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Church of Scotland joins criticism of Johnson's suspension of parliament and no deal Brexit

by Cara Bentley

Boris Johnson has asked the Queen if parliament can remain closed after the party conference season, which is around 13th September - 8th October, right up until the Queen's speech on 14th October. 

The House will return on Tuesday 3rd September for around 3-7 working days, with the House rising again at between 9th and 12th September. 

On Wednesday, the move was criticised by 25 Church of England bishops, who said it did not respect parliamentary sovereignty and raised their personal concerns over a no deal Brexit. 

The Church of Scotland (a separate denomination to the Church of England) has now added its voice to the matter. 

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, said: "We are deeply concerned to learn of proposals to suspend the Westminster parliament for several weeks during a crucial period before the UK's planned departure from the EU.

"Given the current context, this is not an act of good faith and undermines, rather than upholds, parliamentary democracy."

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons, said on Thursday that Mr Johnson's choice was not undemocratic and that outrage was "phoney". 

Rev Dr Richard Frazer added: "The Church of Scotland has repeatedly stated that Brexit is, and remains, a divisive issue and that leaving the EU without a deal would have a damaging, long-term impact on the poorest and most vulnerable people in our communities.

"The UK Government should work towards reaching consensus in all parts of the UK about our future relationship with the EU and use whatever mechanisms are necessary to create the time for this to happen.

"This latest, and seemingly cynical move, seems a step in the very opposite direction which increases the risk of the UK crashing out of the EU in a way that will cause real harm to our communities and our shared wellbeing."

A Scottish Court is hearing an attempt to block the Prime Minister's move, arguing that it would be unconstitutional and would have irreversible legal implications for the UK. 

The Court of Session in Edinburgh, part of the Supreme Court in Scotland, began hearing the case last month, led by SNP MP Joanna Cherry and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson.

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