instagram envelope_alt facebook twitter search youtube_play whatsapp remove external_link loop2 arrow-down2

Boris Johnson: Pardon my French but give me a break on shutdown

Class clown: Boris Johnson has pupils giggling during his visit to Pimlico primary school in west London, where he tried out some elementary French PICTURE: AFP/GETTY

BORIS JOHNSON defended his shutdown of parliament yesterday, telling his critics to ‘donnez-moi un break’.

The prime minister lurched into his own unique French translation of ‘give me a break’ to insist the five-week closure had nothing to do with Brexit.

But he has until 11pm tonight to reveal secret discussions behind the decision to send MPs home and the Yellowhammer no-deal plans after he was accused of trashing democracy amid chaotic scenes in the Commons.

‘We need a Queen’s Speech,’ he said as he visited a west London primary school. ‘That’s why Parliament is in recess now because you always have a recess before a Queen’s Speech.

‘And anybody who says all this stuff about it being anti-democratic — I mean donnez-moi un break — what a load of nonsense.’

The PM attacked Labour after they again rejected his bid for a general election, and he insisted Brexit remains on course for October 31.

As he addressed the TUC Congress in Brighton, the Labour leader said the PM was ‘running away from scrutiny’ and promised the ‘biggest people-powered campaign we’ve ever seen’.

‘He wants to stage a showdown over a no-deal Brexit that he can package as a battle between parliament and the people,’ Jeremy Corbyn said. ‘But the idea that Johnson and his wealthy friends and backers somehow represent the people is truly absurd. So a general election is coming. But we won’t allow Johnson to dictate the terms.’

Mr Corbyn said a Labour government would offer a referendum between Remain and a ‘credible option to leave’ but did not commit to personally campaign for either.

Mr Johnson said he was confident of getting a new deal before being forced to ask the EU for a Brexit extension on October 19. And his chances were boosted as it was claimed up to 50 Labour MPs would be prepared to vote for a revised deal.

‘Even at this 11th hour we think there is time to do it,’ said Labour’s Stephen Kinnock as he joined Tory MPs at the launch of the ‘MPs for a Deal’ group. ‘We have something here which is the basic foundation of a perfectly pragmatic deal,’ he said.

A spokesman for the PM criticised MPs’ demand for background documents on the decision to suspend parliament but said the government would decide how to respond ‘in due course’.

In the early hours of yesterday morning, Mr Johnson lost his second bid for a snap general election amid angry scenes in the Commons.

The vote was followed by the prorogation of Parliament with some Labour MPs holding signs bearing the word ‘silenced’ and shouting ‘shame on you’.

The prorogation, suspending Parliament for five weeks, makes a general election extremely unlikely until at least mid-November.