Furious Boris Johnson tonight demanded an election to resolve the mounting Brexit crisis after judges dramatically ruled he had broken the law by suspending Parliament.
The Prime Minister made no effort to hide his anger at the bombshell verdict from the Supreme Court, which found his decision to prorogue the Commons for five weeks was ‘unlawful, void and of no effect’.
Swiping that ‘a lot of people want to frustrate Brexit’, Mr Johnson refused to apologise and complained that his task of getting a deal with the EU had yet again been made more difficult.
The extraordinary events in London have laid waste to the premier’s carefully choreographed trip to New York for a UN summit, where he had hoped to break the deadlock in talks with EU leaders and thrash out details of a Transatlantic trade agreement with Donald Trump.
Asked by reporters whether he had embarrassed the Queen by giving her illegal advice, Mr Johnson shouted back: ‘Jeremy Corbyn is talking out of the back of his neck and we should have an election.’
No10 sources also warned that the court had made a ‘serious mistake’ – while insisting the government will ‘respect the law and comply with the courts’.
Mr Johnson will fly back to the UK overnight as he works out his next move, before an explosive showdown with MPs calling for his head in the Commons tomorrow. Tory MPs lined up behind him today, saying it was critical to secure Brexit.
However, despite repeating today that he wants an election and calling for the PM to resign, Mr Corbyn is yet again set to frustrate hopes of holding one.
Speaking at Labour conference this evening, Mr Corbyn insisted he will not table a confidence vote or support a motion for an early poll until after October 19 – when a rebel law passed by Remainers obliges Mr Johnson to beg the EU for a Brexit extension.
‘That election needs to take place as soon as this government thereat of a disastrous No Deal has been taken off the table,’ he told cheering activists.
The refusal leaves Mr Johnson cornered, unable to command a majority in Parliament and yet unable to go back to the country for a new mandate.
Speaking in New York today, the premier said the case brought by arch-Remainer Gina Miller, former prime minister Sir John Major and the SNP, was to ‘frustrate Brexit’ and ‘stop the country coming out of the EU’.
And pitting the people who voted for Brexit against Parliament he insisted: ’We in the UK will not be deterred from delivering the will of the British people. I strongly disagree with this decision of the Supreme Court.
‘I have the upmost respect for our judiciary but I don’t think this was the right decision I think that the prorogation has been used for centuries without this kind of challenge.
‘Let’s be in no doubt there are a lot of people who want to frustrate Brexit. There are a lot of people who want to stop this country coming out of the EU. And to be honest it is not made much easier by this kind of stuff in Parliament or in the court.
‘But I think the most important thing is we get on and deliver Brexit on October 31 and clearly the claimants in this case are determined to frustrate that and to stop that’.
As events threatened to spiral, Mr Johnson is also fielding calls for his maverick chief aide Dominic Cummings to be sacked because he is believed to be the architect of the illegal prorogation plan.
Boris Johnson (pictured meeting Donald Trump in New York tonight) made no effort to hide his anger at the bombshell verdict from the Supreme Court, which found his decision to prorogue the Commons for five weeks was ‘unlawful, void and of no effect’
Boris Johnson (pictured addressing US business leaders at Hudson Yards in New York with Liz Truss) has damned the Supreme Court’s humiliating judgment on his decision to prorogue Parliament and said he disagrees with the ruling. He will fly back from New York tonight to face the music in the Commons
Speaking at Labour conference this evening, Mr Corbyn insisted he will not table a confidence vote or support a motion for an early poll until after October 19 – when a rebel law passed by Remainers obliges Mr Johnson to beg the EU for a Brexit extension
John Bercow (pictured on College Green today) has seized power and will reopen Parliament tomorrow after the Supreme Court humiliated Boris Johnson, who appeared undimmed as he spoke to business leaders in New York
Ms Miller told supporters that MPs should go back to work ‘tomorrow’ after the unprecedented Supreme Court win for remain supporters
Arch-remainer Gina Miller, who helped defeat Mr Johnson, hugged her lawyer Lord Pannick QC in the courtroom as her victory over the Brexiteer Prime Minister was confirmed
Commons Speaker John Bercow has seized the initiative from the Tory leader and announced he will reopen Parliament tomorrow at 11.30am after the Supreme Court savaged the Prime Minister in one of the most momentous rulings of modern times.
