As British politics grapples with how to handle Brexit, Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson against going ahead with his decision to suspend – or prorogue – parliament. Going forward with the controversial plan, an attempt to stop MPs from preventing the UK from leaving the European Union without a deal, would be setting a bad example for the rest of the world.
Soyinka, speaking with the BBC, called on Commonwealth member countries to send a fact-finding mission to the UK on the issue. “I never thought I would live to see a prime minister prorogue parliament, I mean what is this, Oliver Cromwell come back?” the Nigerian writer told BBC’s Newsday programme on Monday.
“I think the fellow members of the Commonwealth should sit up and take note and examine the protocols of British associations and see whether Britain merits suspension from the Commonwealth for setting a bad example in democratic practice,” he added.
Meanwhile, the British government suffered defeat in parliament on Tuesday in the first stage of the MPs attempt to pass a law designed to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
In a huge blow to Prime Minister Johnson, Tory rebels and opposition in the Commons voted 328 to 301 to take control of the agenda, meaning they can bring forward a bill seeking to delay the UK’s exit date.
In response, Johnson said he would bring forward a motion for an early general election if he was forced to request an extension to the 31 October deadline. MPs will now vote on the Brexit delay bill. If it passes, the vote on whether to hold an election will follow.