BORIS Johnson claimed, as he played his hand and obtained the Queen’s permission for a lengthy suspension of Parliament during a crucial period for opponents trying to thwart a catastrophic no-deal Brexit, that the economy would be among the beneficiaries of his grand scheme.

Wow! Even an awareness of Mr Johnson’s brass neck does not prepare you for that kind of departure from reason.

What happens with Brexit is, undoubtedly, the big determinant of the UK’s economic fortunes, in the short, medium and long term. So Mr Johnson’s surreal declaration that his move to prorogue Parliament will somehow help the UK become a high-wage and high-productivity economy would be utterly laughable, if the whole situation were not so alarming. And make no mistake: we are in a terrifying place here.

As the Prime Minister’s political play caused alarm among those trying to prevent a no-deal Brexit and consequent economic carnage, Mr Johnson was claiming the suspension of Parliament was all to do with bringing forward legislation for his Government’s “very exciting agenda”. He even put a bizarre video to this effect on his Twitter account.

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No doubt many Brexiters, for ideological reasons, might consider a no-deal departure “very exciting”. They might not view it as so exciting when it triggers a recession for a UK economy already on its knees, with consequent job losses and a major hit to living standards.

It must also be said that Mr Johnson does appear very excited as he pursues a UK departure from the European Union by October 31 “no matter what” with a strange lack of fear of a no-deal exit. However, he was not making a big deal of the Brexit thing in his promotional video. Rather, he was claiming the hugely unusual move to suspend Parliament for about five weeks, until October 14, was about the National Health Service, keeping the streets safe and, of course, the economy.

The business community’s response made it clear that it was far, far more worried about a no-deal Brexit than it was excited by Mr Johnson’s promise of a high-wage, high-productivity UK economy.

It is worth observing the Brexit vote has in itself, even before we get to the exit, caused massive damage to the UK’s productivity by hammering business investment.

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And the drag it has inflicted on the UK economy has no doubt held back people’s wages. Maybe Mr Johnson is referring to upward pressure on wages if the Conservatives’ planned clampdown on immigration leads to dramatic shortages of workers? However, such shortages would seriously hold back economic growth, and thus restrict companies’ ability to pay higher wages so he can surely not be thinking of that.

The UK is already suffering from a plunge in net immigration to the UK from other EU countries. Brexit, under any scenario other than continued single-market membership, will ensure things get a whole lot worse on this front in short order. The long-term effects will be horrible, given the UK’s ageing population and the country’s need for younger workers from elsewhere in the EU to fill job vacancies and help boost economic growth and pay the taxes that will support public services and pensions.

Then again, we’ve seen the state pension does not appear to be a priority for former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, given his Centre for Social Justice think-tank’s proposal that the state pension age rises to 70 by 2028 and 75 by 2035. Will this be the Tory grand plan to address hugely damaging shortages of workers after Brexit – make people work to a ridiculously unreasonable age?

Adoption of this proposal, or similar measures, would represent a further dismal savaging of the welfare state, building on the horror of nearly a decade of benefit cuts from the Tories. The austerity to date has, like the Brexit folly, hammered the UK economy. And depriving the UK of younger workers, while forcing people who want to retire to remain employed because they have no state pension, would not help productivity.

Staying with the economy and returning to the no-deal danger, business organisations, which were more than measured in their reception of Mr Johnson’s ascension to Prime Minister in July, were pulling no punches when reacting to news of the suspension of Parliament.

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Mr Johnson seems to view his “no matter what” pledge on an October 31 Brexit as something that strengthens his negotiating stance. And he seems to think his political opponents in Parliament, with their attempts to prevent a foolish no-deal exit at any cost, are somehow cramping his style. The fact of the matter is that those MPs, from across party lines, who are pulling out all the stops to ensure a no-deal Brexit is avoided, are doing what Mr Johnson should be doing: looking after the country, its economy, and the living standards of the people.

In any case, if anyone appreciates the importance of a strong negotiating position, it is the business community. And it seems to think Mr Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament for a lengthy period at this crucial time is simply a bad idea.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesses in Scotland feel as if their pleas for a return to political sanity are falling on deaf ears as this dangerous game of Westminster brinkmanship escalates.”

She highlighted the real-world effects of the Tories’ Brexit odyssey, declaring: “Continuing political turbulence is taking a measurable toll on contracts, on investment decisions, and on business confidence.” And she warned: “We need to avoid a disorderly exit from the EU come 31 October. None of the events of the last few days have given businesses greater confidence that this will be achieved.”

The all-too-real Brexit effects were also highlighted by Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, on a visit to Glasgow last week. She observed Scottish exporters were already losing market share and were fearful of much worse to come.

Adam Marshall, director-general of British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesses feel like Westminster is playing an endless game of political chess, while their futures and the health of the UK economy hang in the balance.”

So, while Mr Johnson might view himself as a fine negotiator, the business community seems most unimpressed by his antics. Many millions of UK households will be at least as unimpressed, and rightly so.