What happens now the Supreme Court has ruled Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was unlawful?
Following the Supreme Court ruling today, Speaker John Bercow delivered a statement in which he said the House of Commons will resume tomorrow morning at 11.30am.
This is what may happen next in the coming days with anti-Brexit factions plotting how to derail the Prime Minister’s plan to leave the EU on October 31.
There are growing rumours that Labour may shy away from calling a no confidence vote with critics calling them ‘bottlers’.
Instead Mr Corbyn’s may try to force the PM to release the formal advice given to Attorney General Geoffrey Cox to ascertain if he warned Mr Johnson not to do it.
Some Tories including Rory Stewart are said to be pushing Boris to put Theresa May’s deal back to Parliament.
Will Boris Johnson resign?
The Supreme Court’s ruling is highly embarrassing for Mr Johnson and puts the PM in completely uncharted territory.
The fact that he was found to have acted unlawfully represents a hammer blow to his premiership and has unsurprisingly prompted calls for him to quit.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, pounced immediately after the ruling was read out as he said the PM must now ‘consider his position’.
Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader and Scottish First Minister, said a premier with ‘any honour would tender his resignation’.
She said that if Mr Johnson will not do the ‘decent and honourable thing’ then MPs should try to force him out.
But Mr Johnson responded to the ruling by insisting he was right and the judges had got their decision wrong.
He had previously said that he had no intention of resigning if the court ruled against him and based on his hardline comments today that position has not changed.
Will the PM now face a vote of no confidence?
The possibility of an imminent confidence vote is receding.
The responsibility for seeking a vote rests with Mr Corbyn as the leader of the opposition, and he has said it will not happen until after the ‘threat of No Deal is taken off the table’.
Opposition leaders rejected Mr Johnson’s demands for an early election earlier this month because they did not want to go to the country before a No Deal Brexit has been ruled out.
But an anti-No Deal law is now on the statute book while rules relating to the holding of general elections dictate that there must be a 25 day campaign period.
That means any election caused by toppling Mr Johnson would not take place until after October 31 – and after the PM has been required by law to ask the EU for a Brexit delay should no agreement have been struck.
It is important to remember that the UK must always have a prime minister: Even if Mr Johnson lost a vote of no confidence and resigned he would be expected to stay in post until a replacement has been chosen or elected.
Could a vote of no confidence succeed?
Any vote would likely be tight. Mr Johnson would expect to count on the support of the overwhelming majority of Tory MPs although today’s Supreme Court ruling could make some think long and hard about backing the PM.
Mr Johnson would also likely be backed by a number of Labour Brexit-backing MPs and the DUP.
On the other side, if Mr Corbyn was to launch a push to get rid of Mr Johnson he would likely only do so if he believed all the other opposition parties were on board.
Lib Dem sources have suggested they could now back a vote of no confidence while the SNP would leap at any opportunity to boot out Mr Johnson.
The parliamentary arithmetic means that the result could ultimately come down to how a group of 21 Tory rebels who were stripped of the whip by the PM after backing the anti-No Deal law would vote.
If they decided to vote with the opposition Mr Johnson would be in big trouble.
What happens if Mr Johnson loses a vote of no confidence?
Convention dictates that he should resign as PM. But Downing Street has suggested before that even if he did lose a confidence vote he would not walk away and would instead try to dissolve Parliament and force an election.
That really would be uncharted territory. If he lost and the government falls as it is supposed to there would then be a 14 day period in which MPs could try to form another administration.
That could be the point at which the Remain alliance tries to put together a cross-party unity government with one task: To delay Brexit beyond October 31 in order to avoid a No Deal split.
