GP Insights

GP Insights # 142, 14 September 2019

Suspension of the British Parliament
Sukanya Bali

What happened?

The Queen has approved Boris Johnson's advice to suspend the Parliament for five weeks. Within the Parliament, Boris Johnson's attempt to call for early election failed to receive two-third majority twice. Now, the MPs are not due until the 14th of October which would give time to Boris Johnson to work forward for a successful Brexit by 31 October. The suspension has been ruled as ‘improper and unlawful’ by a Scottish court. 

What is the background?

Before the suspension, the parliament passed legislation to prevent a no-deal Brexit that would force the PM to ask for a three-month extension unless the MPs approve a deal by 19th October. In response to the legislation, Boris John said he would “die in a ditch” rather than ask the EU for an extension. For him, proroguing as legal and necessary; however, the suspension of parliament has created a lot of controversies. 

Also, the House forced the publication of government communication relating to prorogation and no-deal Brexit known as Operation Yellowhammer. It contained scenarios that could emerge with a no-deal Brexit which includes riots, inflation and shortage of supplies. 

Boris Johnson’s attempt to call for snap elections failed twice. It secured 293 votes against the 434 votes needed. 

What does this mean?

Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend the parliament seems to be unlawful. It looks more like to achieve his political ambition. It is also an attack on democracy. It would prevent debates of broader concerns pertaining to Brexit and scrutiny of decisions made by the government at this crucial stage. 

According to Operation Yellowhammer, a challenging scenario could emerge with a no-deal Brexit and hit the UK economy. A downfall in the supply of food materials and the increase in the price of fuel and food will have a harsh impact on the low-income group population. There could be a range of shortages in food to fuel to toilet papers. This withdrawal will affect the basic requirements of livelihood in the UK. The suspension of the parliament would prevent deliberations, discussions and debates from mitigating these tough scenarios that could emerge with Brexit. 

So what are the likely outcomes? With less than 50 days for the Brexit, a deal could be brokered with EU, and an extension may be sought. Boris Johnson might find a way to evade the legislation to prevent a no deal Brexit. A referendum could be held. Days ahead are expected to be eventful for the destiny of the United Kingdom.


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