Over one million people have signed a petition calling for the British parliament not to be suspended from mid-September to mid-October as requested by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Parliament must not be prorogued or dissolved unless and until the Article 50 period has been sufficiently extended or the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU has been cancelled,” the petition reads.
The petition, which passed the 1-million mark before midnight, was posted a day before Johnson announced his request to suspend parliament ahead of the country’s pending exit from the European Union.
Concise News reported that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday that the suspension of parliament would be extended until October 14.
“We’re going to do it on October 14,” Johnson told reporters.
He is due to attend one last European Union summit three days later.
“There will be ample time on both sides of that crucial October 17 summit, ample time in parliament for MPs to debate,” Johnson said.
The pound slumped almost one percent versus the dollar and euro on the news.
Britain’s currency slid 0.94 percent to $1.2179, while the euro bought 91.09 pence.
A source in Johnson’s Downing Street office insisted that only around four sitting days in the lower House of Commons would be lost as a result.
Parliament returns from its summer break on September 3.
By convention, it is suspended for the annual conferences of the three main parties.
The first, that of the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats, starts on September 14. The final one, that of Johnson’s governing Conservatives, ends on October 2.
Johnson wants parliament to return 12 days later on October 14.
The queen agreed to the date, effectively shutting parliament from mid-September for around a month.
Incensed opposition leaders wrote to the queen to express their concern and asked for a meeting, threatening to drag the 93-year-old monarch into the constitutional crisis.
“There will be ample time in parliament for MPs (Members of Parliament) to debate the EU, to debate Brexit and all the other issues, ample time,’’ Johnson told reporters.
Asked if he was trying to block MPs from delaying Britain’s EU departure, he replied: “That is completely untrue’’.
While suspending parliament ahead of a Queen’s Speech is the historical norm in Britain, the decision to limit parliamentary scrutiny, weeks before the country’s most contentious policy decision in decades, prompted an immediate outcry.
It also increased the chances Johnson could face a vote of no-confidence in parliament, potentially leading to an election.
“Make no mistake, this is a very British coup,’’ John McDonnell, the second most powerful man in the opposition Labour Party, said.
“Whatever one’s views on Brexit, once you allow a prime minister to prevent the full and free operation of our democratic institutions you are on a very precarious path.’’