Anything and everything is apparently in the cards for the Brexit obstructionists, whose true agenda appears to be not to work out a Brexit deal at all — but to ignore the referendum result, and for the UK to remain in the untransparent, unaccountable and un-unelectable EU. Pictured: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The latest twist in the UK’s ongoing battle to leave the European Union has — unsurprisingly — reached yet another impasse. The supreme court has ruled that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspending of Parliament was unlawful because it “had the effect of frustrating parliament.” He was also accused of giving unlawful advice to the Queen in asking her for permission.
As is routine for a newly appointed PM, Johnson suspended Parliament in order to announce his domestic agenda with a Queen’s Speech. Furious Remainers claim that he shut it down to prevent Parliamentary scrutiny of his plans to leave Europe — with or without a deal. The suspension, which infuriated his foes, was the latest move in an ongoing battle to deliver Brexit — in spite of the opposition’s determined refusal to accept the will of the people.
Johnson’s detractors, inevitably, have leapt upon the decision, passed by a panel of eleven judges, to void his decision to prorogue — or suspend — Parliament. The Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, have called for Johnson’s resignation, and demanded a new election. Mr Johnson — who is currently in New York on his first UN summit — has steadfastly refused to stand down.
The ruling comes as a blow to the PM, who has set a deadline of October 31 to leave the European Union. The opposition camp, having already succeeded in obstructing Britain’s exit from the EU for three years, have now won themselves extra time in which to block the path of democracy.
As a result of the judges’ decision, MPs have now been called to return to the House of Commons “as a matter of urgency” by one of Johnson’s most staunch opponents, Speaker of the House John Bercow, who “welcomes” the Supreme Court’s judgement.
Bercow, a former Conservative, along with his anti-Trump rhetoric, has thrown his all into preventing Brexit from happening ever since the referendum result in 2016, even going so far as to display a “Bollocks To Brexit” sticker on his car.
Shadow PM Jeremy Corbyn, clearly revelling in the latest turn of events, which come at the start of the Labour Party’s annual conference in Brighton, said after the ruling, “I invite Boris Johnson to consider his position and become the shortest serving PM there has ever been.”
European Union members, somewhat inevitably, have also expressed their unbridled joy at the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Johnson’s suspension of Parliament, and once again thwart the democratic rights of the people of Britain.
Member of European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt, oblivious to the irony of his statement, commented:
“At least one big relief in the Brexit saga: the rule of law in the UK is alive & kicking. Parliaments should never be silenced in a real democracy.
“I never want to hear Boris Johnson or any other Brexiteer say again that the European Union is undemocratic.”
Mr Johnson, however, insists that the suspension was not obstructive, but necessary, and insisted that MPs were only losing “four or five days of parliamentary scrutiny, when parliament has had three years to discuss the issue.”
Despite the hyperbole from the likes of Jeremy Corbyn and John Bercow, however, the prime minister cannot be forced out of office by today’s ruling, although it does leave him open to a potential vote of no confidence when Parliament reconvenes — which would make the likelihood of a general election far more likely — quite possibly within weeks. This tactic would be quite a gamble for the Remainers: if the Conservatives win, even if it means forming an alliance with Nigel Farage’s Brexit party, it would cause the very same “no deal Brexit” to which his detractors claim to be so opposed.
The opposition seem nevertheless willing to take the gamble: they are running out of alternative methods to hold up proceedings for much longer. Anything and everything is apparently in the cards for the obstructionists, whose true agenda appears to be not to work out a Brexit deal at all — but to ignore the referendum result, and for the UK to remain in the untransparent, unaccountable and un-unelectable EU.
Andrew Ash is based in the United Kingdom.