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 Aug 13, 2019
U.K. speaker vows to stop Boris Johnson from closing Parliament to force Brexit
[Image: John Bercow]  
John Bercow. Photo: House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images
The U.K.'s Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow said Tuesday that he will not allow Prime Minister Boris Johnson to suspend Parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit at the end of October, the Telegraph reports.

"The one thing I feel strongly about is that the House of Commons must have its way. If there is an attempt to circumvent, to bypass or - God forbid! - to close down Parliament; that is anathema to me and I will fight it with every bone in my body to stop that happening. We cannot have a situation in which Parliament is shut down — we are a democratic society."
Why it matters: The newly elected Johnson has vowed to deliver Brexit on Oct. 31 "by any means necessary," despite warnings from economists and other experts about the dire consequences of the U.K. leaving the EU without a divorce deal. That includes the possibility of suspending Parliament in order to prevent MPs from passing legislation to force a Brexit extension or a second referendum — an extreme measure that would likely be met with a court challenge.

The state of play: Parliament is currently on recess, but MPs from several parties — including Johnson's own Conservative Party — are expected to take steps to block a no-deal Brexit when they return in September. Those steps could include bringing a vote of no confidence against Johnson's government, which — if successful — could force him to hold a general election.

  • Yes, but: Johnson's senior-most adviser Dominic Cummings has reportedly indicated that Johnson would not hold an election until Nov. 1 — the day after a no deal Brexit would ensue as the legal default.
  • Queen Elizabeth is likely the only person with the constitutional authority to force Johnson to resign if he lost a no-confidence vote, but she has historically remained apolitical.