Brexit took yet another chaotic turn Wednesday when a controversial request from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to suspend UK Parliament from mid-September was approved by Queen Elizabeth. The audacious gambit wrong-footed the Prime Minister's opponents by shortening the time available to lawmakers to block a no-deal Brexit. The news was met with fury by opposition politicians, and even some members of Johnson's own party, who denounced it as potentially unconstitutional and undemocratic. John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, called the move a "constitutional outrage." Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn called it a "smash and grab" of British democracy. Brexit is due to happen on October 31, and Johnson has promised the UK will leave the European Union on that date with or without a deal. The Members of Parliament (MPs) -- a majority of whom oppose no-deal -- now effectively have just a few days before and after Parliament is "prorogued," or suspended, to pass any legislation preventing a hard break with the EU. The suspension ends on October 14, after the Queen's Speech where the monarch lays out the government's agenda in the House of Lords.
In a televised interview on Wednesday, Johnson denied that he was seeking to prevent Parliament from limiting his Brexit plans."That is completely untrue. If you look at what we're doing, we're bringing forward a new legislative program," he said. In a letter to lawmakers, the Prime Minister said Parliament "will have the opportunity to debate the Government's overall program, and approach to Brexit, in the run-up to EU Council, and then vote on this on 21 and 22 October, once we know the outcome of the Council."A large number of protesters gathered outside the UK Parliament on Wednesday evening and stormed the media pen -- which is cordoned off by police. Police officers on the ground said that they estimated between 1,000 and 1,500 protesters were in the area. A group later moved to the gates of Downing Street, blocking off Parliament Square on their way and were heard shouting: "Boris is a liar" and "Bring him down."