Boris Johnson ‘could create new bank holidays’ to force through Brexit and foil Remainer plot to stop a No Deal split on October 31
- Downing Street reportedly war-gamed ways of stopping MPs blocking No Deal
- One would see PM create new bank holidays to stop Parliament being recalled
- Boris Johnson could also ask Eurosceptic peers to filibuster anti-No Deal law
- Comes after he secured permission from the Queen to prorogue Parliament
Boris Johnson could create new bank holidays in order to stop MPs from blocking Brexit on October 31 as part of a series of measures under consideration by Downing Street to frustrate their efforts.
The Prime Minister yesterday secured permission from the Queen to prorogue Parliament at some point in the week beginning September 9 until October 14.
The move dramatically reduces the amount of time available to Europhile MPs to stop the UK leaving the EU without an agreement but it has also concentrated minds in the so-called ‘Remain Alliance’.
The stage is set for a series of major showdowns between Parliament and the government in the coming weeks with Number 10 reportedly well-prepared for the battles to come.
Mr Johnson’s senior aides, led by top adviser Dominic Cummings, have apparently war-gamed all manner of scenarios which could play out and devised a series of devices which could be deployed to hamper MPs.
The plan to create new bank holidays is just one of the measures being weighed up by Number 10.
Others include asking Eurosceptic peers to filibuster any attempt by MPs to pass an anti-No Deal law which would force the PM to seek a Brexit delay from the EU and to ask the Queen to block such a law if it was able to make it through Parliament.
Mr Johnson is reportedly considering a plan to create new bank holidays which would make it harder for MPs to end the suspension of Parliament early
The government has also considered flooding the House of Lords with Brexiteers, examined whether Mr Johnson could refuse to quit in the event he loses a vote of no confidence and looked at ways to further curtail time for debate in the Commons.
Perhaps the most eye-catching proposal is the one to potentially create new bank holidays in order to stop MPs from forcing the PM to end the suspension of Parliament early.
MPs tried to make it much more difficult for Parliament to be prorogued to force through No Deal earlier this year when they successfully amended legislation relating to the restoration of power sharing in Northern Ireland.
The amendment to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 means that ministers must give MPs regular updates and hold regular debates on the progress made in trying to get Stormont back up and running.
The requirement for regular debates was devised by MPs to ensure that the government could not send them away from the Commons for long and unbroken periods of time.
The first of those debates is due to be held on September 9, just before Parliament is due to be prorogued.
But another is then supposed to take place on or before October 9 – during the period in which Parliament is now going to be shut.
The legislation states that in the event Parliament has been prorogued it should then be reconvened in order for the debate to be held and the law to be complied with.
However, there is a line in the Act which makes clear that Parliament cannot meet on ‘Saturdays, Sundays or a day which is a bank holiday’.
That is why Downing Street has, according to a report by Buzzfeed, examined the idea of creating new bank holidays in the coming weeks.
Doing so would allow the government to effectively dodge the requirement to break the suspension of Parliament.
Such a move, if implemented, would spark widespread outrage among MPs who are adamant that they must be given enough time to have their say on Brexit in the run up to the October 31 deadline.
Downing Street has insisted publicly that the decision to prorogue Parliament and hold a Queen’s Speech on October 14 is about preparing the government for its new domestic legislative priorities.
But many in Westminster are convinced it has been motivated by a desire to make it as hard as possible for MPs to stop Mr Johnson delivering on his ‘do or die’ Brexit pledge.
A government source told Buzzfeed: ‘Every sitting day, there is a risk of something going wrong.’