Thousands of St Albans and Harpenden people support petition against Parliament suspension

PUBLISHED: 16:14 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:14 29 August 2019

Protests sprung up around Westminster last night. Picture: Harpenden for Europe

Protests sprung up around Westminster last night. Picture: Harpenden for Europe

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Thousands of people from St Albans and Harpenden have joined a call to block the suspension of Parliament.

Protests sprung up around Westminster last night. Picture: Harpenden for EuropeProtests sprung up around Westminster last night. Picture: Harpenden for Europe

It was announced yesterday that the Queen had approved a request by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to prorogue Parliament from sometime between September 9 and 12 until October 14.

It would mean that any Brexit discussions would take place less than three weeks before Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on October 31.

A petition against the move has already reached 1.4 million signatures in about 24 hours.

More than 4,000 people from both St Albans and Harpenden constituencies have signed the petition, which represents more than eight per cent of the total.

Secretary of the Remain campaign group St Albans for Europe, Helen Campbell, said: "What Boris Johnson did yesterday was appalling, it has nothing to do with democracy and everything to do with power.

"Shutting down Parliament was not mentioned in the referendum three years ago, and it is not what people voted for. This is the behaviour of a dictator and is not even supported by many in the government or his own party."

She said protests around London, which sprung up around Westminister yesterday, were "unplanned and reactive".

Sister group Harpenden for Europe described the move as "a deliberate coup against our Parliamentary democracy".

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A spokesperson said: "This cynical and calculated decision by Boris Johnson to suspend Parliament for five weeks is clearly intended to limit the ability of Parliament to hold the Johnson government to account over Brexit. Any suggestion that this is 'business as usual' is completely false and misleading to the public.

"We call on our MP Bim Afolami to condemn this provocative and anti-democratic action and to resign from the Johnson government immediately."

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami recently became parliamentary private secretary (PPS) to the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss.

He said: "I do not like this abrupt prorogation. This is not my preferred course of action.

"I do welcome the new session of Parliament, which will reset the government's domestic plan after 26 months, but I dislike how it has been induced.

"However, everything needs to be in perspective. Overall there will only be four or five fewer sitting days than there would have been otherwise."

He said there is "plenty of time" for a Brexit deal to be agreed by Parliament.

St Albans MP Anne Main was also contacted for comment, but is yet to respond.

In a letter to MPs, Boris Johnson said he "intends to bring forward a new bold and ambitious domestic legislative agenda".

You can view the petition at petition.parliament.uk/petitions/269157.

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