So the Supreme Court has ruled that Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament was unlawful – by reference to a law that does not exist. We are told that the length of the prorogation is one of the key reasons for its lack of legality – yet no official guidelines exist, nor have the Supreme Court since provided any clarity, as to what actually would constitute a legal length of prorogation. The court, similarly, while claiming Johnson’s motives for prorogation are irrelevant to their decision, has ruled that because they could find no good reason for prorogation (i.e. because they could not know his motives), it must therefore be unlawful. Confused? You should be.
It’s hard to imagine the UK’s constitutional crisis getting any worse. We have reached the point where the government can no longer govern, its business is directed by Parliament instead of by the Prime Minister and the cabinet, and the Supreme Court, instead of being the ultimate arbiter of our laws, is now appointing itself lawmaker-in-chief, making up rules as it goes along, while insisting that it is entirely unmotivated by any political opinion over Brexit. And where a general election is desperately needed to attempt to break the deadlock, our current trenchant block of MPs are steadfastly refusing to allow one to take place.
Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, today delivered a thundering speech in Parliament that went a long way towards expressing the frustration felt by many Brexiters. Denouncing the current Parliament as a “dead Parliament”, he roared that “it has no moral right to sit on these green benches”. He continued,
“Twice they have been asked to let the electorate decide upon whether they should continue to sit in their seats, while they block 17.4 million people’s votes. This Parliament is a disgrace…. They could vote no confidence at any time. But they’re too cowardly to have a go. They could agree to a motion to allow this house to dissolve – but they’re too cowardly to give it a go. This Parliament should have the courage to face the electorate – but it won’t. It won’t. Because so many of them are really all about preventing us leaving the European Union at all. But the time is coming – the time is coming, Mr Speaker – when even these turkeys won’t be able to prevent Christmas.”
It was an absolutely outstanding performance, which at least went some small way towards compensating for the fact that due to the Supreme Court’s ruling, we now face the spectacle of three further weeks of Parliamentary grandstanding, timewasting and deliberate ploys to frustrate Brexit, all while the majority of Parliamentarians continue to insist that that is not at all their intention, that they completely respect the referendum result and really do wish to honour the wishes of their constituents but that they simply don’t wish to see us leave without a deal. But it’s utterly laughable for them to try to pretend that after three years of these charades, legal challenges and backroom deals with EU officials, a few extra weeks will make all the difference and that they will suddenly find themselves able to make a positive contribution to our efforts to leave.
As unlikely as it looks that we will, in fact, manage to leave the EU on 31 October, I remain hopeful that Boris Johnson will keep calm, carry on and either manage to secure a deal from the EU that he can get through Parliament, or that the EU will decide it’s had enough of our Parliamentary shenanigans and will simply refuse to allow the extension that the Benn Act compels him to request. And with a general election following shortly thereafter, I look forward to Christmas coming early for those turkeys who continue to betray the electorate they are supposed to represent.