A BROAD spectrum of politicians, including many of those standing in the Shetland by-election, have blasted a government plan to suspend parliament in order to thwart any hindrance to the Brexit process.
The outraged attack on Boris Johnson’s plans follows widespread reports that he intends to approach the Queen to suspend parliament days after MPs return to work following the summer recess.
The move by the prime minister was however welcomed by Conservative candidate Brydon Goodlad who said the “real outrage is that parliament is trying to ignore the will of the people.”
Suspending parliament would lead to a Queen’s Speech on 14 October, outlining the UK Government’s Brexit plans, but not giving parliament enough time to debate whether Britain should go ahead and leave the European Union on 31 October.
Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael condemned news of the government’s plans saying they were an “existential threat to parliamentary democracy.”
Carmichael added: “These actions go beyond Brexit or any other constitutional issue. Parliament must stand strong against a government which seeks to undermine and sideline it. People who care about democracy, whatever their party, must put aside their differences to prevent this.
“From a man who was put in power by a vote of fewer than 150,000 people, this is an outrage that cannot be allowed to stand.
“In years gone by the establishment used to protect our institutions. Now it is the Etonian elite who are putting them under threat.”
But Goodlad said the UK must leave the EU by 31 October.
“All that has happened today is the government has set out plans for a Queen’s Speech on 14 October,” he said.
“That is what all new governments do, and we haven’t had a Queen’s Speech for two years.
“Westminster always rises for conference recess in September, so the idea of this as some kind of constitutional outrage is absurd.
“The people have voted and the UK must leave the EU on the 31st October – deal or no deal.”
Scottish Greens Co-Leader Patrick Harvie MSP meanwhile said: “Those who defend the UK’s unwritten constitution often say the Queen must be ‘kept out of politics’. The Government is now asking her to suspend Parliament for an explicitly political purpose – one for which there is no mandate.”
“Any Head of State worthy of the title would say no. The people of Scotland are used to the UK Government treating them with contempt, but this move by Johnson takes this contempt to a whole new level and reinforces the need for the people to have a say over the future direction of our country.”
Greens Shetland by-election candidate Debra Nicolson added: “The decision to suspend Parliament is an unacceptable democratic outrage. We need opposition unity now to stop Boris Johnson’s power grab and in that spirit I hope all the other candidates will join me in condemning this.”
SNP candidate Tom Wills dubbed it “a dark day for British democracy” which proved “once and for all that Westminster is not working.”
Wills added: “With 100 parliamentarians in Edinburgh, London and Brussels, the SNP is by far the biggest pro-European party in the UK.
“If elected as your MSP, I’ll fight this every step of the way – we can’t stand by and watch while the Tories strip away our democratic right to representation.
“We need to use our vote tomorrow to send Boris Johnson a message that Shetland won’t stand for Brexit and this shameful attack on democracy.”
Labour candidate Johan Adamson said she was appalled: “Of course this is in response to actions yesterday by remain MPs lead by Jeremy Corbyn to try to extend article 50 in parliament.
“The prime minister must respect democracy and not force through a no deal, and allow discussion on extending article 50.
“Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and others have all agreed to work together to extend article 50 and do everything in their power to stop a no deal, as leaving with no deal is entirely irresponsible. This is a national crisis.”
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