MPs may have to return to court next week in a sensational move if Boris Johnson is defeated at the Supreme Court.
Lord Pannick told the court that MPs should decide what happens if the 11 justices rule that the PM acted unlawfully.
BACK OPEN FOR BUSINESS
This means MPs would ask the Speaker to reconvene Parliament “as soon as possible next week”, Lord Pannick, who represents Remainer Gina Miller, said.
If Boris refused to act, then the Speaker and Lord Speaker could take over proceedings.
If Parliament was reconvened it means that Boris could be hauled back from a UN summit in New York to attend to matters in Westminster.
The Queen could also be forced to end her holiday in Balmoral to open the Parliamentary session.
HERE WE GO AGAIN
However, government documents submitted to the court reveal Parliament may stay suspended if even if Boris loses.
The 11 justices have retired to decide on whether the PM’s move to shutdown – or prorogue – Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Boris declined to rule out suspending Parliament again if he lost the Supreme Court case.
He said: “I have the greatest respect for the judiciary in this country.
“The best thing I can say at the moment whilst their deliberations are continuing is that obviously I agree very much with the Master of the Rolls and the Lord Chief Justice and others who found in our favour the other day.”
He added: “I will wait to see what transpires.”
THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER
Boris’ first option envisages a situation where the judges find it was unlawful, but their reasoning leaves open the possibility that Parliament could be prorogued for the same length of time in a lawful manner.
The document, submitted by Sir James Eadie QC and Advocate General for Scotland Lord Keen, states: “In that scenario, the court would and could not make any order purporting to require Parliament to be reconvened… Parliament would remain prorogued.”
The second possible outcome is that the court could find the suspension was unlawful and that the recall of Parliament before October 14 is the “only option lawfully open to the Prime Minister”.
How in the context of that political minefield is the court to opine on the issue of purpose or improper purpose, or legitimate political purpose or illegitimate political purpose? How are these concepts to be defined and applied in this context?
In this scenario, the document states Mr Johnson would comply with the terms of the ruling, but that it would also be “open to the court to consider whether to make a mandatory order”.
Thee third possible outcome states the court could rule that the prorogation was unlawful, with the effect that Parliament was not prorogued and remains in session.
However, Mr Johnson’s lawyers assert that, depending on the court’s reasoning, it may still be open to the Prime Minister to consider a further prorogation.
Lord Keen said the issue of prorogation was “a matter between the executive and Parliament”, adding that if Parliament “takes exception” to actions of the executive “they have the tools available”, namely a motion of no confidence.
He said: “How in the context of that political minefield is the court to opine on the issue of purpose or improper purpose, or legitimate political purpose or illegitimate political purpose? How are these concepts to be defined and applied in this context?
“In my respectful submission, the applicants and the petitioners are inviting the court into forbidden territory and into what is essentially a minefield, an ill-defined minefield.”
It came after Sir John Major slammed Boris Johnson’s Parliament shutdown as “utterly unacceptable” and said the PM tried to prevent MPs from “exercising their right to disagree” with Brexit.
Lord Garnier, QC for Sir John, told the Supreme Court that Johnson’s reasons for proroguing Parliament “cannot be true” and in fact they were motivated by “political interest”.
Sir John is supporting an appeal brought by Ms Miller – after their original case was thrown out by a judge at the High Court.
In a witness statement, Sir John, who was not present, said it was “utterly unacceptable” for the Government to “seek to bypass” Parliament because it does not agree with the proposed course of action on a certain policy.
The statement read: “I served in Parliament for over 20 years both as a backbench MP and as a Government minister at Cabinet and more junior levels.
“I was of course Prime Minister for nearly seven years and am very proud to have been in the Commons and a minister.
“I have huge admiration for our Parliament and am a keen supporter of its rights and duties.
“I cannot stand idly by and watch them set aside in this fashion.
I have huge admiration for our Parliament and am a keen supporter of its rights and duties. I cannot stand idly by and watch them set aside in this fashion.
