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The Editors

Suspending Britain’s Parliament Is an Act of Desperation

It might not be a constitutional outrage, but it’s wrong.

RIP good government.

RIP good government.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend Parliament is hardly the “coup” that his more emotional opponents have claimed. Even so, the move is shabby politics, a gamble that might well fail, and an eloquent demonstration of the prime minister’s weakness.

On Wednesday, Johnson asked Queen Elizabeth II to prorogue the legislature for five weeks before beginning a new session in mid-October, a little over two weeks before the Brexit deadline. This isn’t unprecedented or on the face of it unlawful. It still leaves time for the House of Commons to veto a no-deal Brexit if it can muster a majority for that. But proposed at a moment of national crisis, this suspension will be the longest in decades, and Johnson’s stated reason — that it’s necessary to introduce a “bold and ambitious” domestic agenda — is plainly dishonest.