Boris Johnson has dismissed as a “load of nonsense” accusations that suspending Parliament is “anti-democratic”.
The Prime Minister made the comments during a visit to a year four history class at London’s Pimlico Primary school on Tuesday.
He said: “We need a Queen’s Speech – that’s why Parliament is in recess now because you always have a recess before a Queen’s Speech.
“And anybody who says it’s all – this stuff about it being anti-democratic – I mean donnez-moi un break – what a load of nonsense.
“We were very, very clear that if people wanted a democratic moment, if they wanted an election, we offered it to the Labour opposition and mysteriously they decided not to go for it.”
It follows an evening of chaotic scenes in the Commons after Mr Johnson was defeated for a sixth time when his motion to call an early general election failed and Parliament was officially suspended for five weeks at around 1.45am.
Some Labour MPs held signs bearing the word “silenced” and shouted “shame on you” as the prorogation ceremony unfolded.
The move has been slammed by MPs from across the political spectrum, with Commons Speaker John Bercow calling it a “constitutional outrage” and former chancellor Philip Hammond describing it as “profoundly undemocratic”.
“It’s the end of a very long and shameful day,” wrote Luciana Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree.
“Parliament is now closed and our democracy silenced for 5 weeks.”
Ms Berger, now a Lib Dem after defecting from the Labour Party in part because of Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of Brexit, added a photo of one of the many handwritten “Silenced” signs left in the Commons.
As opposition MPs staged a sit-in in the chamber, many singing songs of defiance such as the Red Flag, the tweets flew thick and fast.
One was from famed British historian Sir Simon Schama.
“Shutting parliament during the gravest national crisis since the war is an act of grotesque cowardice; but history will remember the infamy and those responsible for it with indelible contempt,” Dr Schama wrote.
The Lib Dems’ Brexit spokesman Tom Brake wrote: “Shutting down parliament may be a relief for Mr Johnson, but avoiding scrutiny at this critical time for the UK is damaging and unconstitutional.”
His party’s leader Jo Swinson lamented on “a bad day for parliamentary democracy” laced by “brash, braying, bravado” from Mr Johnson.
Deputy Labour Leader John McDonnell tweeted that defiant Opposition MPs would “never let this extreme right win Tory sect silence our democracy”.
“The closing down of Parliament by Johnson & the Tories provoked anger in the Commons,” Mr McDonnell wrote.
“But also in the final moments of this Parliamentary session a defiant burst of singing of the ‘Red Flag’ by Labour MPs. We will never let this extreme right wing Tory sect silence our democracy.
Amid furious scenes in the chamber Mr Corbyn said he would not let his party walk into “traps laid by this Prime Minister”.
“This Government is only interested in shutting down Parliament to avoid any scrutiny,” the Labour leader said.