In Brief

Parliament prorogued as Johnson fails in snap election bid

There were ‘chaotic scenes’ as the Commons was suspended until 14 October

Boris Johnson suspended Parliament in the early hours of the morning following his sixth parliamentary defeat in six days.

The House rejected Boris Johnson's calls for a snap general election with 293 MPs voting for the prime minister's motion for an early poll, far short of the 434 needed.

The result of that vote and the five-week suspension ensures that an election cannot be held until the second half of November at the earliest.

Parliament was officially suspended - or prorogued - just before 2am on Tuesday and will not reopen until 14 October.

Amid what The Guardian describes as “chaotic scenes,” MPs on the opposition benches shouted: “Shame on you” at Conservative MPs as they filed out. 

Some members held up signs saying “silenced”. The songs Red Flag, Jerusalem, Flower of Scotland and Bread of Heaven were intoned.

After the outgoing Speaker, John Bercow, said the suspension represented “an act of executive fiat,” opposition MPs tried to physically prevent him from leaving his chair to go to the House of Lords to finish the prorogation formalities.

The Times says that the Labour backbencher Lloyd Russell-Moyle “appeared to try to hold on to Mr Bercow when the Speaker was requested to lead MPs to the Lords” and parliamentary doorkeepers had to intervene.

After MPs rejected his call for a snap election, Boris Johnson said: “I earlier urged the House to trust the people — but once again the opposition think they know better. They want to delay Brexit yet again... and most egregiously of all, not only have they failed to choose the way ahead, they have now twice denied the British people their say.”

Sky News says the vote “capped a miserable day in the Commons for the prime minister,” after MPs voted to force the government to release documents related to its Operation Yellowhammer preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

The motion aimed to force the release of private WhatsApp and Facebook messages between key government aides over the suspension of parliament. A government spokesperson criticised the scope of the information requested as “disproportionate and unprecedented” and it is unclear whether they will comply with the demand.

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