Boris Johnson Says Proroguing Parliament Will Allow “An Ambitious New Programme”

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has said in a statement that the decision to prorogue Parliament would allow for a new ambitious new programme in the next session.

Johnson said in a statement:

“We must focus on crucial public priorities – helping the NHS, fighting violent crime, investing in infrastructure and science and cutting the cost of living. We have made an important start – funding for 20,000 extra police officers and new investment in our NHS – but to deliver on the public’s priorities we require a new session and a Queen’s Speech.

I believe it is vital that Parliament is sitting both before and after European Council and if, as I hope, a deal with the EU is forthcoming, Parliament will then have the opportunity to pass the Withdrawal Agreement Bill required for ratification ahead of 31 October.”

Ruth Davidson to Quit as Scottish Tory Leader as Country Plunged into Constitutional Crisis

Ruth Davidson, the Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, is expected to resign following the announcement of Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, that he wanted Parliament prorogued. John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, made a rare intervention into politics to say that the decision was a “constitutional outrage”.

The Guardian newspaper reported the expected resignation, but sources close to Ruth Davidson are suggesting that the decision was also made so that she could spend more time with her family.

Former Conservative Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine Condemns Decision to Prorogue Parliament

Michael Heseltine, the former Conservative Party Deputy Prime Minister, has issued a statement condemning the Government’s request to prorogue Parliament, which has been accepted by HM Queen Elizabeth II.

He said:

“On hearing the news whilst on holiday in Montenegro, I am appalled by the government’s announcement. The government’s decision is a constitutional outrage. A government which is frightened of parliament is frightened of democracy. I hope that every member of parliament, in feeling this humiliation, will use every legal and constitutional weapon to obstruct a government proposing to force on the British people a historic change for which they have long since lost any mandate.”

Monarch Grants Request to Suspend Parliament

HM Queen Elizabeth II has accepted the request of Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, to prorogue Parliament, despite opposition to the plans from the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Constitutional Crisis for Monarch as Prime Minister Asks for Parliament to be Suspended

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has called HM Queen Elizabeth II to suspend Parliament causing a constitutional crisis for the Monarch. John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has said that the request from the Prime Minister is a “constitutional outrage”. The Prime Minister said that the decision still allowed time to discuss Brexit, but that it would allow the Government to pursue a new domestic agenda in Parliament.

The Monarch has yet to issue a statement on what her decision will be, but Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has called the request as “reckless” Philip Hammond, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, called the decision “profoundly undemocratic”. Jo Swinson, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, has also confirmed that she is writing to the Queen to complain about the request.

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, said on Twitter:

“Make no mistake, this is a very British coup. Whatever one’s views on Brexit, once you allow a Prime Minister to prevent the full and free operation of our democratic institutions you are on a very precarious path.”

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, said that the move was “dictatorship”.

Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales, said on Twitter:

“Boris Johnson fought a referendum campaign to put power back in the hands of Parliament and now he wants the Queen to close the doors on our democracy. The Leave campaign claims are unravelling. It’s time to put this to the people.”

Republic, the campaign to end the Monarchy, said in a statement:

“Already people are petitioning the Queen to intervene, but she won’t. Not because she can’t, but because the Queen’s first priority is always the preservation of the monarchy. But Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament has created a unique crisis for the Queen. The convention is that the Queen does as she’s told by the PM. But in normal times the PM has the full support of a majority in the Commons.”

Simon Clarke, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said on Twitter:

“In 400 years we haven’t had a session of Parliament that’s lasted as long as this. We need a Queen’s Speech to set out a bold agenda for after we leave the EU – on policing, infrastructure and the NHS. And there will still be time for a Withdrawal Agreement if terms are agreed.”

Sir Norman Lamb to Retire from the House of Commons

Sir Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, has confirmed that he intends to stand down at the next General Election. Lamb has held the seat for the party since beating David Prior in 2001 and was also a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats in 2015.

Speaking in an interview with the local newspaper, the EDP, Lamb said:

“I think we’ve become a horribly divided country and we’ve got to persuade people from across the political spectrum that national unity is worth giving up their hard positions for.”

He added:

“I absolutely don’t want to stop working but the things I’m passionate about, are the things I can best promote outside parliament.”

Tom Watson Says Government Should Fund TV Licences for Over 75s

Tom Watson, the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has said that the Government should provide funding to ensure that over 75s can continue to receive free television licences. The Government has said that the funding for this should be provided by the BBC.

Watson said:

“This Prime Minister’s disregard for older people is appalling. He is trying to blame the BBC for his own Government’s policy, but this obfuscation will not work.

The blame for scrapping free TV licences lies firmly with the Government. Keeping the free licences was a Tory manifesto promise, but because of this Government’s refusal to fund the concession, millions of older people will have their free TV licences scrapped next year.

This is a cruel policy that will leave many of our oldest citizens either worse off or cut off from the wider world. This Government must stop passing the buck and step in to fund the free TV licences today.”

Prime Minister Meets with Australian Prime Minister

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has met with Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister, at the G7 today. They discussed matters of interest to the two countries, including international security and global trade.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“The leaders discussed their enthusiasm for an enhanced and deep trading relationship once the UK leaves the EU. The Prime Minister set out the increase in the UK’s diplomatic presence in the Pacific, which Prime Minister Morrison welcomed.

The two leaders were concerned about the current situation in Hong Kong, and agreed that it was paramount for all sides to remain calm and peaceful and to maintain Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy as guaranteed by the legally binding Joint Declaration.”

Prime Minister Meets with Donald Tusk

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has today met with Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, to discuss the current situation on Brexit and future co-operation between the UK and the European Union.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said in a statement:

“The PM today met with European Council President Donald Tusk in the margins of the G7 summit in France.

The PM repeated that the UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October whatever the circumstances. We must respect the referendum result. The PM said the UK would prefer to leave with a deal but the current Withdrawal Agreement will not get through Parliament.

The PM said the deal is anti-democratic. The people of Northern Ireland would have no say in rules covering large swathes of their economy and it would actually be harder for us to exit the new arrangement than it is to leave the EU itself.

The PM said we will work in an energetic and determined way to get a better deal and we are very willing to sit down to talk with the EU and member states about what needs to be done to achieve that.

The PM and the President also discussed foreign policy, including Iran and Russia, and stressed the importance of upholding the rules-based international system.

The PM said that, post-October 31, the UK will remain a close partner and strong ally of the EU. The PM and President said they would both be attending the UN General Assembly next month and would meet again there.”

Prime Minister Asked by Former Chancellor About Misinformation From Downing Street

Philip Hammond, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, has written to Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, asking him to explain why Downing Street officials had briefed against former Ministers accusing them of leaks of Brexit material. Subsequent information about the dates of the documents that were leaked showed that they came from the current Government.

A Downing Street spokesperson told reporters:

“This document is from when ministers were blocking what needed to be done to get ready to leave and the funds were not available. It has been deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with EU leaders.”

Hammond said in a post on Twitter:

“It has now become apparent that the Operation Yellowhammer document leaked last week was dated August 2019, and was not ‘old’.”

Hammond wrote in his letter to the Prime Minister:

“I am writing on behalf of all former Ministers in the last administration to ask you to withdraw these allegations which question our integrity, acknowledge that no former Minister could have leaked this document, and apologise for the misleading briefing from No. 10”.