A government whip has quit over Boris Johnson’s shock decision to suspend parliament just weeks before the UK could crash out of the EU.
Lord Young of Cookham said he was “very unhappy” about the prime minister’s controversial decision to prorogue parliament as the country hurtles towards a no-deal Brexit.
He said he was not the part of any “remainer plot”and was “very unhappy at the timing and length of the prorogation, and its motivation”.
He added: “While not agreeing with the hyperbole of some critics, I have been unpersuaded by the reasons given for that decision, which I believe risks undermining the fundamental role of parliament at a critical time in our history, and reinforces the view that the government may not have the confidence of the House for its Brexit policy.
His decision came within minutes of the bombshell resignation of Ruth Davidson as Scottish Conservative leader on Thursday.
Davidson, who has repeatedly clashed with Johnson, cited family reasons but warned the Brexit referendum should not be used as “a way for political leaders to fail to lead”, adding “respect is what is missing from our debates”.
She also highlighted “the conflict I have felt over Brexit”, adding: “I have attempted to chart a course for our party which recognises and respects the referendum result, while seeking to maximise opportunities and mitigate risks for key Scottish businesses and sectors.”
The resignations came as leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg hit back at the PM’s critics, saying the outpouring of outrage it triggered was “phoney” and “candy floss”.
The leading Brexiteer insisted the prorogation move was not intended to limit the time available for MPs to debate Brexit but will allow the government to tackle other issues.
He said: “I think the outrage is phoney and it is created by people who don’t want us to leave the European Union and are trying very hard to overturn the referendum result and don’t want the benefits of leaving the European Union.”
Thousands of people rallied for hours outside parliament on Wednesday night and more than one million people have also signed a petition calling on Johnson not to suspend parliament.
And some Conservative MPs opposed to a no-deal Brexit joined the chorus of disapproval as lawyers prepared legal challenges to the move in the English and Scottish courts.
Johnson said on Wednesday that he wanted to prorogue parliament in order to bring the current record-breaking session to a close in order to bring forward his government’s new legislative agenda.
But former Tory prime minister Sir John Major was among those who attacked the move, saying he was seeking advice on its legality.