The prime minister’s willingness to ride roughshod over our democracy may not stop at suspending Parliament. Boris Johnson may go deeper into heart of darkness in his desperation to drag us out of the EU on October 31 “do or die”. In an interview with the Sunday Times, he refused to rule out various devilish schemes including advising Queen not to sign a new law intended to stop him dead in his tracks.
The prime minister claims it would be “anti-democratic” to delay Brexit and have a new referendum. What nonsense. So much has changed since 2016 that it would be undemocratic to quit the EU without checking that the people really want the no-deal crash out Brexit Johnson is now offering.
It would be even worse to use the sort of devious tactics Johnson may now be contemplating to prevent Parliament having its say at this critical time. We live in a parliamentary democracy not a presidential system. The more Johnson seeks to gag MPs, the more he corrupts our constitution.
Suspending Parliament for five critical weeks is bad enough. But MPs still have a way of fighting back. They still have a week now to stop Johnson by passing emergency legislation or conceivably kicking him out of office. They also have two more weeks from October 14 before we crash out on October 31 to try to foil his plots. That’s barely enough to rein him in – but it should just do the trick.
Some of the new tactics being briefed by Downing Street – a few of which Johnson refused to rule out himself in his interview with the Sunday Times – could neuter parliament. Below we consider them.