BORIS Johnson is facing a massive backlash over his plans to suspend Parliament for more than a month in the run up to Brexit.

In the first resignation to hit the Prime Minister, Tory grandee Lord Young said he was “very unhappy at the timing and length” of the five-week shut down and could no longer serve as a whip.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson's move to prorogue Parliament challenged in court

Insisting he was “not part of any Remainer plot”, he said: “As a former Leader of the House of Commons in the coalition government who restored to the Commons some of the powers it had lost to the executive, I am very unhappy at the timing and length of prorogation, and its motivation.

“While not agreeing with the hyperbole of some critics, I have been unpersuaded by the reasons given for that decision, which I believe risks undermining the fundamental role of Parliament at a critical time in our history and reinforces the view that the Government may not have the confidence of the House for its Brexit policy.”

Johnson announced on Wednesday that Parliament would be prorogued from the week after next until 14 October, when a Queen’s Speech will set out the Government’s legislative agenda.

Critics have accused Downing Street of trying to limit the time available to opposition and rebel Tory MPs who want to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October.

Lord Young, who also served as a minister under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, added: “A deal may be secured with the EU at the last minute, and more time may be needed to get the withdrawal agreement through both Houses with the scrutiny it deserves.”

The SNP’s Joanna Cherry, who is among the MPs behind a legal challenge to the suspension of Parliament, hit out at the stated reason Johnson had given – to bring forward its legislative plans on domestic issues – after video emerged of Defence Secretary Ben Wallace appearing to say Parliament was being suspended to get Brexit “sorted”.

The National:

He was caught on camera discussing the PM’s decision with the French defence minister Florence Parly, saying that Parliament had been “very good at saying what it doesn’t want, but… awful at saying what it wants”.

Cherry highlighted the video on Twitter and wrote: “I’ve drawn this admission to the attention of our legal team. Defence Secretary backs up what we contend - that #prorogation of Parliament is for an improper purpose & therefore unlawful #Brexit #Cherrycase #StopTheCoup.”

Meanwhile, Tory rebels were gathering behind opposition bids to fight Johnson’s decision.

Despite having little time, MPs still have options for trying to block a No-Deal Brexit. They could try to take control of the parliamentary timetable in order to pass legislation which would force the PM to request an extension to the Brexit deadline. Another option would be to remove the current government through a vote of no confidence.

David Lidington, who was Theresa May’s de facto deputy, said he disagreed “very strongly” with the decision to suspend Parliament and hit back at Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, who had suggested the shut down was “completely constitutional and proper”.

The former chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster told the BBC: “I think if this had been done by a Labour government, never mind one led by Jeremy Corbyn, then Jacob Rees-Mogg would have been leading the denunciations of it and some of my Tory colleagues who are cheering at the moment would have been turning purple with rage. One of the big objections I have to this decision, which I do disagree with strongly, is it sets a very bad precedent for future governments. I think that it is not a good way to do democracy.”

Tory MP Ken Clarke described suspending Parliament as absurd and said Johnson had given in to fanatics. He said: “He has just given in to the fanatic element of his followers and decided to go hell for leather. I hope it will bring together the sensible majority of Parliament who will find some alternative.”

When asked if he would serve in a caretaker government under Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, he added: “I would do anything necessary to stop this country going through the childishly disastrous mistake of crashing out with no deal.”

The former justice secretary David Gauke said it looks like next week is “the only opportunity” for MPs to act before the UK leaves the EU. He argued the public did not want a No-Deal Brexit but that the options of those opposed to such an exit have “now narrowed”. He added: “That would suggest we need to move sooner rather than later.”

Meanwhile, more than one million people have signed a petition opposing Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament.

In a separate move demonstrations are being organised by trade unions and anti-Brexit campaigners under the hashtag #StopTheCoup.