Aug 13, 2019

U.K. speaker vows to stop Boris Johnson from closing Parliament to force Brexit

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.

Go deeper: John Bolton says U.S. enthusiastically backs no-deal Brexit

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,690,951 — Total deaths: 355,575 — Total recoveries — 2,350,071Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,699,073 — Total deaths: 100,396 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. Public health: CDC issues guidelines for reopening officesFauci says data is "really quite evident" against hydroxychloroquine.
  4. States: California hospitals strained by patients in MexicoTexas Supreme Court blocks mail-in expansion to state voters.
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  6. Tech: AI will help in the pandemic — but it might not be in time for this one.
  7. World: EU proposes a massive pandemic rescue package.
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Updated 6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The European Union is considering an $826 billion coronavirus rescue package to fund recovery efforts for all member states, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday.

By the numbers: More than 5.6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.3 million have recovered from the virus. Over 355,500 people have died globally. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 15.1 million tests).

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: Over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Nearly 354,000 Americans have recovered and over 15.1 million tests have been conducted. California became the fourth state with at least 100,000 reported cases of the coronavirus on Wednesday, along with Illinois, New Jersey and New York.