LONDON — Boris Johnson will suspend parliament tonight until Oct. 14 even if he fails in a second bid to trigger a general election.
The prime minister will move the motion for prorogation after members of parliament vote on a snap election late on Monday, or in the early hours of Tuesday morning, depending on Commons business.
Opposition leaders have made clear they will oppose an election, meaning parliament will almost certainly return on Oct. 14, three days before a crunch European Union summit at which Johnson hopes to get a new Brexit deal.
Johnson’s official spokesman also confirmed that the cross-party legislation to block a no-deal Brexit, which passed through parliament last week, would get royal assent today, allaying fears that the government could veto it.
Despite the passage into law of the so-called Benn bill, the spokesman insisted Johnson’s government would not request a Brexit delay.
What is prorogation?
The prorogation ceremony will see MPs summoned by Black Rod — a senior parliamentary official — to the House of Lords, where peers will doff their hats and MPs will bow in return.
An official acting on behalf of the Queen will then read out which pieces of legislation have been given royal assent during the parliamentary session.
As each act of parliament is announced the clerk of parliament turns to face MPs to declare “la reyne le veult” — Norman French for “the Queen wishes it.”
Bills that have not received royal assent will either fall away, or have to restart their passage through parliament in the next session, which will be opened by a Queen’s Speech setting out the government’s new proposed laws.
MPs then vote on whether to approve the Queen’s Speech, and could trigger an election if they reject it.
The legislation compels the government to ask the EU for an Article 50 extension if it fails to get approval for a Brexit deal or leaving with no deal by Oct. 19.
But fuelling speculation that Johnson would rather quit than obey the Benn bill, the spokesman said: “There is a simple way for MPs to resolve this, all they have to do is vote for an election today so the British public can decide whether they want to get Brexit done on October 31.
“The prime minister is very clear that he will take this country out of the EU on October 31, no ifs or buts, he will not sanction any more pointless delays.”
The suspension of parliament means Johnson will have faced just one prime minister’s questions session between entering Number 10 on July 24 and the middle of October — nearly three months.
He will also avoid a grilling from senior MPs on the Commons liaison committee, which was scheduled for Wednesday.
This story has been updated.