Mon | Sep 23, 2019

UK gov't suspends Parliament for five weeks

Published:Tuesday | September 10, 2019 | 1:00 PM
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Pimlico Primary school in London, Tuesday, July 10, 2018, with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to meet staff and students. (Toby Melville/Pool via AP)

LONDON (AP) — The British government has formally suspended Parliament, sending lawmakers home for five weeks amid a Brexit crisis.

The legislature was officially prorogued, or suspended, with a formal ceremony in the House of Lords — but only after House of Commons Speaker John Bercow voiced his displeasure, saying many regard it as “an act of executive fiat.”

There were raucous scenes in the House of Commons as opposition lawmakers chanted “Shame on you.”

Lawmakers will return October 14, little more than two weeks before Britain is due to leave the European Union on October 31.

The opposition accuses Prime Minister Boris Johnson of trying to stop lawmakers studying his Brexit plan.

It is the first time in more than 70 years a British government has suspended Parliament when faced with opposition.

British lawmakers have rejected Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s request for an election before the country’s scheduled departure from the European Union next month.

A total of 293 of the 650 House of Commons members backed the proposal, well short of the two-thirds majority needed.

Opposition lawmakers voted against the measure or abstained.

Johnson wants a snap election October 15, just over two weeks before the scheduled October 31 date for Brexit.

But opposition parties say they won’t support an election until Britain has secured a delay to the Brexit date, to ensure the country does not crash out of the bloc without a deal.

Parliament has ordered the government to seek an extension if there is no deal by late October, but Johnson is vowing not to seek a delay.

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