24th Nov, 2020

Scores protest against Parliament suspension at Coventry Council House

Felix Nobes 30th Aug, 2019 Updated: 3rd Sep, 2019

SCORES of protesters against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament gathered yesterday outside Coventry City Council House.

Last night’s (August 29) demonstration drew some support from across the city’s political parties and was organised by campaign group People’s Vote Coventry.

It comes after Mr Johnson received approval from the Queen to controversially prorogue Parliament for nearly five weeks in the run up to the UK leaving the European Union by the October 31 deadline.

The measure has prompted fury and critics have claimed it is designed to prevent any plan to stop a ‘no-deal’ withdrawal from the EU from getting through Parliament.

The newly elected Conservative PM has pledged to leave the EU without a deal by that date, if necessary – but claims his first priority is to secure a withdrawal agreement with Brussels.

We asked our readers before the protest whether they supported the suspension of Parliament and a clear majority responded saying they did.

Coventry voted by 55 to 45 per cent to leave the EU in the referendum in June 2016, and 59 per cent of the 370 who responded to our poll said they supported Mr Johnson’s manoeuvre.

Coventry Liberal Democrat diversity officer and pro-EU campaigner, Aimee Challenor, said: “We believe this is a fundamental attack on our democracy.

“No matter whether you back leave or remain, taking parliament out of the process is a bad step.

“Leave in 2016 said it was all about parliamentary sovereignty, so why are we now trying to take that power out of parliament’s hands.

“Coventry is fuelled by EU citizens. So people from all walks of life have come here to stand up for our democracy.”

The manoeuvre comes days after opposition parties formed a consensus to prevent a no-deal scenario at all costs.

Conservative Coventry councillor Tim Mayer filmed himself next to the crowd broadcasting on social media: “It doesn’t particularly look like people are paying much attention. They seem to be shouting about democracy, and what strikes me as a bit bizarre about that is that Coventry voted to leave.

“Britain voted to leave. We will be leaving on October 31.

“This has been the longest running session of Parliament in the last 400 years, and Boris Johnson’s doing a fantastic job.”

Supporters of Brexit and Mr Johnson have pointed out that it is only failing to deliver Brexit – voted for by a majority of the UK public in a June 2016 referendum – that is antidemocratic and unconstitutional.

The extra period after the usual recess, when parliament will be suspended, is required for the new PM to formulate his legislative programme and the Queen’s Speech, he says.

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