THOUSANDS of people have attended a Brexit-focused demonstration organised by Otley’s MP.

The event, held in Leeds city centre on Saturday, August 31, was held to demonstrate against the prorogation - ie suspension - of Parliament.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gained approval last week for a five-week suspension which is set to run from mid-September until October 14. That would see MPs returning only a few weeks before the October 31 Brexit deadline.

The move has been branded undemocratic by many, including MP Alex Sobel (Lab, Leeds North West), who believe it is a clear attempt to stop MPs having enough time to prevent a ‘no-deal’ exit from the EU.

Mr Sobel addressed some 5,000 people at last Saturday’s rally in Cookridge Street, Leeds.

He told them: “Boris Johnston is trying to railroad our democratic institutions to push through a calamitous no-deal Brexit. This cannot and will not stand.

“Our entire democratic processes have been discarded and we will fight this with everything that we have.

“A no-deal Brexit is not democracy. Proroguing Parliament is not democracy. This is what democracy looks like.”

Otley resident Liz Carr was among those who attended. Speaking afterwards, she said: “It was an amazing day with an incredible atmosphere.

“We are just so disgusted by Boris Johnson and his childish, self-serving attitude playing politics with our institutions and one of the most important issues of our time.

“Thank you, Alex, for organising this. It is a comfort to have an MP who will fight for our country.”

Mr Sobel is also the lead signatory on a letter from 148 MPs that has gone to the Prime Minister demanding a reversal of Parliament’s suspension.

It says: “We will fight this within Parliament, and like the people who are protesting across the country, we will work together to defend our hard-won democracy to the last.

“Every day Parliament is sitting over the coming weeks must be dedicated to finding a way forward for our country on Brexit and to scrutinise your wider policy claims and announcements including the spending of billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on no deal instead of our public services, NHS and police.

“Now is not the time to curtail the sitting of Parliament, but to increase it. There is a grave danger that the Executive is seeking to undermine the sovereign body of Parliament for political gain, risking unprecedented constitutional upheaval.

“We urge you to reverse the prorogation immediately.”

The Liberal Democrats’ Parliamentary candidate for Leeds North West, Kamran Hussain, meanwhile has also condemned the Government’s move.

Mr Hussain joined an earlier protest - held in City Square, Leeds on Thursday, August 29 - that also called on Mr Johnson to think again. He said: “We had a very good turnout and I spoke along with Shaffaq Mohammed MEP, Councillor Stewart Golton, and a number of others.

“We all condemned the actions of Boris Johnson. This is not democracy. You cannot close down parliament and we will continue to campaign against a no-deal Brexit.”

Describing the prorogation of Parliament as ‘an act of cowardice’ from the Prime Minister, Mr Hussain added: “He knows the people would not choose a no-deal and that elected representatives wouldn’t allow it.

“He is trying to stifle their voices.

“By suspending Parliament to force through a no-deal Boris Johnson and the Government are removing the voice of the people at the most important time.

“It is a dangerous and unacceptable course of action which the Liberal Democrats will strongly oppose.

“The party will continue both our cross-party efforts to prevent no-deal and our fight to stop Brexit altogether.”