John Bercow vows to 'fight' to stop Boris Johnson closing Parliament over Brexit

Posted On: 
14th August 2019

John Bercow has promised to "fight with every breath in my body" to prevent Boris Johnson from proroguing Parliament in order to achieve a no-deal Brexit.

Boris Johnson and John Bercow.
Credit: 
PA

The Commons Speaker threw down the gauntlet to Number 10 - which has repeatedly refused to rule out the controversial move - as he insisted the House of Commons "must have its way" on the issue.

A cross-party group of MPs is currently looking into ways to stop the new Prime Minister from shutting down Parliament to make a no-deal Brexit happen, either by forcing the Commons to sit through the conference recess or seizing control of business in the House to pass legislation against such an outcome.

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In a clear sign that he would support those moves, Mr Bercow told an audience at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival: "The one thing I feel strongly about is that the House of Commons must have its way. And if there is an attempt to circumvent, to bypass or – God forbid – to close down parliament, that is anathema to me."

He added: "I will fight with every breath in my body to stop that happening. 

"We cannot have a situation in which parliament is shut down. We are a democratic society and parliament will be heard.

"Nobody is going to get away, as far as I’m concerned, with stopping that happening. Nobody should be afraid to say what he or she thinks."

The intervention - first reported by The Telegraph - marks the latest clash between the Commons Speaker and ministers over Brexit, following a series of rows during the three failed attempts to pass the Theresa May's Brexit deal.

Mr Bercow's comments also come as a cross-party group of MPs and peers mounted a legal challenge to proroguing Parliament, a decision they warned would be "both unlawful and unconstitutional".

Bur Mr Johnson has promised to deliver Brexit "do or die" by 31 October, and has declined to rule out the move on several occasions, saying only that he is "not attracted to" it.