Queen approves suspension of Parliament despite last-minute pleas from opposition leaders

Posted On: 
28th August 2019

The Queen has approved a month-long suspension of Parliament - despite last-ditch pleas by Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson.

The Privy Council met at the Queen's residence at Balmoral on Wednesday
Credit: 
PA Images

A special meeting of the Privy Council - the group of senior politicians who advise the monarch - was held at Balmoral on Wednesday.

It came after Boris Johnson requested that Parliament be prorogued in a fortnight until a Queen's Speech setting out the Government's legislative programme is delivered on 14 October.

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A statement issued by Buckingham Palace said: "It is this day ordered by Her Majesty in Council that the Parliament be prorogued on a day no earlier than Monday the 9th day of September and no later than Thursday the 12th day of September 2019 to Monday the 14th day of October."

The politicians present at the Privy Council meeting were House of Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, Lords leader Baroness Evans and government Chief Whip, Mark Spencer.

Mr Corbyn and Ms Swinson both wrote to the Queen asking to meet her to discuss Mr Johnson's request, but it is understood that the decision to approve it had been taken before the letters arrived.

The Labour leader said: "There is a danger that the royal prerogative is being set directly against the wishes of a majority of the House of Commons.

"In the circumstances, as the leader of the official opposition, on behalf of all my party members and many other members of Parliament, I request you to grant me a meeting along with other Privy Councillors, as a matter of urgency and before any final decision is taken."

Lib dem leader Ms Swinson said: "This is a crucial time in our country’s history, and yet our Prime Minister is arrogantly attempting to force through a No Deal Brexit against the democratic will. He is outrageously stifling the voices of both the people and their representatives. 

"It is appalling that the Prime Minister has forced opposition leaders into taking this action. However, we must take all measures necessary to avoid a disastrous No Deal Brexit, for which there is no mandate."

Downing Street sources insisted it is normal for Parliament to be prorogued ahead of a Queen's Speech and, because of the three-week recess already planned for the party conference season, MPs will only lose around four sitting days.

Boris Johnson has also insisted that MPs will have "ample" time to debate Brexit before the UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October.