Saturday, 19 October, 2019

Britons set to protest against Johnson's Brexit 'coup'

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at St Ninian's Church Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives at St Ninian’s Church
Patty Aguilar | 03 September, 2019, 07:29

Britain's ancient parliament will next week host an historic showdown between Prime Minister Boris Johnson - who has vowed to leave the European Union on October 31, "do or die" - and lawmakers who view themselves as the last bulwark against economic ruin.

Brexit did not just split the country down the middle, it did the same to the Conservative and Labour parties.

A court case being heard in Belfast next week aims to block Johnson's suspension of parliament on the grounds that a no-deal Brexit would breach the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to the British-run province of Northern Ireland.

Downing Street said the UK's team of Brexit negotiators will sit down with their European Union counterparts twice a week during September "with the possibility of additional technical meetings, to discuss a way forward on securing a new deal".

"Those kinds of royal powers over Parliament demonstrate the way in which Parliament is substantially weaker than the U.S. Congress, which stands completely independent from the executive because of the American constitution's conception of the separation of powers", he concluded. An extension of the October 31 deadline, a second referendum and other scenarios were also on the table. It means that parliament will stop meeting no earlier than Monday September 9 and no later than Thursday September 12, until Monday October 14.

Outrage ensued from all corners.

Speaker John Bercow, whose acerbic wit has become a mainstay of the House of Commons, has been unrestrained in branding Johnson's prorogation plan a "constitutional outrage", and he's right. Mr Corbyn said he wanted to "applaud" those taking part in the protests today.

A petition demanding Parliament not be suspended garnered more than 1 million signatures - guaranteeing it will be brought up for debate.

Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, yesterday signed off on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's request to suspend parliament.

It could make a no-deal Brexit more likely.

Demonstrators wave European Union flags and hold placards as they protest outside of Downing Street in London

Johnson's advisers have reportedly played out many scenarios to ensure he gets his way, including filibusters in the House of Lords to frustrate the opponents of a no-deal Brexit.

The Financial Times predicted further political problems for the moves against Johnson, because a vote of no confidence "would need about eight Tory MPs to think the virtually unthinkable and vote down their own government, with the potential effect of a quasi-Marxist Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn". However the prospect of a no-confidence vote in Johnson and plots by pro-Remain MPs to form a caretaker government have led to fears the Queen may be forced to step in to appoint a leader.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier. After his first full day as prime minister, Parliament adjourned for summer break.

However, Johnson has dismissed the claim, saying that it was to allow the government to hold a Queen's Speech and outline its "very exciting agenda" for the future.

The tortured process of seeking to deliver the result of the Brexit referendum has already repeatedly pitted parliament against the government, and parliament has often won.

The transfer was broadly seen as a method of limiting the time Johnson's opponents should organise in opposition to him.

But it is important to note that Johnson is making huge decisions on behalf of a democratic nation while he himself was not elected to the post he is now serving in except by a minority of the population, namely Tory party members.

"I'm absolutely disgusted by what's happening here", said attendee Maya Dunn, 66, a Dutch citizen living in Britain, who accused Johnson of "riding roughshod over everybody". The nerves of politicians and large swaths of the country are frayed because of the constant bickering about Brexit and the failure to find a harmonious resolution to the issue.

"We think that this request is illegal", said Miller, who in 2017 successfully won lawmakers the right to vote on formally starting to leave the European Union in a court challenge.

"All these people who are wailing and gnashing of teeth know that there are two ways of doing what they want to do", Rees-Mogg, a member of Johnson's Conservative Party and a confirmed euroskeptic, told the broadcaster.

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