After sitting for 824 days—the longest time since World War II—the UK Parliament prorogued last night in a scene reminiscent of 1629:
The chaos unfolded in the early hours of Tuesday morning, after a day of high drama in which Boris Johnson lost his sixth parliamentary vote in as many days and Bercow announced his impending retirement as Speaker.
As the prorogation got under way, Bercow expressed his anger, saying it was “not a normal prorogation”.
“It is not typical. It is not standard. It’s one of the longest for decades and it represents, not just in the minds of many colleagues, but huge numbers of people outside, an act of executive fiat,” he said.
As Bercow spoke, opposition MPs held signs reading “silenced” and some attempted to block his way.
One of those involved in the protest, Alex Sobel, Labour MP for Leeds North West, said the action “echoes the action of members to try and prevent the speaker proroguing at the request of Charles I”, referring to the 1629 incident when MPs, furious at the closure of parliament, left their seats and sat on the Speaker, preventing him from rising and closing the house, allowing MPs to pass a number of motions condemning the king.
Bercow was not sat on, and was soon allowed to pass through the House of Commons to attend the House of Lords.
I found the whole session yesterday completely fascinating. PM Boris Johnson lost his sixth consecutive vote when the House declined to hold an early election (for now), as the opposition parties united in a demand that a no-deal Brexit be forestalled. But what will happen on October 31st is anyone's guess at the moment.
The Liberal Democrats have announced the will call for a repeal of Article 50 (i.e., Brexit) in the next election. The Conservatives, under Johnson and in collusion with Ukip extremists, will continue to support a no-deal Brexit.
This has been an historic Parliament. The next one will be even weirder.