ANOTHER FINE MESS
■ JOHNSON DID BREAK LAW TO SHUT COMMONS, COURT RULES ■ HE’S ACCUSED OF LYING WHEN HE ASKED QUEEN FOR CONSENT ■ CALLS FOR HIM TO RESIGN IF HE FAILS TO OVERTURN RULING
BORIS JOHNSON was accused of lying to the Queen after judges ruled he unlawfully suspended parliament to shut down debate on Brexit.
The prime minister faced demands for him to immediately recall MPs as Scotland’s highest court dismissed his claim that the five-week closure was ordered merely to clear the path for his policy agenda.
The Queen (pictured) gave consent for parliament being prorogued after being told Mr Johnson just wanted to launch new legislation at the beginning of a new session, with a break before it began.
And the PM was warned last night he will be expected to resign if he loses an appeal against the Scottish ruling next week in the Supreme Court.
It came as the government handed further ammunition to critics by refusing to make public messages exchanged about the suspension by aides, as was demanded by the Commons on Monday. MP Dominic Grieve, expelled from the Tories for rebelling over Brexit, warned: ‘If the government misled the Queen
about the reasons for suspending parliament, it would be the moment for Mr Johnson to resign. Every MP that believes in our constitution would simply say, it’s over.’
The Court of Sessions in Edinburgh ruled on a case brought by 78 MPs after Mr Johnson first announced the suspension, which began on Tuesday. Judges said the PM was ‘motivated by the improper purpose of stymying parliament’. And they added: ‘His advice to HM the Queen and the prorogation which followed was unlawful and is thus null and of no effect.’
The High Court in London has declined to rule on a separate challenge to the suspension, saying it was a political matter. The conflicting judgments will be settled at a three-day Supreme Court hearing starting on Tuesday – and No.10 will not reopen parliament in the meantime.
‘Boris Johnson has lied to every other woman in his life,’ tweeted Labour’s Jess Phillips. ‘Why he’d make an exception for the Queen seems unlikely.’ Her colleague Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, urged MPs to head back to London, ‘open those doors, and get back in’.
Some of them did go back to the chamber, just to make a point.
It follows last week’s disasters in the Commons for Mr Johnson, who lost his debut vote as PM and failed even to persuade MPs to let him dissolve his government and hold a general election.
Headache: Boris Johnson’s team have refused demand to reveal private messages
Reporting for. duty: Labour MP. Jonathan. Reynolds and. our report on. Thursday of. PM’s struggles.
Houseproud: Labour’s Luke Pollard tweets from deserted Commons chamber