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'Constitutional outrage': British PM to suspend parliament before Brexit

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on August 28, 2019 - Duration: 02:12s

'Constitutional outrage': British PM to suspend parliament before Brexit

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called a Queen's Speech in mid-October, a move that will see parliament suspended for a month - limiting lawmakers' time to block a no-deal Brexit.

David Doyle reports.

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'Constitutional outrage': British PM to suspend parliament before Brexit

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to will suspend parliament just weeks before the UK is due to leave the European Union in a move that's triggered outrage and sent the pound sharply down.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) FIRST MINISTER OF SCOTLAND, NICOLA STURGEON, SAYING: "If MPs don't come together next week to stop Boris Johnson in his tracks, then I think today will go down in history as the day UK democracy died." That was Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

What Johnson's done is call a Queen's Speech for October 14.

That's a formal procedure used by the government to lay out its legislative agenda for the year ahead, and what it involves is effectively shutting parliament from mid-September for about a month.

The Queen has approved the request.

It's not unusual, per say, for a prime minister to call a Queen's Speech - except for the fact that the UK is weeks away from the October 31 deadline, when Johnson says he will take Britain out of the European Union, without a divorce deal if necessary.

Business groups fear that will cause widespread economic disruption.

His opponents say Johnson is trying to undemocratically block them for preventing a no-deal Brexit.

But he claims its not about Brexit.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "We need to get on with our domestic agenda and that's why we're announcing a Queen's speech for October 14." But across the political spectrum the announcement has been met with fury.

"Profoundly undemocratic", was how Philip Hammond, a member of Johnson's Conservative Party and former finance minister described it while this guy, parliament's speaker John Bercow, called it a "constitutional outrage." Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn accused Johnson of a "smash and grab on our democracy".

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LEADER OF BRITAIN'S LABOUR OPPOSITION PARTY, JEREMY CORBYN, SAYING: "The first thing we'll do is attempt legislation to prevent what he's doing.

And secondly we'll challenge him on a motion of confidence at some point." The pound tumbled to its lowest level in nearly a week on the news while Brexit-sensitive stocks, such as airlines and housebuilders, took a hammering.

Sterling has lost 4.3% of its value against the dollar this year.

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