Published On: Tue, Sep 24th, 2019

Brexit latest: Boris Johnson vows to push ahead with Brexit as MPs return to Parliament | Politics | News

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson will be back in the Commons today (Image: Getty)

In a bombshell judgment, 11 senior justices at the country’s highest court ruled that his request to the Queen for a Prorogation of the Commons and the Lords was unlawful. MPs will return to Westminster today after the decision cancelled the parliamentary break. Mr Johnson brushed off furious demands for his resignation from Jeremy Corbyn and Remain-backing MPs following the humiliating verdict, accusing the Labour leader of “talking out of his neck”. Attorney General Geoffrey Cox was also under intense pressure after leaked documents confirmed he advised the Prime Minister that proroguing Parliament was legal.

But Mr Johnson rejected the court’s decision and insisted he would not be deflected from his efforts to pull the UK out of the EU on October 31.

Speaking during a trip to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly, he said: “We in the UK will not be deterred from delivering the will of the British people. I strongly disagree with this decision of the Supreme Court. I have the upmost respect for our judiciary but I don’t think this was the right decision.

“I think that prorogation has been used for centuries without this kind of challenge.

“Let’s be in no doubt there are a lot of people who want to frustrate Brexit. There are a lot of people who want to stop this country coming out of the EU.

“And to be honest it is not made much easier by this kind of stuff in Parliament or in the court.

“But I think the most important thing is we get on and deliver Brexit on October 31 and clearly the claimants in this case are determined to frustrate that and to stop that.”

Downing Street officials said the Prime Minister had no intention of resigning after the Supreme Court decision

“We are now in a situation that must bewilder the public. Parliament gridlocked MPs refusing to allow the public a say turning to legal manoeuvring to frustrate Brexit and the domestic agenda,” a Number 10 source said.

The source added: “The PM will not resign following the judgment.”

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn won’t call for a vote of no confidence in the PM (Image: Getty)

He added: “Following the PM giving his speech at the UN this evening he will be flying back overnight to the UK and there will be a Cabinet called today while the PM is in New York.”

His spokesman confirmed the Prime Minister had also spoken to the Queen in a telephone call from New York.

Brexiteer Tories warned that Remain-backing MPs, led by Commons Speaker John Bercow, would use the ruling to step up their attempt to cancel Brexit.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: “What we’re going to see now is the Speaker effectively taking control of Parliament and playing to the Remainers’ tune until the 31st Oct when he resigns.

“We’ve got a zombie Parliament that won’t go back to the people. They’re holding our democracy to ransom.”

Former minister Steve Baker, the chairman of the European Research Group of Brexiteer backbench Tories, said: “What this does is deepen our political crisis. It is an earthquake moment.

“We must uphold parliamentary democracy and the rule of law but the real problem we’ve got here is that parliamentarians haven’t accepted the referendum result and we need a general election to sort this out.”

Mr Baker said opposition MPs “don’t want to leave the EU.”

He added: “This is a rotten Parliament, it needs to be brought to an end.”

At the Labour conference in Brighton, Mr Corbyn rushed forward his keynote speech by a day to clear his diary so he could be back in the Commons today.

Mr Corbyn declared Mr Johnson “unfit to be prime minister” yet bottled out of pledging to table a confidence motion in the Commons to try to topple the Government.

Signalling that he would continue to resist a general election the Labour leader said the poll could only take place “as soon as this Government’s threat of a disastrous no-deal Brexit is taken off the table.”

In his speech, he said: “Boris Johnson has been found to have misled the country. The Prime Minister should resign.”

And in a statement to delegates soon after the ruling, the Labour leader said: “I invite Boris Johnson, in the historic words, to consider his position and become the shortest-serving prime minister there’s ever been.”

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson still intenfs to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 (Image: Getty)

He told the Prime Minister: “Obey the law, take no deal off the table and have a general election that respects democracy, respects the rule of law and brings power to the people.”

A source close to the Labour leader said: “We want a general election as soon as possible but our condition is that we have to lock in that the country cannot crash out of the EU on October 31 without a deal. There is a trust issue here.”

In New York, Mr Johnson hit back at the Labour leader for repeatedly blocking an election in the Commons.

“Tell him to call an election. Tell him to call it. The obvious thing to do, the obvious thing to do, is to have an election. Jeremy Corbyn is talking out of the back of his head and he should have an election,” the Prime Minister said.

Labour aides refused to disclose whether Mr Corbyn was planning to table a no-confidence motion in the Commons.

