Queen Elizabeth II has approved British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s request to suspend Parliament as he seeks to curtail the body’s ability to block a no-deal exit from the European Union.
The royal court said in a statement Wednesday that Parliament will be "prorogued" beginning Sept. 9 until Oct. 14, which would give lawmakers just 17 days to negotiate a Brexit deal before the Oct. 31 deadline Johnson has set for a hard break with the EU.
Johnson’s push to suspend the legislative body while many members are on vacation sparked intense backlash.
“Shutting down Parliament would be an offense against the democratic process and the rights of Parliamentarians as the people’s elected representatives,” said John Bercow, speaker of the Lower House of Commons, according to The Associated Press.
“Surely at this early stage in his premiership, the prime minister should be seeking to establish rather than undermine his democratic credentials and indeed his commitment to Parliamentary democracy.”
Johnson, a populist firebrand, rose to international prominence after emerging as one of the staunches advocates for Brexit, saying the United Kingdom was too economically tied to the EU.
“I am appalled at the recklessness of Johnson's government, which talks about sovereignty and yet is seeking to suspend Parliament to avoid scrutiny of its plans for a reckless no deal Brexit,” Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Wednesday, adding that he had reached an agreement Tuesday with several opposition party leaders to “prevent this smash and grab against our democracy.”