1.3million sign petition to stop parliament being shut

Protestors gathered in Westminster last night

A petition to keep the UK parliament open has been signed by 1.3million after the Queen assented to the prime minister’s request to prorogue parliament yesterday.

The petition against the prorogation of parliament – ie. ending the current session (believed by opponents to be a deliberate move to stop opposition to a no-deal Brexit) – is the fastest-growing petition to the UK parliament and government after one that topped 6million earlier this year calling for article 50 to be revoked.

It comes as protestors last night gathered in Westminster to oppose what they called a ‘coup’ by the prime minister and legal challenges are under way.

Mr Johnson told MPs in a letter he was asking the Queen to prorogue Parliment because the current parliamentary session, which has been extraordinarily extended due to Brexit, had gone on too long and he wanted a fresh Queen’s Speech to present an ‘exciting agenda’ of proposed new laws on October 14.

Even so, the director of the Hansard Society which compiles official parliamentary records, Ruth Fox, told the BBC the planned five-week prorogation  was “significantly longer” than would normally be needed to start a new parliamentary session.

Opponents of Mr Johnson said the move was transparently a bid to take power from MPs and it was inappropriate to remove time for them to debate as the UK potentially heads into a no-deal Brexit in two months, regardless of how long the session has gone on.

Protestors last night gathered in Parliament Square before spreading down towards Downing Street.

One protestor from large Kent-based group TW-IN, Sebastian St John, said: “The atmosphere was very different to previous rallies. Much more anger and a feeling that there will be more direct action moving forward.

“I'm not convinced anything other than direct action will have an impact as our government has been taken over by the asylum. There were plenty of leave supporter placards in these crowds last night who also don't want a no deal and feel Boris Johnson's actions are just plain wrong.”

Gina Miller, the businesswoman who launched legal action to ensure the UK did not leave the EU without MPs voting on it, has applied for judicial review of the prime minister’s actions. Meanwhile Scotland’s top civil court is also considering a challenge to the suspension of parliament led by SNP MP Joanna Cherry and with the support of barrister Jolyon Maugham’s Good Law Project.

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