Brexit protests over Boris Johnson's Parliament prorogation expected to draw thousands

Brexit: UK faces mounting political, legal, diplomatic challenges

Brexit protests over Boris Johnson's Parliament prorogation expected to draw thousands

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of London to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament until two weeks before Brexit zero-hour.

Opposition MPs and some lawmakers from Johnson's own Conservatives want him to delay Brexit beyond October 31 if he fails to strike an agreement with the EU.

Johnson, who helped lead the successful Brexit referendum campaign, says his government is actively pursuing a new deal with European Union leaders and claims opposition to his policy will make it harder to wring concessions from Europe.

But Johnson has defended his decision to prorogue parliament and criticised his opponents, saying they are weakening his hand in Brussels as he tries to negotiate changes to the exit deal agreed by his predecessor, Theresa May, but rejected by the United Kingdom parliament.

Johnson said this week there would be "ample" time to debate once the suspension ends on October 14.

It comes as former prime minister Sir John Major spelled out his intention to fight Boris Johnson in the courts over his plan to suspend Parliament.

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Queen Elizabeth II, on his advice, gave the go-ahead to shutter parliament between mid-September and October 14 - just two weeks before the Brexit date of October 31.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, said that, starting on Tuesday, lawmakers will attempt to fast track legislation that will force Johnson to delay Brexit beyond the October 31 deadline.

"Legal proceedings can be fast-tracked as the judges in the case determine", Robert Blackburn, professor of constitutional law at King's College London, told Reuters.

He could be heard reiterating to French counterparts that Britain meant to allow most goods to enter tariff-free if the two sides fail to agree a divorce agreement.

Johnson wants the so-called backstop, the fallback provisions regarding the Irish border, scrapped completely.

But Mr Hammond said eight current cabinet members had themselves defied the party whip this year by voting against Theresa May's Brexit deal.

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A separate case in London has additionally won the heavyweight backing of former PM John Major - a fellow Conservative from Johnson's party - and from Tom Watson, the deputy chief of the opposition Labour Party. We know what Johnson is up to, it's not very subtle, is it?

Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Britain had come up with "nothing credible" to replace the backstop.

Protests are planned in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Bristol, Glasgow and Swansea, among more than 80 planned demonstrations due to take place over the next week. German foreign minister Heiko Maas said Britain should make concrete proposals as soon as possible but that the European Union could not imagine reopening the Withdrawal Agreement that Theresa May agreed with Brussels in November.

"The prime minister is shutting down parliament with the sole aim of stopping MPs from avoiding a no-deal Brexit", they said on the suspension.

There are three ongoing court tests to Mr Johnson's plan, which he says is routine but will shorten the time in which opponents in parliament could seek to pass legislation blocking a disorderly "no deal" departure from the EU.

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