What does the Supreme Court ruling mean for Brexit?
It does nothing to change the fact that the UK is still due to leave the EU on October 31.
But crucially it gets Remainer MPs back in the game. When Parliament was suspended MPs and peers were sidelined from the Brexit process.
With Parliament sitting again they will be able to challenge the government and, should they believe it is necessary, try to seize control of proceedings as they did when they passed anti-No Deal legislation.
Could Boris Johnson try to prorogue Parliament again?
Yes. The PM hinted that he could do so when he responded to the Supreme Court ruling.
When the PM first suspended Parliament he did so with the argument that he needed time to prepare a Queen’s Speech in which his new government would set out its domestic legislative plans.
That speech had been scheduled to take place on October 14 but today’s ruling puts that date in doubt.
Mr Johnson today said the government will likely try again to bring forward a Queen’s Speech but it was not immediately clear whether the PM will try to stick to the current October 14 date.
Mr Johnson said the Supreme Court ruling did not ‘exclude the possibility of having a Queen’s Speech’ in the near future.
Lady Hale had said during her ruling this morning that a ‘normal period necessary to prepare for the Queen’s Speech is four to six days’. That suggests Mr Johnson could try to prorogue Parliament in the first week of October in order to keep to his previous timetable.
Convention dictates that Parliament must be prorogued – and the parliamentary session formally brought to a close – before a Queen’s Speech can take place to kick off a new session.
What about the Conservative Party conference?
The Tories are due to meet in Manchester next week but Mr Bercow’s decision to resume Parliament throws a grenade into their plans.
The Conservatives have said they will go ahead as planned with the four day event from Sunday until Wednesday.
It is thought ministers will try to get Parliament’s approval tomorrow for a short conference recess to allow the get together to go ahead. But the chances of MPs voting to go back to recess immediately after Parliament’s doors have been reopened appear slim.
If the Commons rejects the proposed recess then the Tories will almost certainly have to amend their plans: The leader’s speech is due to take place on Wednesday at the same time as PMQs and Mr Johnson cannot be in two places at once.
What has the EU made of all of this?
The European Commission declined to comment today on what it described as the ‘internal constitutional matters’ of the UK.
But Brussels will be closely monitoring developments in London as Westminster tries to work out what happens next.
The last EU summit before Brexit is due to take place on October 17 and Brussels is still waiting for the UK to make a formal offer on how to break the current impasse. The bloc will be waiting to see whether today’s chaos focuses minds or if it leads to further meltdown.
Boris watched the drama unfold in his New York hotel room.
In a hastily-arranged press conference on College Green, Mr Bercow delivered a thinly-veiled threat to allow more Remainer wrecking tactics.
He praised the ‘unambiguous’ ruling that the PM’s prorogation of Westminster was illegal.
Mr Bercow – who staged a protest in the House when the ‘abnormal’ suspension was forced through earlier this month – said it was not possible to have the regular Wednesday PMQs session.
But he gave a heavy hint that he is ready to help MPs take more action to bind the government, stressing that he would hear requests for urgent questions and emergency debates.
Across Parliament Square earlier, in an eviscerating and revolutionary judgment at the Supreme Court, President Lady Hale said: ‘The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions’, adding: ‘Parliament has not been prorogued’.
And in an extraordinary attack on the PM’s motives, Lady Hale added: ‘The effect upon the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme. No justification for taking action with such an extreme effect has been put before the court’.
She refused to say if he had lied to the Queen – but many of Johnson’s critics claim the ruling is tacit confirmation that the judges believe he misled the monarch.
