The far-right Brexit ‘war cabinet’ under unelected Prime Minister Boris Johnson has edged closer to outright fascism after it secured a royal order to shut down the Westminster parliament in London for over a month.
Johnson’s plan to avoid parliament acting to prevent a crash Brexit on October 31, an outcome which would mean a hard border being reintroduced across Ireland and bring devastation for the Six County economy, has the support of the unionist DUP and the English Monarch.
His actions have triggered a full-blown constitutional crisis in Britain and pitched him against the people and parliament he claims to lead.
It was described by John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons, as a “constitutional outrage” and by MPs on both sides of the house as “a coup”. It has already brought about the resignation of Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson and has made Scottish independence “inevitable” according to Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
In Dublin, one Minister compared the action to that of British coloniser Oliver Cromwell, who was responsible for scores of massacres across Ireland. The 26 County Fine Gael Minister of State Michael D’Arcy tweeted that Johnson’s decision to seek a suspension of the House of Commons was the “most anti-democratic” decision by a prime minister since Cromwell established a “protectorate government” in the 1600s.
“This was a military dictatorship,” he wrote. “Cromwell dismissed his parliament when they disagreed with him.”
Johnson has denied he is trying to prevent Westminster from blocking his Brexit plans, claiming it is simply a routine suspension ahead of the announcement of a new programme for government, a ‘Queen’s Speech’, on October 14.
However, he is not denying the decision to prorogue parliament for an unprecedented five weeks ahead is also an attempt to frustrate parliamentary oversight of his actions ahead of the Brexit deadline at the end of October. The suspension will begin just a week after MPs return from a long summer recess on Monday.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, described the prorogation as “a smash-and-grab on our democracy” and vowed to lead street protests. Over 160 MPs have now signed the ‘Church House Declaration’, pledging widespread democratic resistance and the creation of an ‘alternative parliament’.
In a rare joint statement, all of the opposition leaders at Westminster said: “It is our view that there is a majority in the House of Commons that does not support this prorogation, and we demand that the prime minister reverses this decision immediately or allows MPs to vote on whether there should be one.”
Other strategies reportedly cooked up by Johnson’s cronies include creating spurious new Bank Holidays, filibustering any parliamentary debates that do take place, and simply having Johnson refuse to resign as Prime Minister if he loses a vote of no confidence. A last resort could be to name scores of new Brexiteer ‘Lords’ in order to kill any legislation in the unelected upper chamber of the Westminster parliament.
Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said that the actions illustrated the “arrogance” and “contempt” of the Tories.
It “demonstrates his clear intent to force through a no-deal Brexit, regardless of the consequences for Ireland; north or south,” she said.
“It shows the arrogance of the British government and their contempt even for their own political institutions and it is very clear that Irish interests will never be protected at Westminster.
“The fact is that Brexit is incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement and the Tories have shown a total and callous disregard for our country and the democratically expressed wishes of the people of the north to remain in the EU.
“The need to protect Irish interests is paramount.”