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‘Declaration of war’: Boris Johnson triggers outrage with move to suspend parliament

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Wednesday that parliament would be suspended until October 14 — just two weeks before the UK is set to leave the EU — enraging anti-Brexit MPs.

The pound slid on the surprise news, which opponents branded a “coup” and a “declaration of war”.

The government’s move will give pro-EU lawmakers less time than they expected to try to thwart Johnson’s Brexit plans before Britain’s current EU departure date on October 31.

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Johnson said he had asked Queen Elizabeth II, the head of state, to recommence parliament with a speech on October 14 setting out his government’s legislative programme.

Anti-Brexit MPs reacted furiously, branding Johnson — who came to office only last month as head of the governing Conservative Party — a dictator.

John Bercow, the speaker of parliament’s lower House of Commons, described the move as a “constitutional outrage”.

– ‘Offense against democracy’ –

Johnson is due to attend one last EU summit on October 17 and 18, which could decide whether Britain leaves the bloc after four decades of membership with or without a divorce deal.

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AFP/File / Adrian DENNIS Boris Johnson became Britain’s prime minister in July 

“There will be ample time on both sides of that crucial October 17 summit, ample time in parliament for MPs to debate the EU, to debate Brexit and all the other issues,” he said.

Johnson’s announcement came after six opposition parties on Tuesday pledged to prioritize seeking legislative changes to prevent a no-deal Brexit rather than attempting to bring down the government, which has only a single-seat majority in parliament.

But Johnson said it was “completely untrue” that the move was designed to block MPs from stimying his Brexit plans.

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Instead, he said, it was to “bring forward a new bold and ambitious domestic legislative agenda for the renewal of our country after Brexit”.

In the seismic 2016 referendum on Britain’s EU membership, 52 percent voted in favor of leaving the bloc, a result that has left parliament and the country bitterly divided.

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Johnson insists Britain must leave the EU on the October 31 deadline — already twice-delayed — with or without a divorce deal from Brussels.

Parliament has rejected three times the withdrawal agreement struck between Brussels and Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May.

Speaker Bercow said he had had no contact from the government about the suspension decision.

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“It is blindingly obvious that the purpose of prorogation now would be to stop parliament debating Brexit and performing its duty in shaping a course for the country,” he said.

“Shutting down parliament would be an offense against the democratic process.”

The pound slumped almost one percent against the dollar and euro, hitting $1.2179, while the euro bought 91.09 pence.

Parliament returns from its summer break on September 3, but by convention it is suspended for the annual conferences of the three main parties which kick off on September 14 and end on October 2.

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Johnson wants parliament to return 12 days later on October 14.

– ‘Trashing the constitution’ –

Opposition MPs who are trying to stop Brexit lined up to condemn Johnson’s decision.

PRU/AFP/File / HO Parliamentary speaker John Bercow branded Johnson’s move a ‘constitutional outrage’

“This action is an utterly scandalous affront to our democracy. We cannot let this happen,” said Tom Watson, deputy leader of the main opposition Labour Party.

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The party’s finance spokesman John McDonnell called it a “coup”, while Labour former foreign secretary Margaret Beckett said Johnson was “trashing the constitution”.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake tweeted: “The mother of all parliaments will not allow him to shut the people’s parliament out of the biggest decision facing our country. His declaration of war will be met with an iron fist.”

Sarah Wollaston, a former Conservative MP who now sits with the Liberal Democrats, said Johnson was “behaving like a tin pot dictator”.

Fellow former Conservative MP Anna Soubry said British democracy was “under threat from a ruthless PM”.

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2020 Election

Jared Kushner is ‘officially overseeing’ Trump’s 2020 campaign ‘from his seat in the West Wing’: NY Times

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The administration of President Donald Trump has had multiple scandals for using federal government resources to aid his 2020 re-election campaign, but senior White House advisor Jared Kushner is his de facto campaign manager, The New York Times reported Thursday.

"Hours before the House Judiciary Committee was set to take a historic vote to push President Trump to the brink of impeachment, campaign officials gathered across the Potomac River for a state-of-the-race briefing in which they described how the Republican Party had been transformed into the “beer and bluejeans party” crafted in Mr. Trump’s image," the newspaper reported, despite the fact Trump claims he does not drink beer and is not known for wearing anything other than suits and golf attire.

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Republican Doug Collins furiously compares Democrats to ‘petulant children’ waiting up for Santa Claus

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At Thursday's impeachment markup in the House Judiciary Committee, ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA) began shouting in anger, and compared Democrats to 'petulant children' waiting up for Santa Claus.

"It is amazing to listen to my colleagues talk about how we do proper process and subpoenas," said Collins. "Let me take you through a wonderland trip, this year we issued more subpoenas and did more things amazingly outrageous than I could ever imagine. In fact, we learned some stuff this year. No offense to my chairman, he's doing as best he can to satisfy the many demands and go over to get impeachment over, but we learned this year subpoenas were — they just helped you look better in court. We learned subpoenas are a conversation starter. I'm not sure what that is about. I know in court they're not a conversation starter, they're compelling information. They're actually wanting us to move forward."

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Clint Eastwood slammed over ‘sex for stories’ portrayal

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Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood was at the center of a firestorm Thursday over his latest movie depicting a reporter trading sex for stories -- prompting legal threats over the "shocking" and "untrue" portrayal from her real-life newspaper.

"Richard Jewell" dramatizes the story of the innocent man who found himself targeted in a devastating media frenzy following a deadly blast at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Jewell was initially hailed as a hero after he spotted the pipe bomb but was soon identified by journalists including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Kathy Scruggs as an FBI suspect.

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