August 28, 2019 / 3:35 PM / 22 days ago

UK petition to stop parliament suspension exceeds 450,000 signatures

Anti- Brexit protestors hold placards outside Downing Street in London, Britain August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholl

LONDON (Reuters) - A petition opposing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for a month in the run-up to the planned Brexit date of Oct. 31 gained more than 450,000 signatures in a matter of hours after Johnson’s announcement.

Johnson set Oct. 14 for the formal state opening of a new session of parliament that is preceded by a suspension of the House of Commons, effectively shutting parliament from mid-September and limiting its ability to delay Brexit.

Johnson has pledged to take Britain out of the European Union by the end of October, even if this means leaving without a transition deal, something many businesses fear will create significant economic disruption.

The petition on the British parliament’s website reached 450,000 signatures shortly before 1530 GMT on Wednesday, easily exceeding the threshold of 100,000 which triggers a largely symbolic parliamentary debate.

A petition earlier this year calling for Brexit to be stopped gained a record 6.1 million signatures.

But this did nothing to shift the government’s view that it needs to implement the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum, in which Britons voted to leave the EU by a margin of 17.4 million to 16.1 million.

A YouGov opinion poll published earlier on Wednesday showed Britons opposed Johnson’s plan to ‘prorogue’ or suspend parliament by a margin of 47% to 27%, with 26% of the 5,734 adults surveyed not expressing a view.

Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg

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