John­son faces Brexit flak from EU law­mak­ers, top UK court

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STRAS­BOURG, France — Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son was ac­cused by Euro­pean Union of­fi­cials Wed­nes­day of fail­ing to ne­go­ti­ate se­ri­ously and branded the “fa­ther of lies” by a lawyer in the U.K. Supreme Court, as his plan to leave the EU in just over six weeks faced hur­dles on both sides of the Chan­nel.

In Stras­bourg, France, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment said it would be the fault of Bri­tain, not the bloc, if the U.K. crashed out of the EU with­out a di­vorce deal on the sched­uled Oct. 31 de­par­ture day.

In Lon­don, John­son’s gov­ern­ment bat­tled to con­vince the U.K.’s top court that the prime min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion to sus­pend Par­lia­ment for five weeks with Brexit loom­ing was nei­ther il­le­gal nor im­proper. The gov­ern­ment’s op­po­nents claim John­son illegally shut down the leg­is­la­ture to pre­vent scru­tiny of his Brexit plans.

Gov­ern­ment lawyer James Eadie told 11 Supreme Court jus­tices that if the court in­ter­vened it would vi­o­late the “fun­da­men­tal con­sti­tu­tional prin­ci­ple” of the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­ers.

But a lawyer for law­mak­ers chal­leng­ing the shut­down ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of be­ing “un­wor­thy of our trust.”

“We’ve got here the mother of par­lia­ments be­ing shut down by the fa­ther of lies,” said at­tor­ney Ai­dan O’Neill.

The judges, for their part, won­dered why John­son had re­fused to pro­vide a sworn state­ment about his rea­sons for the sus­pen­sion.

“Isn’t it odd that no­body has signed a wit­ness state­ment to say: ‘This is true. Th­ese are the true rea­sons for what was done’?” said Ni­cholas Wil­son, a judge.

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