But former Cabinet minister David Gauke, a leading figure in the group of Tory rebels suspended from the party, threw the Prime Minister a lifeline last night by signalling his opposition to any attempt to topple the Government.

“The Supreme Court judgment exposes real failures by No 10. But I wouldn’t support a Vote of No Confidence.

“Focus should be on getting a deal or ensuring Article 50 extension,” he said on Twitter.

Sources close to Mr Cox said the Attorney General was not considering his position despite leaked minutes showing he advised the Prime Minister that Prorogation was legal.

A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office said: “The Government acted in good faith and in the belief that is approach was both lawful and constitutional.

“These are complex matters on which senior and distinguished lawyers have agreed. The Divisional Court led by the Lord Chief Justice agreed unanimously with the Government’s position as did the Outer House in Scotland.

“We are disappointed that in the end the Supreme Court took a different view. We respect the judgement of the Supreme Court.”

Announcing the result, Supreme Court president Baroness Hale said that the Government’s advice to the Queen to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because “it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification”.

Wearing a striking spider brooch, the senior judge said the prolonged suspension of parliamentary democracy took place in the “quite exceptional circumstances” of the UK’s impending exit from the EU on October 31.

She added: “Parliament, and in particular, the House of Commons as the elected representatives of the people, has a right to a voice in how that change comes about.

“The effect upon the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme.”

Soon after the judgment, Mr Bercow confirmed Parliament will resume sittings today.

“I welcome the Supreme Court’s judgment that the prorogation of Parliament was unlawful,” he said.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson will be back here today (Image: Press Association)

“In reaching their conclusion, they have vindicated the right and duty of Parliament to meet at this crucial time to scrutinise the executive and hold Ministers to account.

“As the embodiment of our Parliamentary democracy, the House of Commons must convene without delay.”

Sir John Major, who submitted written evidence against the Government to the Supreme Court case, was “delighted” by the judgment.

“This was a case that should never have had to be considered, and it gave me no pleasure to be pitted against a government and Prime Minister of my own party,” the former premier said.

He added: “Parliament must now be recalled immediately to recommence its work and to receive the Prime Minister’s unreserved apology.

“I hope this ruling from the Supreme Court will deter any future Prime Minister from attempting to shut down Parliament, with the effect of stifling proper scrutiny and debate, when its sitting is so plainly in the national interest.

“No Prime Minister must ever treat the Monarch or Parliament in this way again.”

Remain-backing MPs and campaigners behind a series of three legal challenges to the Prorogation decision at the Supreme Court celebrated the ruling last night.

Businesswoman and campaigner Gina Miller said Boris Johnson should “absolutely” apologise to the Queen.

We in the UK will not be deterred from delivering the will of the British people. I strongly disagree with this decision of the Supreme Court…. I don’t think this was the right decision

Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson, Prime Minister

She said: “The MPs will be back doing what they should be doing, which is scrutinising every single thing this Government does.

“I think today’s ruling proved that they will push the law, they will push the constitution, and they will even bend it to get their own way.”

Asked if Mr Johnson should apologise to the Queen, Ms Miller replied: “Absolutely he should.”

Lords Speaker Lord Fowler yesterday confirmed that the upper house will also resume sittings today.

In a statement, he said: “Following discussions with the Government and the Opposition, the House of Lords will resume sitting tomorrow at the normal Wednesday time of 3pm and will also sit on Thursday at 11am.

“The House of Lords performs a vital constitutional function. It holds the Government of the day to account and will continue to do just that.”

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said: “The court have found what we all knew all along – Boris Johnson has again proven he is not fit to be Prime Minister.

“This shutdown was an unlawful act designed to stop Parliament doing its job and holding the Government to account.”

Senior Tories last night confirmed next week’s Conservative conference will go ahead despite the early return of Parliament.

Tory party vice-chairman Andrew Bowie said: “The Conservative Party Conference is going ahead.

“Look forward to seeing members and supporters from across the UK in Manchester next week where we’ll re-affirm our position as the only party in the UK that seeks to uphold referendum results – be that in 2014 or the one in 2016.”

Gina Miller

Gina Miller has had to hire bodyguards (Image: Getty)

Mr Johnson is due to arrive back in the UK around lunchtime today but it is unclear if he will address Parliament.

A Downing Street source said: “We will see if there is a requirement for him to be in Parliament.”

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg will be setting out the business for the week at 11.30am and a minister is likely to make a statement on the Supreme Court judgement.

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