Johnson accuses lawmakers of blocking Brexit as parliament resumes

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Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday accused British lawmakers of trying to stop the country from leaving the European Union, saying parliament had become “paralysed.”

“This parliament does not want Brexit to happen at all,” Johnson told parliament as it resumed sitting after the Supreme Court ruled that his suspension of it was unlawful and had “prevented parliament from carrying out its normal role.”

He ignored more calls to resign or apologise for the suspension, saying the court was wrong to intervene on “what is essentially a political question, at a time of great national controversy.”

By continuing to oppose his plans for Brexit on Oct. 31, with or without a deal, the lawmakers are preventing him from “delivering on the people’s priorities” in health services, policing and other areas, Johnson added.

He faced more shouts for him to resign from opposition lawmakers.

“No one can trust this prime minister. For the good of this country, he should go,” Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said.

Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party’s leader in parliament, also urged Johnson to step down, saying his presence in the house showed he “does believe he is above the law.”

Blackford accused Johnson of using “despicable… language that is not suitable for the leader of any country.” He highlighted his description of legislation designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit on Oct. 31 as a “surrender act.”

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage also suggested to broadcaster ITV earlier Wednesday that Johnson should step down.

Johnson dared the opposition leaders to submit a motion of confidence in his government, which could lead to an election if he lost.

“They want a change of government, let them have an election. Will they have the courage to act or will they refuse to take responsibility yet again and do nothing but dither and delay?” Johnson said.

Johnson had said he wanted to suspend parliament until Oct. 14 to clear the way for a new government work programme to be launched in a new session of parliament.

Opposition accused him of seeking to limit the time for scrutiny of his plans for Britain to leave the European Union, with or without a deal, on October 31.

Johnson has also been criticised for failing to comply with a parliamentary order to publish details of his decision to suspend parliament and how the government compiled an impact assessment for a possible no-deal Brexit.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox, who advised Johnson on the suspension and has also faced calls to resign, said he would “consider whether the public interest might require a greater disclosure of the advice given to the government.”

Labour has said it wants to table a confidence motion once it has made sure that Britain cannot leave the EU without a deal on Oct. 31.

“If he wants an election, get an extension (to Brexit) and let’s have an election,” Corbyn told parliament.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said her party also will not back a no-confidence motion, or an election, until a no-deal Brexit has been ruled out.

Lawmakers have twice voted down Johnson’s attempts to hold an early election, amid fears that he could choose a date that minimises parliamentary time before the Oct. 31 deadline.

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