Boris Johnson: MPs will have 'ample' time to debate Brexit despite Parliament shut down

Posted On: 
28th August 2019

Boris Johnson has insisted MPs will still have "ample time" to debate Brexit despite his bid to shut down Parliament for six weeks.

Boris Johnson has asked the Queen to suspend Parliament from next week.
PA Images

The Prime Minister sparked a furious backlash by unveiling plans to prorogue Parliament from 9 September until 14 October, when there will be a Queen's Speech setting out the Government's legislative agenda.

Mr Johnson insisted the shock move was not designed to limit the time available for MPs to kill off the chances of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October.

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He said: "As I said on the steps of Downing Street, we are not going to wait until 31 October before getting on with our plans to take this country forward.

"And this is a new government with a very exciting agenda to take our streets safer. It is very important we bring violent crime down. We need to invest in our fantastic NHS, we need to level up education funding across the country, and we need to invest in the infrastructure that is going to take this country forward. And we need to deal with the cost of living, moving to a high-wage, high-productivity economy which is what I think this country needs to be.

"And to do that, we need new legislation. We have got to be bringing forward new and important bills. And that is why we are going to have a Queen's Speech, and we are going to do it on 14 October. We have got to move ahead with a new legislative programme."

Under the PM's plan, Parliament will reconvene just three days before a crunch EU summit at which he will make a last-ditch attempt to secure a new Brexit deal.

Asked whether his real intention was to limit the options of anti-Brexit MPs, the Prime Minister said: "There will be ample time on both sides of that crucial October 17th summit, ample time, for MPs to debate the EU, to debate Brexit and all the other issues. Ample time.

"All you need to take from this is we are doing exactly what I said on the steps of Downing Street, which is that we must get on now with our legislative, domestic agenda.

"We need to get on with the stuff that Parliament needs to approve on tackling crime, on building the technology we need, on levelling up our education, and reducing the cost of living. That is why we need a Queen's Speech and we are going to get on with it."

Commons Speaker John Bercow has led the criticism of Mr Johnson's move, describing it as a "constitutional outrage".