Plans to suspend the Westminster parliament have been condemned as an “outrage” by Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.
News broke on Wednesday morning that the government was preparing to ask the Queen to suspend parliament, giving Prime Minister Boris Johnson the chance to hold a Queen’s Speech detailing his administration’s plans on 14th October.
The UK is due to exit the European Union – “do or die”, according to Mr Johnson – on 31st October.
Mr Carmichael said the suspend parliament move was widely seen as an attempt to prevent those outside the government interfering with Brexit.
“This is an existential threat to parliamentary democracy,” said Mr Carmichael.
“These actions go beyond Brexit or any other constitutional issue. Parliament must stand strong against a government which seeks to undermine and sideline it. People who care about democracy, whatever their party, must put aside their differences to prevent this.”
The Liberal Democrat said it was unacceptable that Mr Johnson, who was selected by Conservative party members after Theresa May’s resignation, threatening parliamentary institutions.
“From a man who was put in power by a vote of fewer than 150,000 people, this is an outrage that cannot be allowed to stand.
“In years gone by the establishment used to protect our institutions. Now it is the Etonian elite who are putting them under threat.”
The BBC reported that a “No 10 source” had defended the move – known as prorogation – saying: “It’s time a new government and new PM set out a plan for the country after we leave the EU.”
UPDATE – 11.04am: Scottish Greens by-election candidate Debra Nicolson has added her voice to those condemning the UK government’s move to prorogue parliament.
She said: “The decision to suspend parliament is an unacceptable democratic outrage. We need opposition unity now to stop Boris Johnson’s power grab and in that spirit I hope all the other candidates will join me in condemning this.”
Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie added: “Boris Johnson led a Leave campaign which cheated and broke the law to win. It’s no surprise that now he’s the prime minister he is continuing his assault against democracy.
“If we need to ‘take back control’ from anyone, we need to take it back from him. Those who defend the UK’s unwritten constitution often say the Queen must be ‘kept out of politics’. The government is now asking her to suspend parliament for an explicitly political purpose – one for which there is no mandate.
“Any Head of State worthy of the title would say no. The people of Scotland are used to the UK government treating them with contempt, but this move by Johnson takes this contempt to a whole new level and reinforces the need for the people to have a say over the future direction of our country.”
UPDATE – 11.12am: SNP by-election candidate Tom Wills has also given his reaction.
“Today is a dark day for British democracy and proves once and for all that Westminster is not working,” he said.
“With 100 parliamentarians in Edinburgh, London and Brussels, the SNP is by far the biggest pro-European party in the UK.
“If elected as your MSP, I’ll fight this every step of the way – we can’t stand by and watch while the Tories strip away our democratic right to representation.
“We need to use our vote tomorrow to send Boris Johnson a message that Shetland won’t stand for Brexit and this shameful attack on democracy.”