Sir John Major
“I appreciate that this is not the Government’s stated intention for proroguing Parliament, but for the reasons set out in this statement, the inescapable inference to be drawn is that the prorogation is to prevent Parliament from exercising its right to disagree with the Government and to legislate as it sees fit.”
Lord Garnier, who served as solicitor general under David Cameron said the shutdown was to “deprive Parliament of a voice throughout the period of the prorogation.”
Lord Garnier said it remains “genuinely unclear” whether Mr Johnson disputes that he was motivated by political interest because no witness statements have been provided.
He added that the submissions made on the Prime Minister’s behalf at the High Court “studiously avoided committing to any clear position on the issue”.
In a written submission, Sir John accused the PM of acting like a dishonest estate agent with “ulterior motives”.
The former PM will delivered a scathing rebuke claiming that Johnson’s move to stop MPs from sitting for five weeks was “unlawful”.
Remainer MPs allege that Boris shutdown Parliament to avoid scrutiny over Brexit and push through No Deal – but No10 say it was so they can deliver a new domestic legislative agenda in a Queen’s Speech.
However, in his submission Sir John states the government’s reason for proroguing “makes no sense and cannot be the true explanation”.
He adds the court would be “artificially naive” to accept the PM’s reasons for the shutdown, the Times reports.
The case is hearing at the highest court in Britain, in front of 11 justices, after judges in Scotland and England delivered contradictory decisions on the shutdown.
A cross party group of 70 MPs and anti-Brexit activists won an appeal at the Court of Session in Edinburgh – with judges deciding the PM’s shutdown was “unlawful”.
But a High Court judge had dismissed a similar challenge by Remainer lawyer Gina Miller and Sir John – leading to the case being brought to the Supreme Court this week.
DISHONEST ESTATE AGENT
In his submission Sir John cites a legal case where an estate agent was in “breach of fiduciary duty” after wrongly claiming a buyer wanted to live in a home when they wanted to sell it on.
He said: “It could hardly be suggested that the duties of the prime minister to the monarch are less than those of an estate agent to a homeowner.
“Accordingly, if the court is satisfied that the prime minister’s decision was materially influenced by something other than the stated justification, that decision must be unlawful.”
During the battle between two Tory grandees – Sir John’s lawyer Lord Garnier QC will argue against the government’s claim that the shutdown was political and the courts have “no jurisdiction”.
The inference was inescapable that the prime minister’s decision was motivated, or in any event substantially motivated, by his political interest.
Sir John Major
Lord Garnier will tell the court: “Its effect is to deprive parliament of a voice throughout the period of the prorogation.
“The inference was inescapable that the prime minister’s decision was motivated, or in any event substantially motivated, by his political interest in ensuring that there was no activity in parliament during the period leading up to the EU Council summit on 17-18 October.”
‘FATHER OF LIES’
Yesterday a Remainer lawyer told the court Boris Johnson “shut the Mother of Parliaments with the father of lies”.
Aidan O’Neill alleged that No10’s documents on the shutdown should not be taken as the “complete truth”.
“What we have with this prorogation is the mother of parliaments closed down by the father of lies,” declared O’Neill, who already won his claim in the Scottish courts.
“Lies have consequences but the truth will set us free.
“Rather than allow lies to triumph, this court should listen to the angels of its better nature and rule that this prorogation is an unlawful abuse of the power of prorogation which has been entrusted to the government.”
Mr O’Neill, who represents the cross party group of 70 MPs and anti-Brexit activists, said the government had proven itself “unworthy of trust” and said “enough is enough”.
MOST READ IN POLITICS
But Sir James Eadie, for the government, insisted that decades of case law showed it was clear that the suspension was the PM’s prerogative, the business of politics and nothing to with the Supreme Court.
Sir James also said that opposition MPs had every opportunity to act on prorogation but chose not to use the “nuclear weapon” of a no confidence vote.
Sir John Major will tell the Supreme Court Boris Johnson acted like a dishonest estate agent with “ulterior motives” as the battle over the Parliament shutdown reaches its final day[/caption]
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