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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 29 May, 2020

Boris Johnson 'strongly disagrees' with Supreme Court ruling but parliament set to return tomorrow

Johnson said his hope to get a Brexit deal isn’t “made much easier by this kind of stuff in parliament or in the courts”.

Johnson in New York this morning
Johnson in New York this morning
Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Images

UK PRIME MINISTER Boris Johnson has said he “strongly disagrees” with the Supreme Court’s finding that he unlawfully suspended parliament, and says he thinks there’s a “good case” for another prorogation in the coming weeks.

This morning, the Supreme Court announced that the prorogation order was “unlawful, void and had no effect” and should be quashed – meaning that in law parliament has not been prorogued. 

The judges ruled that Johnson’s advice to Queen Elizabeth II to suspend parliament for five weeks until 14 October was illegal. 

The ruling is the worst outcome that the government could have hoped for. The decision has already prompted calls for Johnson to resign and House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has said parliament will return tomorrow. 

Despite all that, Johnson was in bullish mood when reacting to the news today.

“I don’t think that it’s right but we will go ahead and of course parliament will come back,” he told reporters in New York this afternoon.

He also indicated that the current plan for the UK to leave the EU has not changed.

“On the contrary, as the law currently stands, the UK leaves the EU on 31 October come what may but the interesting thing, the exciting thing, for us now is to get a deal and that’s what we’re working on,” he said.

I’ll be honest with you. It’s not made much easier by this kind of stuff in parliament or in the courts.

He added that he does think there’s a “good case for getting on with a Queen’s Speech anyway and we will do that”. 

A Queen’s Speech is the ceremonial beginning of a parliament where Queen Elizabeth II outlines the priorities of the government. 

Johnson said he made the decision to prorogue parliament to allow time to prepare for a Queen’s Speech. The basis for that has been found to be unlawful, but doesn’t rule out another prorogation in the coming days or weeks.

Johnson said: “I don’t think the justices remotely excluded the possibility of having a Queen’s speech but what we will certainly do is ensure parliament has plenty of time to debate Brexit.”

Parliament will now sit until the expected Queen’s Speech on 14 October. Any prorogation will only last for a few days to allow preparations be made. 

The prime minister is expected to return to London earlier than planned so he can take up his position leading the government in the House of Commons tomorrow.

Johnson had been due to meet with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in New York today. Speaking to reporters, the Taoiseach said that meeting is still due to go ahead.

‘Consider his position’

Speaker Bercow announced earlier that parliament would reconvene in the Commons at 11.30am tomorrow morning, while the upper House of Lords said it would return the same day.

The judges “have vindicated the right and duty of parliament to meet at this crucial time to scrutinise the executive”, Bercow said.

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the main opposition Labour party, led calls for the prime minister to step down.

“I invite Boris Johnson, in the historic words, to consider his position, and become the shortest serving prime minister there has ever been,” he told his party’s annual conference.

He brought forward his concluding speech to the meeting in Brighton, southern England, from tomorrow to today to allow him to be in Westminster.

Some opposition MPs called for a confidence vote in Johnson, and Bercow indicated that he would allow time for this if a formal request were made.

“I think Boris Johnson should resign,” Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon told Sky News television.

With reporting from Dominic McGrath, AFP

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Sean Murray

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