Blow for Boris Johnson as Tory grandee Lord Young quits in protest over Parliament shutdown
A Tory grandee has quit the Government in protest at Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament.
In a blow for the Prime Minister, Lord Young said he was "very unhappy at the timing and length" of the five-week shutdown and could no longer serve as a government whip.
Mr Johnson announced yesterday that Parliament would be prorogued from the week after next until 14 October, when a Queen's Speech will set out the Government's legislative agenda.
Critics have accused Downing Street of trying to limit the time available to MPs who want to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October.
Lord Young, who served as chief whip and Commons leader under David Cameron, announced his resignation in a letter to Baroness Evans, the Tory leader in the Lords.
Insisting he was "not part of any Remainer plot", he said: "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 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.
Lord Young, who also served as a minister under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, added: “A deal may be secured with the EU at the last minute, and more time may be needed to get the Withdrawal Agreement through both Houses with the scrutiny it deserves."
He went on: “I am not part of any Remainer plot, nor have I spoken to anyone about my decision to resign, which is purely a personal one.
“It has been a real pleasure and honour to be part of your team in the Lords over the past three years. I have enjoyed it, and will miss my many friends, whom I expect to stay in your team.”
His departure deals a further blow to the Prime Minister following Ruth Davidson's resignation as Scottish Tory leader.
Downing Street has been approached for comment.