London — Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II approved legislation Monday making it illegal for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take the U.K. out of the European Union without an agreement or the consent of Parliament on October 31. The announcement came hours before a 5-week parliamentary shutdown was scheduled to come into effect.
Last Wednesday, Parliament passed the so-called “no-deal” legislation, which — now that it has been rubber stamped by the Queen — forces Johnson to ask the EU for a three-month extension to the October 31 Brexit deadline, unless Parliament approves a new withdrawal agreement or votes to allow a “no-deal” divorce by October 19.
Johnson has promised to take the U.K. out of the EU by October 31 regardless of whether or not a deal is in place. Though he insists he would rather there be a deal, he scheduled a parliamentary shutdown from Monday until October 14 that reduces the number of working days lawmakers would have to try to avert a no-deal Brexit. Members of Parliament (MPs) were expected to vote against another call by Johnson for a snap general election on Monday.
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Two applications had been made for emergency Parliamentary debates on Monday, one about the rule of law and the other to press for the disclosure of internal communications between a group of Johnson aides regarding the suspension of Parliament as well as documents relating to the government’s plan for a no-deal Brexit since July 23, BBC News reported.
Also on Monday, the long-time speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, announced his resignation. In a tearful speech, Bercow, who has served as speaker for 10 years, said he would step down by October 31 at the latest. In his resignation speech, he spoke fondly of his time in the role while giving a stark warning to his fellow MPs:
“We degrade this Parliament at our peril,” he told the House of Commons.