British parliament closure branded ‘a form of putsch’ in France

British parliament closure branded 'a form of putsch' in France
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow. Photo: AFP
'Playing with fire' and 'a form of putsch' was the response in France to Boris Johnson's efforts to shut down the UK parliament until mid October.

There was shock in the UK on Wednesday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed that he intends to ask the Queen to suspend the British parliament from September 9th until October 14th – just three weeks before the current Brexit date of October 31st.

The speaker of the British parliament John Bercow described the move as a “constitutional outrage” and there was condemnation of the move across the Channel in France too.

The left-leaning French daily newspaper Libération published a scathing piece denouncing the move as “what looked very much like a form of disguised putsch, orchestrated, for once, by the government in power. Unless we are talking about a declaration of war by the government in the British Parliament.”


The piece, by the paper's London correspondent Sonia Delesalle-Stolper, went on to speculate the the Queen “probably choked on her porridge” upon hearing the news and added: “The undisguised objective of this absolutely extraordinary decision is to prevent members of the House of Commons from debating and legislating to block a Brexit without agreement on October 31st.”

Libération has previously seemed fairly unimpressed with Boris Johnson, describing him as a “future Queen's jester” when he became Prime Minister earlier this summer.

The conservative French daily Le Monde also reported the closure, adding that “In London, the 'no-deal' battle begins”.

Le Monde was not alone in the French press in pointing out that the pound fell sharply against the euro and the dollar after the announcement.

Radio station France Info also reported this, describing the move as a “thunderstorm in the United Kingdom” and adding that the falling pound “reinforces the hypothesis of a no-deal Brexit”.

Also describing the move as a “thunderclap across the Channel” L'Express added with a certain amount of understatement that “for reasons of timing, such a decision could complicate the task of elected officials wishing to prevent an exit without EU agreement.” 

Scathing comments greeted Johnson's appointment as British Prime Minister. Photo: AFP

Perhaps the bluntest assessment came from the centre right French daily Le Point, which headlined its article “Brexit: to counter opposition, the government suspends Parliament” before going on to warn that the move “will certainly trigger the wrath of many British elected officials”.

The French media were on the whole unimpressed when Boris Johnson – who has a long history of 'French bashing' – became Prime Minister in July.

As well as the aforementioned 'Queen's jester' from Libération, comments included a “known buffoon” and “dangerous”.



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