Thousands of people gather for political protest in Sheffield city centre

Thousands of people gathered for a rally in Sheffield today in protest at Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament - widely believed to be an attempt to force through a no-deal Brexit.

Monday, 2nd September 2019, 10:34 am

Critics claim the five-week suspension starting on September 10 – just days after MPs return from the summer recess - is an 'undemocratic' attempt to stop Parliament from blocking a no deal Brexit.

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But Mr Johnson said a Queen's Speech would take place after the suspension on October 14 to outline his 'very exciting agenda' and the Government gave assurances MPs will still have time to debate Brexit before the UK leaves the European Union at the end of October.

Protestors outside Sheffield City Hall to oppose the suspension of Parliament by PM Boris Johnson Labour MP for Heeley Louise Hague

An estimated crowd of about 3000 people gathered outside Sheffield City Hall this morning to hear cross-party politicians from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, plus community activists and union representatives, outline their case against the Government.

Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh criticised the Prime Minister's 'reckless, shameless attempt to undermine our democracy'.

She added: "Parliament is an arena for debate, for disagreement and yes disappointment. It is often messy and frustrating but it is ours and when Boris Johnson attempts to shut down Parliament, he is not only attempting to silence MPs, he is attempting to silence your voices aswell."

Protestors outside Sheffield City Hall to oppose the suspension of Parliament by PM Boris Johnson Green Parties former Leader Natalie Bennett

Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith later took to the microphone and was jeered by a section fo the crowd.

Ms Smith was forced to make a public apology earlier this year after she sparked a racism row on the day she left the Labour party to become an independent.

During an interview with the BBC, she said: “It's not just about being black or a funny tinge..." before breaking off and commenting "from the BAME community."

As she started to speak today, there were chants of 'out, out out' and some people urged her to call a 'by-election'.

Protestors outside Sheffield City Hall to oppose the suspension of Parliament by PM Boris Johnson

Ms Smith criticised the 'increasingly right-wing Tory government denying the voices of the 48 per cent' who voted to remain in the EU.

Olivia Blake, who recently quit as deputy leader of Sheffield City Council and is Labour's parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam, blasted Boris Johnson's 'undemocratic decision' and added: "This attack on our democracy needs to be opposed."

The protest was one of more than 30 organised today in towns and cities across the country by the anti-Brexit campaign group Another Europe Is Possible.

A number of Sheffield MPs have signed the Church House Declaration against the Government's plans.

Protestors outside Sheffield City Hall to oppose the suspension of Parliament by PM Boris Johnson

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described Mr Johnson's move as "a smash-and-grab on our democracy" in order to force through no-deal by leaving MPs without enough time to pass laws in Parliament.

He has pledged to try and stop the suspension.

Mr Johnson said he wants to leave the EU at the end of October with a deal, but is willing to leave without one rather than miss the deadline.

He added he did not want to wait until after Brexit "before getting on with our plans to take this country forward.”

Protestors outside Sheffield City Hall to oppose the suspension of Parliament by PM Boris Johnson