Worthing protesters block major road over Boris Johnson's parliamentary suspension

At least 100 demonstrators gathered outside Worthing town hall last night opposing controversial plans to suspend parliament until October.

A move by Boris Johnson to suspend parliament for five weeks was accepted by the Queen yesterday, with critics suggesting it was an attempt to stifle debate around Brexit and push through a no-deal Brexit on October 31.

Protesters gather outside Worthing town hall

Protesters gather outside Worthing town hall

Protesters at the town hall held placards calling the decision a 'coup' and an attack on democracy, while blocking traffic in Chapel Road for half an hour.

Jim Deen, Labour councillor for Central ward, said the protest was organised in under three hours, using social media.

“The response in such a short time was astonishing," he said.

"It was organised by Worthing Labour, but we had people here from all parties and those with no political affiliation, but all united in their anger at what is going on.

Protesters gather outside Worthing town hall

Protesters gather outside Worthing town hall

“The mood shown here in Worthing is being repeated across the country at similar events and will be sustained over the coming weeks. There will be further events over the coming weeks and we are determined to win this fight for our democratic rights."

Opposition MPs have vowed to challenge the suspension, which would see parliament remain closed from no earlier than September 9, and no later than September 12, until October 14.

Mr Johnson said his Government would deliver its Queen's Speech on October 14, where the party would set out its forthcoming agenda. It is standard for parliament to be suspended before a Queen's Speech, but the prorogation would see that time period extended.

Parliament was due to recess on September 14, but the early closure - known as prorogation - would see several crucial days of Brexit debate in the House of Commons lost and less time for anti-no deal MPs to try to force through legislation to block a no deal Brexit.

Protesters gather outside Worthing town hall

Protesters gather outside Worthing town hall

A national petition opposing the proroguing has already reached more than one million signatures.

Addressing the protesters last night, Helen Silman, Labour Councillor for Heene ward said she understood the anger and frustration felt by so many about the actions taken by the Government.

“The move to silence Parliament is a direct attack on our democracy," she said.

"One man, elected by less than one hundred thousand members of the Conservative Party, is stifling our hard fought for democracy. Our future and the future of our children is on the line. We have to work together across parties to stop this.”

Protesters gather outside Worthing town hall

Protesters gather outside Worthing town hall

Yesterday, Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley called for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to release the party whip after Mr Corbyn urged opposition MPs to push for a general election. Read more here: Worthing MP’s Brexit letter to Jeremy Corbyn: ‘your approach is not offering benefit’

Around 100 protesters gathered outside Worthing Town Hall yesterday evening to express their anger over Boris Johnson’s unprecedented decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks. The impromptu demonstration reflected the anger and concern of so many in Worthing who fear the consequences of a no-deal Brexit. Demonstrators sat down in Chapel Road and caused it to be closed to traffic for around half an hour by the police.

“We organised it in less than three hours using social media to get the message out,” said Cllr Jim Deen, Labour Councillor for Central Ward.

Addressing the protesters Cllr Helen Silman, Labour Councillor for Heene Ward said, she understood the anger and frustration felt by so many about the actions taken by the Johnson Government. “The move to silence Parliament is a direct attack on our democracy. One man, elected by less than one hundred thousand members of the Conservative Party, is stifling our hard fought for democracy. Our future and the future of our children is on the line. We have to work together across parties to stop this.”

Cllr Deen said it was important that people took heart from the strength of feeling and unity that was so obvious at the event.