Boris Johnson agreed to suspend Parliament two weeks before announcing it

Posted On: 
3rd September 2019

Boris Johnson has been accused of treating democracy with "contempt" after it was revealed he agreed to suspend Parliament two weeks before announcing it.

Boris Johnson says the September sitting of Parliament is a 'rigmarole'.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Prime Minister signed off on the plan after it was drawn up by Number 10 legal expert Nikki da Costa.

According to documents produced at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Ms da Costa sent a note to Mr Johnson, Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill and Dominic Cummings, the PM's most senior adviser, on 15 August to say Parliament should be prorogued from 9 September.

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Mr Johnson marked the note "yes" and, in a note to Ms da Costa the next day, said: "Whole September session is a rigmarole introduced to show the public that MPs are earning their crust. I don’t see anything especially shocking about this prorogation."

But on 25 August - three days before the Queen sanctioned prorogation - a Number 10 spokesman said: "The claim that the Government is considering proroguing Parliament in September in order to stop MPs debating Brexit is entirely false."

Under the plan, Parliament will be suspended from next week until 14 October, when a Queen's Speech will set out the Government's legislative agenda.

Labour MP Ian Murray said: "The revelations in the Court of Session this morning show Boris Johnson treats parliamentary democracy with contempt and the people of Britain with utter distain.

"First, he dismissed any notion of parliamentary accountability as a ‘rigmarole’ and mocked the public’s concerns. Then he went out and lied about his intentions.

"These are the words and actions of a supremely arrogant, privileged and out-of-touch politician who cannot be trusted to be honest about his intentions in politics or anything else.

"We cannot let Boris Johnson govern the country like some medieval monarch, dismissing Parliament and ignoring the public. It’s time to trust the people, not Boris Johnson, to solve  this Brexit crisis. It’s time to settle this once and for all by giving the people the final say on Brexit."

Best for Britain chief executive Naomi Smith said: "The dodgy backroom dealings which led to the scandalous decision to suspend Parliament are now coming to light.

"Johnson and his small group of unelected advisors hatched this plan two weeks before informing the Queen. 

"In effect they were scheming behind Her Majesty’s back and behind the country’s back to force through a damaging no-deal Brexit. The secrecy of it all should send shivers down people’s spines."

Downing Street sources insisted MPs would still have ample time to debate Brexit before 31 October, despite the prorogation.