Editor's note

Annabel Bligh, The Conversation’s business and economy editor in the UK, and I started the day yesterday discussing how the government was planning to hold a spending review (a process that normally takes months) in just one week. We were really surprised. But things quickly moved to a whole new level when, moments later, the prime minister, Boris Johnson confirmed a weekend report that he would move to suspend parliament. We forgot all about that spending review.

Because of the extraordinary proposal, which has been approved by the Queen, MPs will now see their time in the house shortened in the crucial weeks before the Brexit deadline on October 31. Opposition MPs, members of Johnson’s own party and even the speaker of the house lined up to decry the decision. The first minister of Scotland called Johnson a tin-pot dictator. Protests are being hastily scheduled, petitions are flying across the internet.

Johnson claims there’s nothing strange about any of this. He just wants some time to prepare a new parliamentary session to get legislation moving again after a period of stagnation. His opponents say that he is misusing his powers. They think he really wants to stop them legislating to avert a no-deal Brexit.

It’s a very complicated situation, so we lined up two experts to help us make sense of what looks like a decisive moment for British democracy. Can the PM get away with this and what options are left for MPs who oppose him? And, crucially, what is his strategy here? A game theory expert assesses whether such a high-risk tactic can win Johnson a new Brexit deal.

Laura Hood

Politics Editor, Assistant Editor

Top stories

EPA/Neil Hall

Suspending parliament could be the act of a credible madman or master bluffer – top game theorist on Boris Johnson

Abhinay Muthoo, University of Warwick

Is this all part of Boris Johnson's master plan to negotiate a better Brexit deal with the EU?

EPA/Mick Tsikas

Boris Johnson suspends parliament: what does it mean for Brexit and why are MPs so angry?

Amelia Hadfield, University of Surrey

MPs are calling it an attack on democracy, the government insists it's no big deal. Who is right in the battle for Brexit?

Lock the doors? PA

MPs are threatening to barricade themselves in if Boris Johnson prorogues parliament – here’s why they should be taken seriously

Martyn Bennett, Nottingham Trent University

Parliaments have been prorogued before – and revolution has ensued.

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