Extraordinary scenes were seen in the House of Commons in the early hours of Tuesday morning as Parliament was prorogued for one of the longest periods in history.
Parliament was suspended from just before 2am on Tuesday morning and now is not due to return to sitting until 14 October.
A marathon evening in the Commons saw an emergency debate on why the government needs to follow the rule of law. MPs also voted to force the government to release the so-called ‘Yellowhammer’ documents, documents which have assessed the likely impact of a no-deal Brexit.
The Prime Minister asked MPs for the second time in less than a week to back his call for an early general election. 293 MPs voted for the Prime Minister’s motion, far short of the 434 needed to launch the country into an election. This means that an election now cannot be held until after the current Brexit deadline on October 31.
The prorogation proceedings in the Commons were met with protests, including opposition MPs shouting ‘No!’ during the proceedings. Some MPs held up signs saying ‘silenced’, while shouting ‘Shame on you.’ A group of opposition backbenchers also tried to block the way of Commons Speaker John Bercow when he was due to lead MPs in a procession to the House of Lords to mark the suspension.
The suspension of Parliament would usually be considered normal as it allows governments to schedule a Queen’s Speech where a new legislative programme can be set out. However, given the timing so close to the Brexit deadline, the suspension has sparked large protests inside and outside of Parliament. During the next five weeks, parties will hold their annual conferences, however, no scrutiny sessions will take place.
Many MPs fear the Prime Minister may not follow the newly made law requiring him to request a Brexit delay, and instead pursue a no-deal exit on October 31. In recent days, the Prime Minister has insisted a deal with the European Union is still possible.