NEWS
29/08/2019 11:54 BST | Updated 29/08/2019 11:55 BST

Worried About Boris Johnson's Prorogation Of Parliament? Here Are 5 Things You Can Do

From protesting to deciding to sue the government yourself.

Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend parliament in order to ‘push through his new domestic agenda’ has sparked one of the most acrimonious public outbursts on all sides since the Brexit referendum.

Those opposed to a no-deal Brexit are outraged the PM is, in one protestor’s words, causing the “collapse of democracy”, while Johnson’s supporters are simply outraged at the outrage.  

Leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg dismissed concerns as “phoney” and insisted the move was not intended to limit the time available for MPs to debate Brexit but will allow the government to tackle other issues.

A recent YouGov poll suggests a large section of the British public doesn’t agree with Rees-Mogg, with 47% of people believing the prorogation of parliament is “not acceptable”, as opposed to 27% who are in favour.

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prorogation of parliament

So, if you’re one of those people and are feeling a little lost today, here are five ways to channel that despair into some sort of action.

1) Sign the petition

One quick and easy option to register your discontent is to add your name to the “Do not prorogue parliament” petition which currently has over 1.3 million signatures.

Any petition that secures 10,000 signatures is guaranteed a government response and 100,000 names sees the petitions committee consider it for debate by MPs.

The petition, which was created by Mark Johnston on parliament’s website, states that parliament should not be prorogued unless there is another extension of the Brexit deadline or the idea of leaving the European Union is scrapped altogether.

It says: “Parliament must not be prorogued or dissolved unless and until the Article 50 period has been sufficiently extended or the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU has been cancelled.”

2) Write to your MP

The traditional form of complaint is still effective and 1.3 million hand-written letters flooding the postboxes of Westminster would have a far larger impact than an online petition.

Of course, this being 2019 you can email if you prefer and there is even a handy website that will guide you through the entire process depending on where you live.

One advocate of this method is anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray, who yesterday filmed this little clip whilst stood next to a massive cannon.

3) Take to the streets

Within hours of Boris Johnson’s decision, an impromptu march on Westminster drew thousands.

Leading the charge was Labour’s Momentum, journalist Owen Jones and the group Another Europe Is Possible, with politicians, activists and citizens taking to a makeshift podium to address the crowd. 

If you fancy taking to the streets to make your voice heard, protests are being planned across the country on Saturday.

4) Sue the government

Bit trickier this one, admittedly. However, suing the UK government is pretty much the same as suing anyone, you just need some lawyers and some cash – but be prepared to lose a lot of it if you don’t win.

A safer bet is perhaps to show your support to someone with experience who can do it instead, and Gina Miller, who in 2016 successfully forced the government to allow MPs to vote before the it could invoke Article 50, is already on the case.

Barrister Tom Hickman tweeted that anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller “has issued proceedings to challenge prorogation. Mishcon de Reya, Lord Pannick QC, Warren Fitt and me acting”.

Speaking to BBC News, Miller said the PM was “hijacking the Queen’s prerogative power” and using it for “unscrupulous means”.

She added: “I think that is what so shocking about this, is that its a very cowardly way of using these powers and constitutional convention.

“Our unwritten constitution is a bit like a gentleman’s agreement, and you have to say it’s not been used in that manner.”

5) Vote the government out

Despite what some anti-Brexit protestors – and Nicola Sturgeon – would have you believe, we’re not quite at the stage of dictatorship just yet and democracy is still the norm in the UK. 

The chances of Johnson calling an early general election have risen considerably over the last few days.

With parliament due to return on Tuesday, MPs could table an immediate vote of no confidence in Johnson. If he lost, MPs could form an alternative government and a new PM – Jeremy Corbyn if he gets his way.

In order to head this off, the PM could call an early general election and this would be the chance for voters to deliver their verdict on his actions.

It remains to be seen whether his declaration of war against parliament will lead to electoral success.