We stand ready to protect our democracy and stop Boris Johnson in his tracks

We are now less than 60 days away from the October Brexit deadline and Westminster finds itself being shackled by an unelected Prime Minister who is intent on riding roughshod over our democracy.

The decision by Boris Johnson – without a mandate and without a majority – to suspend Parliament weeks before the UK’s scheduled exit from the EU will curtail Parliament and deny MPs the chance to hold the government to account.

Accountability is one of the most basic functions of any democratic country, and without it we are heading into uncharted and dangerous territory.

Boris Johnson’s assault on democracy marks a far cry from his Vote Leave days of “taking back control”. Instead what we are witnessing is a Prime Minister displaying all the traits of a dictator as he hoards power in Whitehall to impose his “do or die” plans.

If this is Johnson’s first move only weeks after being handpicked for the highest office in the UK by a group of Tory activists rather than the public, then I worry to think what he has in store for Scotland in the months ahead.

That is why as MPs return from recess this week – and with the clock ticking down – it is vital we work together and across party lines to find routes to unshackle Parliament and stop this Prime Minister in his tracks.

The SNP has been clear – we will work with colleagues in Parliament to stop a catastrophic no-deal Brexit, which we know will leave us all poorer and worse off.

We are open to exploring any and every avenue to implement legislation to stop a no-deal, and we would back a no-confidence motion in this government to remove the Tories from office.

However, if Boris Johnson gets his way to shut down Parliament, the return from recess will be a short one. To challenge that immediate threat, this Tuesday a cross-party effort led by my colleague Joanna Cherry will have their case heard in full over whether or not prorogation should be stopped, and if the move by Boris Johnson was unlawful and unconstitutional.

In Parliament and in the courts, the SNP stand ready to protect our democracy and our economic and social interests.

The coming days and weeks will be crucial. MPs from all sides must put their party interests to one side and put the interests of the country first. Ordinary families and individuals must not be forced to pay the price of a reckless and ideological Tory Brexit.

Economic analysis has already shown that crashing out of the EU without a deal will be devastating for people in Scotland – costing up to 100,000 jobs and hitting people’s pockets to the tune of £2,300 a year per person. That is a price that our constituents must not pay.

The threat to Scotland from Westminster is serious and growing. Throughout the Brexit process we have been completely ignored – and the events of the past week have underlined the rising and unsustainable cost to Scotland of not being independent.

It is no wonder that support for independence is at record levels. The people of Scotland deserve the choice of a better future than the Brexit Britain being imposed upon us.

It is now clear beyond any doubt that the only way to properly protect our interests is to become an equal and independent European country.

This article originally appeared in The Herald.