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'A very British coup': Global media reacts to Boris Johnson's move to suspend parliament

Key Points
  • With 63 days left until Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union, Johnson has sought to limit lawmakers' opportunities to derail his plans for Brexit.
  • Many media outlets emphasized the "rogue" in "prorogue" on Thursday, while Belgium's De Morgen newspaper described the tactic as "a very British coup."
  • In wider Europe, most news outlets were sternly opposed to the prospect of Britain's government potentially suspending parliament.
A person wearing a Boris Johnson 'head' digs a grave at the foot of a tombstone during a protest organised by Avaaz and Best for Britain, outside Downing Street in London.
Stefan Rousseau - PA Images | PA Images | Getty Images

British and international media outlets have responded predictably strongly to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to shut down parliament for several weeks, with newspapers around the world transfixed by the surprise announcement.

With 63 days left until Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union, Johnson has sought to limit lawmakers' opportunities to derail his plans for Brexit.

The highly-controversial move is the new prime minister's boldest yet in his push to take the country out of the bloc before October 31. Many media outlets emphasized the "rogue" in "prorogue" on Thursday, while Belgium's De Morgen newspaper described the tactic as "a very British coup."

How did British papers react?

The Independent has called the episode "The Johnson Coup."

In its editorial, the newspaper suggested the move was an "underhand" and "devious" bid to undermine British democracy. It urged lawmakers to defeat Johnson's plan when they return to Westminster next week.

The Guardian took a similarly dim view on the prime minister's attempt to prorogue parliament, describing it as an "affront to democracy."

The paper said it was clear Johnson wished to silence parliament before the October 31 deadline, despite the prime minister claiming the move would allow him to enact a "bold and ambitious legislative agenda."

The Financial Times went even further, calling on members of parliament (MPs) to hold a no-confidence vote in order to trigger a general election.

"It is time for parliamentarians to bring down his government in a no-confidence vote, paving the way for an election in which the people can express their will," it said in an editorial piece published Thursday.

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The Daily Mail was far more positive about Johnson's decision, calling it a "historic move" to thwart anti-Brexit lawmakers.

The newspaper pictured Johnson with his fists clenched, alongside a headline: "Boris takes the gloves off."

The Times' front page depicts a large image of the prime minister in black and white, with the headline: "Johnson goes for broke."

It leads with the news that his government has "pushed Britain to the brink of a constitutional crisis."

And in Europe?

In wider Europe, most news outlets were sternly opposed to the prospect of Britain's government potentially suspending parliament.

Volkskrant, a leading Dutch publication, suggested the suspension of parliament amounted to a "powergrab" — calling it a "sly move."

In Germany, Der Spiegel reported Johnson had "threatened the wrath of the street" — and the "rage" of the opposition.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Welle's English version published a headline which said: "Boris the dictator."

A public petition against U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's suspension of parliament passed the 1 million signature milestone within its first 24 hours, while protests broke out across the country.

Spain's El Pais said Johnson had challenged the opposition and closed parliament by surprise.

On the front page of France's Liberation on Thursday, the newspaper suggested delivering Brexit had become more and more difficult with Johnson at the helm.