British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has denied allegations that he lied to Queen Elizabeth II for his political purposes. That's absolutely not the case, Johnson said. The head of government had recommended the Queen to close the parliament for five weeks.
A Scottish appeals court had declared this compulsory break unlawful on Wednesday. Johnson's advice to the Queen had been made with the intention of frustrating the parliamentarians in the Brexit dispute, the judges in Edinburgh justified their decision. The forced break is therefore "null and void".
Opposition MPs called on the government to re-convene Parliament immediately. "They should call us back so that we can do our job," Labor MP Hilary Benn told Sky News. The government announced that it would appeal to the Supreme Court in London. The matter will be discussed there next Tuesday. A spokeswoman for President John Bercow said it was the responsibility of the government to end the forced break prematurely.
Johnson claims to have suspended the session of Parliament until mid-October to present his new government program. Allegations that he wanted to prevent the MEPs from averting a Brexit without an agreement, he had previously described as "completely untrue".
Johnson speaks of "worst-case scenario"
The British government had published an internal paper on the possible consequences of an unresolved Brexit this Thursday under pressure from parliament. The multi-page document Operation Yellowhammer warns, among other things, of protests, public disorder and food shortages.
Johnson said they did not want to see the bleak scenario from the paper. "This is a worst-case scenario that officials obviously need to prepare for." He assumed that it would not happen and that the economy was ready. The preparations have been massively accelerated, especially since he took office on 24 July.
Opposition politicians argued that the document proved that Johnson acted negligently by considering an EU exit without an agreement. Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve said it was extraordinary that the British government "is content to inflict on the British public the extent of the disruption laid out in the Yellowhammer papers". Labor politician Andy McDonald said the plans were reminiscent of a "war or natural disaster."
So far no new Brexit proposal
As things stand, the UK is leaving the EU on 31 October. Boris Johnson openly threatens to lead his country out of the EU without an agreement if Brussels does not agree to his demands for changes to the withdrawal agreement. Meanwhile, the parliament has passed a law that forces him to apply for an extension, should not a timely deal with the EU come about.
According to EU Parliament President David Sassoli, the Johnson administration has not yet made a new proposal for the exit arrangements from the EU. Brexit chief negotiator Michel Barnier had previously informed the parliamentary group chairmen of the European Parliament about the state of preparations for the Brexit. "So far, the UK has not proposed alternatives, nothing that would be legally credible and workable," said Sassoli.
Graphic by Marcus Gatzke, Julian Stahnke and Zacharias Zacharakis© TIME ONLINE