There was a mixture of surprise and derision in Europe at Boris Johnson’s announcement that parliament would be suspended in October, days before Brexit.
The European Parliament’s Brexit Co-ordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, accused the British PM of “suppressing debate on profound choices.”
“Taking back control’ has never looked so sinister,” he tweeted, alluding to the notorious Leave campaign slogan of 2016. “As a fellow parliamentarian, my solidarity with those fighting for their voices to be heard.”
Mina Andreeva, spokeswoman for the European Commission, said that she would not be commenting "on internal political procedures of our member states," adding: "We are also not going to speculate what this means in terms of next steps in the UK's parliamentary procedures. I think this is for the UK to answer."
Nikolaus Blome, political editor of Germany’s Bild, said: “Because he wants to be the sole executor of the people's will, Boris Johnson has silenced the people's representatives and adjourned the parliament.”
Norbert Röttgen, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the German parliament, noted that Johnson had previously described leaving the EU on October 31 as necessary to ensure respect for democracy.
“As a fellow parliamentarian and democrat, I wonder: how does respect for democracy go together with suspending #parliament?” he asked.
Nathalie Loiseau, a former French minister, tweeted: “We could see a Brexit coming without agreement. Now it is also a Brexit without debate that looms. What disease does British democracy have that it fears debate before making one of the most important decisions in its history?"
There was a more raw response to Wednesday’s news from socialist German lawmaker Stefan Liebich, who simply tweeted: “WTF?!?”
He added: “What a crazy time when, as a leftist, you have to hope that the Queen will stop Boris Johnson.”