The National Sheep Association (NSA) has hit out at a Government decision to suspend Parliament, though Number 10 has claimed it is ordinary procedure.
NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said he was ‘extremely concerned’ to hear the Prime Minister intended to prorogue Parliament to ‘force through a no-deal’.
It is standard practice for new Governments to ‘prorogue’ Parliament in order to start a new ‘session’, which begins with a speech from the Queen that sets out the legislative priorities of the incoming administration.
But the Prime Minister’s decision to prorogue one or two days earlier than planned in September for the party conference break, and to resume sitting on October 14, rather than October 7, means MPs will lose around four days to avoid a no-deal Brexit before the deadline of October 31.
The news comes shortly after a coalition of party leaders, including Labour, the SNP and Plaid Cymru, pledged to use a ‘legislative solution’ to block leaving the EU without a deal.
Mr Stocker said: “Mr Johnson has repeatedly said a no-deal Brexit is exceptionally unlikely, and while we have long been doubtful of the truth in that statement, we are very disappointed to see him adopt this tactic which prevents fair parliamentary debate, scrutiny and process and will make it easier for a no-deal to occur without Parliament being able to legislate to protect business.
“We cannot escape from the fact that heading off the cliff-edge into a no-deal is exceptionally damaging for the sheep industry and this news is deeply disturbing for farmers whose livelihoods and businesses are at risk.
“NSA again calls on the Government to step back and look at the individual businesses of farmers and other professions which may be seriously damaged by his blasé approach and do everything in its power to prevent a no-deal coming to fruition.”
A Number 10 source told the BBC it was ‘time a new Government and new PM set out a plan for the country after we leave the EU’.