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Boris Johnson denies lying to the queen over the suspension of Parliament

Key Points
  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has denied lying to Queen Elizabeth over the reasons for suspending Parliament for five weeks in the run up to the Brexit deadline.
  • Parliament was suspended (a process formally known as prorogation) on Monday and will re-open on October 14.
  • The queen has a symbolic role in the prorogation process.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government in Buckingham Palace on July 24, 2019 in London, England. The British monarch remains politically neutral and the incoming Prime Minister visits the Palace to satisfy the Queen that they can form her government by being able to command a majority, holding the greater number of seats, in Parliament. Then the Court Circular records that a new Prime Minister has been appointed. (Photo by Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson denied lying to Queen Elizabeth over the reasons for suspending Parliament for five weeks in the run up to the Brexit deadline.

Parliament was suspended (a process formally known as prorogation) on Monday and will re-open on October 14.

The prime minister has to request the suspension of Parliament from the queen although this is usually a formality and the queen is obliged to follow the prime minister's advice to prorogue Parliament.

Asked on Thursday if he had lied to the queen over the reasons for the prorogation, Johnson said "absolutely not," Reuters reported.

Although the suspension of Parliament is normal in that it marks the end of one parliamentary session before the start of another, Johnson has been widely criticized by opposition lawmakers for the move ahead of the Brexit deadline on October 31 when there is still no deal in place. The five-week suspension is also one of the longest shutdowns in decades.

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Opponents said the prorogation was timed so that the government could avoid scrutiny of its Brexit plans and for Johnson to be able to oversee a no-deal Brexit if necessary — an option that Parliament has recently rejected.

The government has denied it wants to push through a no-deal Brexit (although it has insisted the U.K. will leave the EU on October 31 deal or no deal) and has said it prorogued Parliament to allow it to return in mid-October to present its plans in what's known as a "Queen's Speech."

Some lawmakers have gone further by challenging the prorogation in court and a Scottish court on Wednesday agreed that the shutdown was unlawful — a ruling being challenged by the government in the U.K.'s highest court, the Supreme Court, next Tuesday.

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