MPs and campaigners react to Supreme Court’s ruling on prorogation

Here's what progressive MPs have to say about the ruling against prorogation

The Supreme Court today ruled that Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament was unlawful.

The Prime Minister suspended (prorogued) parliament for five weeks earlier in September, but today the court ruled it was not right to prevent MPs carry out their usual duties as Brexit approaches.

The Commons Speaker John Bercow has confirmed that parliament will return from 11:30am on Wednesday, although there will be no Prime Minsiter’s Questions.

But what do certain progressive MPs think of the Supreme Court’s ruling?

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party

Starting with the top dog, Corbyn spoke about the Supreme Court ruling at the current Labour Party conference going on in Brighton.

He said the Supreme Court ruling “shows the Prime Minister has acted wrongly in shutting down parliament – it demonstrates a contempt for democracy and abuse of power by him.”

The Labour leader added: “Obey the law, take No Deal off the table and have an election to elect a government that respects democracy, respects the rule of law and brings power back to the people not usurps it in the way Boris Johnson has done.”

Diane Abbott, Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington

Abbott announced she would be heading back to London to represent her constituents in parliament tomorrow and called Johnson a “liar”.

She said: “The Supreme Court has ruled what all of us knew, that Boris is a liar and that proroguing parliament just to avoid inconvenient political discussion is actually illegal.”

Hilary Benn, Labour MP for Leeds Central

Benn was pretty diplomatic in his assessment of the Supreme Court ruling, claiming the Prime Minister did what he did because he “didn’t want us holding him to account”.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and former leader of the Green Party

Lucas feels the result of the Supreme Court ruling is merely the start of a lot of change that must happen in our country if we are to save what we stand for – democracy.

The MP said: “This is just the start. Our democracy won’t be safe until we have a written constitution, protecting our rights and rule of law.”

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Labour MP for Tooting

Dr Allin-Khan took the hardline, calling for Johnson to resign.

Having suspended parliament, which has now been ruled unlawful, Allin-Khan believes anyone “with any decency” would step down from their role.

Time will tell whether Johnson decides to do this.

Yvette Cooper, Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford

Cooper has put the situation very plainly, calling Johnson out for what he has done.

She said Johnson “cannot just cancel parliament to avoid scrutiny” and added that the Prime Minister “thinks there is one rule for him and another for everyone else”.

“There isn’t,” the MP assured.

Lucy Skoulding is a freelance reporter at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter.

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7 Responses to “MPs and campaigners react to Supreme Court’s ruling on prorogation”

  1. Patrick Newman

    Johnson won’t resign – he probably thinks there is nothing to the Supreme Court judgment even though it is clear the Queen was duped into agreeing to prorogation – though a willing ‘dupee’! It will take a cabinet revolt to shift him and it must not be forgotten that he is still popular among the wealthy white xenophobic male geriatrics that make up the majority of the Tory Party these days. Three cabinet ministers might do it – Javid, Gove and Morgan – provided they can agree who will go to the Queen and claim HoC support and hence PM! Chaos might ensue and which might create an opportunity for Corbyn to be acclaimed as a caretaker PM!

  2. Michael Fitchett

    WE still need a written constitution, to specify who is allowed to to do what, to whom, and why and how.

  3. Gary

    This is a really important judgement, and not just for the obvious reasons. Had this judgement gone the other way then an important precedent would’ve been set. Governments in the near AND distant future would have been free to prorogue parliament for ANY length of time for ANY reason. And THAT should scarre any right thinking individual whatever their views on Brexit.

    This was a difficult case for the government. What most forget is that with Cherry winning her case on appeal at the Court of Session in Edinburgh it meant that the case heard at the Supreme Court was the government appealing THAT verdict. The burden of proof rested with the government to ‘prove their innocence’ as it were. This is a difficult prospect in any case, more difficult when you have documentary evidence proving the case against you! The fact that there was ALREADY a verdict against the government and that the evidence supported it meant the government could ONLY try to overcome it on the basis that the case should not have been heard. But, as we heard in the judgement, existing case law put paid to that AND the genie was out of the bottle with the evidence. I’m my own opinion both Courts were correct in their judgement prior to the Supreme Court ruling. It’s simply the case that the Scottish tradition of law is different to the English one and that is why the English court thought they should not hear the case. But this made it impossible to overturn the Court of Session result and so parliament returns.

    But there ends any REAL advantage. I’d wondered why Johnson still went ahead with the prorogation after the legislation on the ‘pre-drafted letter’ went through. It was pointless. Meaning also that there is no advantage in winning this case – except to preserve parliamentary sovereignty from abuse in the future.

    Boris COULD prorogue again and GENUINELY claim that it is being done, as is the norm, for parties to have the opportunity to hold their conferences – again pointless.

    So what will he do now? That depends on just how far he is willing to go, doesn’t it? He COULD resign as requested, call and election and remind Labour that they have just today called for one, but I imagine the same response will ensue. OR he could hold on, resign JUST before the letter is to be delivered and, taking a leaf out of Stormont’s book (ALWAYS a bad idea) have the entire cabinet resign too. There would be no one who could be compelled to deliver the letter, no PM, no Deputy and no one to instruct them either. Having done this FOURTEEN days prior to ‘Brexit Day’ there would be a period of 14 days for the government to regain the confidence of the house AFTER the opposition called and won a no confidence. Thus it would be too late to recover the situation.

    Has Boris thought of this? I doubt it, he has no ‘cunning plan’ He has more confidence than ability and thinks he can bully and bluster his way through governing this country. He is truly an idiot. There is no prospect of a deal either. Whilst there MIGHT have been a slim chance of one, perversely, the removing of the threat of no deal will ensure the EU side will relax and stop looking at ways to compromise, Boris can give up his pretense too…

  4. Patrick Newman

    No Gary. The idea of the EU buckling under a no-deal threat is a bit like saying if you don’t give me what I want I will cut my throat and squirt blood all over your Amani suit. The single market is fundamental to the EU and the unity of the nations is also fundamental. The only deal possible before the 31st is to tell the DUP to fuck off and have an all Ireland single market and customs union which would be supported by the majority of people in Northern Ireland. As for the GFA – it has outlived its limited usefulness and time for NI to grow up into normal politics like Scotland!

  5. Eric Walker

    If ‘Assent’ has any meaning then the person giving assent can also say no. As I understand the law, the Queen cannot say no. Therefore use of the word ‘assent’ is one big con.

  6. Alasdair Macdonald

    Re Gary’s scenario of the cainet resigning and therefore no one to deliver the letter to the EU requesting an extension. This issue is going through the Scottish Court at present. Having declared the action of prorogation illegal, the court can, if the Prime Minister refuses to fulfil the requirements of the ‘Hilary Benn Act’, write to the EU to fulfil the requirement of the said Act.

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