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Boris Johnson refuses to rule out suspending Parliament to force through no-deal Brexit

3 min read

Boris Johnson has refused to rule out suspending Parliament to make sure MPs cannot stop Brexit from happening on 31 October.

The Conservative leadership frontrunner said he was "not attracted to" proroguing Parliament in order to ensure the UK leaves the European Union in time for the Hallow'en deadline.

But he stopped short of categorically ruling out the “archaic" step at a Conservative leadership hustings on Wednesday night.

Former Tory leadership contender Dominic Raab came under fire earlier in the race after he hinted that he would be prepared to go through with the controversial move.

Asked if he would consider it, Mr Johnson - who has said he will deliver Brexit "deal or no deal" by 31 October - told the hustings: "I think colleagues really are starting to come together, they are thinking about this in a very mature and sober way.

"I'm not attracted to archaic devices like proroguing.

"Let's get this thing done as proud members of a representative democracy that asked the people of this country a question, that received a very clear answer, promised faithfully to put that answer into effect - and now we've got to do it."

The former Foreign Secretary also warned his party that axing the planned summer recess for Parliament - currently pencilled in to start on 25 July - would be a "desperate expedient" that could make the deadlock over Brexit worse.

"I'm a great believer in the natural common sense of my friends and colleagues on the Tory benches and I also think that common sense is breaking out across the House of Commons," he said.

"I think we can get this thing done without having to resort to such a desperate expedient."

He added: "I think we can get this done, my friends, without having to suspend recess."


Elsewhere in the hustings, Mr Johnson "absolutely" ruled out including Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage in any negations with the European Union.

Mr Farage - whose new outfit stormed last month's European elections - has said his party wants "to be part of that negotiating team" and "take responsibility for what is happening".

But Mr Johnson said: "I believe, as a matter of policy, when it comes to fighting other parties - which I've been doing for a very long time in the name of the Conservative party - don't give them the oxygen of publicity. And that works."

Asked if that meant no, he told hustings host Hannah Vaughan Jones: "It's a pretty clear no... Absolutely not."

Mr Johnson instead blasted the Brexit Party, saying the new group had "sprouted like puffballs" and were "feeding off the decay in trust in politics at the moment".

He added: "We're going to prick those puffballs, if that's what you do to a puffball."

The Tory hopeful, who is squaring off with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the battle to succeed Theresa May, also downplayed the idea he could call an election before the 31 October Brexit deadline.

"It would be absolutely crazy for any of us to think of going to the country, of calling a general election, before we get Brexit done," he said.

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