 2019

A petition against suspending Parliament now has 1.4 million signatures

From CNN's Emily Dixon

Protests in London on Wednesday.
Protests in London on Wednesday. Peter Summers/Getty Images

An online petition demanding that Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancel his plans to suspend, or "prorogue," the UK Parliament has reached more than 1.4 million signatures.

The petition was posted on the UK Government and Parliament Petitions page shortly after Wednesday morning's announcement of the prorogation and has gathered signatories rapidly.

Parliament considers all petitions that exceed 100,000 signatures for a debate, while the government must issue a response after 10,000 signatures.

Protesters also gathered outside Parliament Wednesday evening, with some storming the media pen which was cordoned off by police. Police officers at the scene told CNN that an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 protesters were present.

6:50 a.m. ET, August 29, 2019

Meanwhile, in Brussels...

From CNN’s James Frater

Dutch Foreign Minister Stephen Blok said “serious talks” on Brexit took place in Brussels on Wednesday.

But he warned “we are not there yet” in terms of bridging divides with the UK to prevent a no-deal exit from the European Union.

“It is up to the British Parliament to judge. We still hope it will be possible to avoid a no-deal Brexit and we’re looking forward to any proposals from the British government that fit in to the Withdrawal Agreement,” Blok said, speaking to reporters in Helsinki on Thursday.

6:31 a.m. ET, August 29, 2019

Why Ruth Davidson's resignation matters

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Davidson in 2016

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has called time on an eventful political career which, some had suggested, could eventually have seen her rise to the very top of British politics.

It’s a surprising decision, which Davidson attributed mostly to personal factors – but the timing of her announcement has already raised eyebrows, given Davidson’s longstanding opposition to Boris Johnson’s pursuit of a no-deal Brexit.

And while Johnson may be quietly relieved in the short term to see a critic of his approach step down, Davidson’s decision could spell danger for their party’s prospects north of the border.

That’s because, for years, Davidson has been something of a rarity – a Conservative popular in Scotland.

For generations, the party has struggled to gain traction in the typically more left-leaning country – and its current leader Johnson is especially unpopular in the country, opinion polls have shown.

But Davidson's socially liberal ideology, her straight-talking manner and her ease in front of cameras made her a respected figure in Scotland, reviving the party's standing in the country.

That turnaround resulted in a staggering success at the ballot box in 2017, when -- bucking the national trend -- the Conservatives made impressive gains in Scotland. Under Davidson's stewardship, the party turned their single Scottish seat in Westminster into 13, taking the wind out of the sails of the rival Scottish National Party.

It also won Davidson the praise of party figures south of the border, many of whom saw her as the answer to winning over younger voters who had flocked towards Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party.

There's also the small matter of Brexit; while England voted comfortably in favor of leaving the European Union, Scotland voted by 62% to 38% to remain -- and as the national party moves towards backing a no-deal Brexit, it risks hemorrhaging support in the region without a popular leader.

So while Davidson has boosted the Conservative Party in Scotland, her resignation leaves it in a quandary -- and threatens to wreck its progress made in the country under her watch.

6:34 a.m. ET, August 29, 2019

Theresa May is back!

Theresa May enjoys a spot of cricket the day after she left her post.
Theresa May enjoys a spot of cricket the day after she left her post. Stu Forster/Getty Images

On Twitter, that is.

The former prime minister has sent her first social media post since stepping down over a month ago, paying tribute to Ruth Davidson's time as Scottish Conservative leader and wishing her some "well-deserved family time" with her partner Jen Wilson and her new son Finn.

6:18 a.m. ET, August 29, 2019

Ruth Davidson to Johnson: Get us a deal with the EU

Peter Summers/Getty Images
Peter Summers/Getty Images

Ruth Davidson has been holding a news conference after announcing she will step down as Scottish Conservatives leader.

"This has been a remarkable time in politics and I will always be thankful for the opportunity to have a front seat as Scottish political history was being made," she said.

Personal and professional: Davidson called her role in campaigning for Scotland to remain within the United Kingdom in 2014 "the most important contribution of my working life."

She attributes the decision to step down to both "personal and professional" factors, noting the "conflict" she has felt over Brexit -- which she opposed, in line with most Scottish voters.

"The biggest change, however, has been starting a family," she says, adding that the prospect of spending hundreds of hours campaigning "now fills me with dread."

She confirms she will continue as a Member for the Scottish Parliament until her term ends in 2021, and will "continue to support the party and the Prime Minister."

What about Brexit? Davidson adds that both the Scottish and Brexit referendums have split opinion across the UK. "The vast majority of people who go into politics do so for the right reasons," she says. "Respect is what is missing from our debate," she goes on.

But asked what role Johnson's pursuit of a no-deal Brexit played in the decision, Davidson says "we had three golden opportunities to support a deal." She says anti-Brexit MPs "had a goal gaping" but "hit the bar" by not supporting Theresa May's Brexit deal.

Davidson again urges MPs across the aisle to vote for a deal at the fourth attempt, adding that Johnson is attempting to secure a deal. "Let the EU hear you say you will vote" for a deal, she tells MPs.

She says she spoke to Johnson last night, and her message to him is this: "Prime Minister, get us a deal with the European Union." To lawmakers, she again adds: "For God's sake, get behind it."

“I asked him outright, look, I need to know, are you actually trying to get a deal or not,” Davidson says, adding that Johnson “categorically assured me” that he was.

5:56 a.m. ET, August 29, 2019

BREAKING: Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson resigns

Ruth Davidson, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has resigned.

In her resignation letter, Davidson wrote: "While I have not hidden the conflict I have felt over Brexit, I have attempted to chart a course for our party which recognises and respects the referendum result, while seeking to maximise opportunities and mitigate risks for key Scottish businesses and sectors."

Davidson has been an outspoken critic of a no-deal Brexit. But in the rest of her letter, she makes clear that the main driver behind her decision is to spend more time with her family.

"I fear that having tried to be a good leader over the years, I have proved a poor daughter, sister, partner and friend." Davidson and her partner Jen Wilson welcomed their first child late last year.