The issue of proroguing Parliament before the Brexit deadline was first raised during the Conservative leadership contest, when Dominic Raab – now Foreign Secretary – refused to rule out the idea.
It was roundly criticized as undemocratic by a number of his colleagues, many of whom have not been so vocal since Johnson announced he would suspend Parliament on Wednesday.
A reminder – Johnson is not suspending Parliament during the Brexit period, as many Remainers claimed during the contest that he would do, and his plans to close the chamber before a Queen’s Speech are not unusual.
But there is also little doubt that the timing of the move is intended, in large part, to limit the amount of time lawmakers have to legislate against a no-deal Brexit – so it’s worth a refresher on what some of Johnson’s ministers said on the issue of suspending Parliament, as the clock ticks down to Brexit.
Amber Rudd: The former home secretary, and current Work and Pensions Secretary, was once an outspoken opponent of a no-deal Brexit, but she seems to have eased that stance more recently.
Then: In June, Rudd called the suggestion of proroguing Parliament “absolutely outrageous,” “extraordinary” and “ridiculous.”
Now: Rudd ducked questions about Johnson’s decision on Thursday, telling the Press Association: “I’m going to continue to do my job as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.”
Matt Hancock: A rival of Johnson’s in the Conservative leadership election, Hancock was kept in his role as Health Secretary by Johnson.
Then: Hancock said proroguing Parliament “undermines parliamentary democracy.” He added that doing so in order to explicitly pursue a no-deal Brexit “is not a serious policy,” and asked “what kind of message would this send around the world about our values?”
Now: Hancock has been quiet on Twitter and hasn’t made any public statements.
Sajid Javid: Another contender in the Tory leadership race, Javid is now Johnson’s Chancellor.
Then: “You don’t deliver democracy by trashing democracy – you can’t just shut down Parliament,” Javid said during the leadership contest. “We are not selecting a dictator of our country, we are selecting a prime minister of our country.”
Now: Javid hasn’t spoken to the media since Johnson suspended Parliament.