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'If you shut down our parliament, we shut down the streets': Thousands protest decision to suspend UK parliament

The queen approved the request to suspend UK parliament next month.

Police talking to protesters outside the Houses of Parliament in London this evening.
Police talking to protesters outside the Houses of Parliament in London this evening.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

PEOPLE HAVE TAKEN to the streets of London to protest against the suspension of the UK parliament for five weeks when MPs return to the House of Commons next month.  

Earlier, UK prime minister Boris Johnson asked the queen to suspend parliament from the second week in September until 14 October, less than two weeks before the UK is set to leave the European Union.

The Queen approved this request, and the move by Johnson has sparked outrage and condemnation from opposition MPs. 

“I have protested in the strongest possible terms on behalf of my party and all the other opposition parties that are going to join in with this in saying that suspending parliament is not acceptable, It’s not on,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

Following the move, thousands of people have taken to the streets of London and other cities to protest. 

“If you shut down our parliament, we shut down the streets,” protesters chanted in Parliament Square in London. 

The pound plummeted in value on the surprise news, which opponents have branded a “coup” and a “declaration of war” but which Johnson has claimed was necessary to allow him to pursue a “bold and ambitious” new domestic legislative agenda.

More than 600,000 people signed an online petition decrying the suspension.

Votes in October

In a statement released by No 10 Downing Street, Johnson said that the decision is being made to end the longest parliamentary session in almost 400 years. The current session has lasted 340 days.

“There will be ample time on both sides of that crucial 17 October [EU] summit, ample time in parliament for MPs to debate the EU, to debate Brexit and all the other issues; ample time,” Johnson said.

Here at home, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has said a request from Green Party leader Eamon Ryan to recall the Dáil from its summer break will be “seriously considered”.

Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One Donohoe said his focus is getting Ireland ready for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, reiterating that it is a growing, material risk. 

When asked if today’s developments in the UK will mean changes to the Irish backstop, the minister was clear, replying: “No.”

In a statement released by No 10 Downing Street, Johnson said that the decision is being made to end the longest parliamentary session in almost 400 years. The current session has lasted 340 days.

“There will be ample time on both sides of that crucial 17 October [EU] summit, ample time in parliament for MPs to debate the EU, to debate Brexit and all the other issues; ample time,” Johnson said.

In the wake of today’s developments a group of politicians have asked a court in Scotland to block Johnson’s bid to suspend parliament. 

With reporting from Stephen McDermott

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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