Boris Johnson landmark decision to suspend parliament has been nothing short of an earthquake for Britain’s political establishment. Some MPs have called Johnson out violating the spirit of the UK’s 800-year-old constitutional tradition.
Johnson, however, is one step closer to commanding electoral influence over the whole of the Brexit camp.
Conservative Party in parliament Jacob Rees Mogg flew to the summer residence of the Queen in Balmoral, Scotland to request a suspension of parliament from 10 September to 14 October.
Traditionally, British governments suspend the parliament to bring forward a new political agenda and return to announce their proposals in a speech read out by the Queen.
The last time the British public witnessed this ceremony was in 2017 when the Conservative Party’s Theresa May formed a government with the parliamentary support of the Democratic Unionist Party.
Johnson stated on 28 August that parliament would have “plenty of time” to debate Brexit after it reconvenes on 14 October, more than two weeks before the 31 October deadline from when the UK is scheduled to leave the EU.
Former Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond called the suspension “profoundly undemocratic,” while former Attorney General Dominic Grieve warned that if the opposition brings forth a no-confidence motion “this government will come down.”
The leader of the Conservative Party in Scotland, Ruth Davidson, is expected to resign on Thursday, which is politically consequential, as she made considerable inroads for the party in Scotland and is seen as the face of political opposition to Scottish independence.
US President Donald J. Trump, a fervent supporter of Johnson’s and Brexit, took to Twitter to hail the fact that it was now difficult for the UK opposition to call a vote of no-confidence against the current government. Trump intends to sign an “ambitious free trade agreement with the UK” as soon as Brexit becomes official.”
There still remains, however, little scope for the EU to consent to a last-minute deal with the UK where Brussels would abandon the Irish backstop – the safety net put in place to ensure that an open border between Northern Ireland and Ireland stays in place after the UK leaves the EU.
Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has repeatedly made clear that Johnson’s proposals to replace the backstop are “not even close to a viable alternative”.Irish-American political power in the US is considerable.