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

World coronavirus updates

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

Brazil on Monday recorded for the first time more deaths from the novel coronavirus in a single day than the United States, Reuters notes. Brazil reported 807 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to 620 in the U.S. for the same period.

By the numbers: Almost 5.5 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.2 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 14.6 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,900 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,490,954 — Total deaths: 345,962 — Total recoveries — 2,228,915Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,662,250 — Total deaths: 98,218 — Total recoveries: 379,157 — Total tested: 14,604,942Map.
  3. World: Italy reports lowest number of new cases since February — Ireland reports no new coronavirus deaths on Monday for the first time since March 21 — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: New York stock exchange to reopen its floor on Tuesday — White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Authorities issue warning as Americans venture out for Memorial Day weekend

Ocean City in New Jersey on May 25. Photo: Donald Kravitz/Getty Images

Authorities urged Americans to maintain social distancing and wear masks to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus amid reports of packed beaches and bars during the Memorial Day weekend.

Details: Law enforcement stepped up beach patrols, and there were crowded scenes in several places, notably at Lake of the Ozarks bars in Missouri and at Daytona Beach and on the Gulf Coast in Florida, per AP. Police dispersed crowds in some places, ABC notes. But many Americans did take precautions against COVID-19 as they ventured outside for the long weekend, some three months after the pandemic began in the U.S.