On a historic and unprecedented day of drama at Westminster:
- 11 Supreme Court judges agreed unanimously that Boris Johnson broke the law when asking the Queen to prorogue Parliament – but fell short of saying he lied to the monarch;
- Reading the judgment Lady Hale told the court: ‘The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions. The effect upon the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme. No justification for taking action with such an extreme effect has been put before the court’;
- A snap poll found the country is split on whether Mr Johnson should resign, with 43 per cent saying he should and 39 per cent that he should not. By 49 per cent to 30 per cent the public agrees with the Supreme Court ruling, according to the YouGov research;
- Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn insisted he wants an election – but only after October 31 or when Boris Johnson ‘takes No Deal off the table’;
- John Bercow seized the chance to recall Parliament saying he will do it ‘without delay’ and without asking Boris Johnson;
- The pound rose as soon as the news emerged as markets predict the ruling could delay or derail Brexit;
- European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt praises judges and says: ‘At least one big relief in the Brexit saga: the rule of law in the UK is alive & kicking’;
- Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage says Prime Minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings, said to be the architect of the prorogation plane, must be sacked;
- Donald Trump says the US stands ready to complete an ‘exceptional’ post-Brexit trade deal with the UK;
This morning the Prime Minister was shamed as Supreme Court justices ruled unanimously he illegally prorogued Parliament in an ‘extreme’ move to ‘frustrate’ debate on Brexit.
The Supreme Court’s landmark judgment – that quoted law from 1611 – marks a seismic shift in power from the executive to the judiciary and will be viewed as a milestone date in British political history.
The Prime Minister will now be forced to dash across the Atlantic from New York tonight to face the Commons tomorrow, where MPs led by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will demand his resignation.
Mr Corbyn brought his party conference speech forward today, saying he hoped Mr Johnson would become ‘the shortest-serving prime minister there has ever been’ – but again refused to agree to a general election until after October 31.
Separately, shadow attorney general Baroness Chakrabarti claimed that it would potentially put more power in Mr Johnson’s hands, as he would be able to dictate the election date if no other PM could secure a majority within 14 days.
Instead the party leadership wants to wait until after October 19, when a rebel law passed by Remainers obliges Mr Johnson to beg the EU for a Brexit extension.
‘We can’t crash out (of the EU) during an election period,’ Lady Chakrabarti told Sky News. ‘We’re putting national interest ahead of party interest’.
Shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner went further, suggesting a referendum should be held before a general election – an idea Jeremy Corbyn has dismissed. ‘I’m saying there is a logic to holding a referendum to get the issue of Brexit done and dusted,’ Mr Gardiner told the BBC’s Politics Live.
To thunderous applause and shouts of ‘Johnson out!’, Mr Corbyn said: ‘So obey the law, take no deal off the table, and have an election to elect a government that respects democracy, that respects the rule of law and brings power back to the people, not usurps it in the way that Boris Johnson has done.’
Recalling Parliament, Mr Bercow said: ‘The citizens of the UK are entitled to expect that Parliament does discharge its core functions. I have instructed the House authorities to prepare not for the recall – prorogation was unlawful – to prepare for the resumption of the business of the house of Commons.
‘Such steps as are necessary to ensure that the House of Commons sits tomorrow and it does so at 11.30am.’
The PM has vowed not to resign from No 10.
But rival MPs seeking to deliver a fatal blow to his premiership are set to use the resumption of Parliament to inflict more damage on his administration.
Mr Johnson’s allies have called the ruling a ‘disgrace’ and said the court case was an attempt to subvert democracy more than three years after Britain voted to leave the EU.
One senior Tory MP told MailOnline they believed Mr Johnson would simply ignore resignation calls. ‘He can ignore it. He is a big boy,’ they said.
A snap poll by YouGov suggested the public are divided over whether the Prime Minister should resign following the Supreme Court’s judgment.
YouGov asked more than 4,000 adults in Great Britain on Tuesday whether Boris Johnson should quit, with 43 per cent saying he should compared to 39 per cent who said he should not.
The polling also suggested that the majority of Tories (56 per cent) and Leave voters (57 per cent) disagreed with the court’s ruling, but 73 per cent of Labour voters and 78 per cent of Remain voters said they agreed with the decision.
The Supreme Court ruling has thrown all the main parties’ plans into turmoil.
There had been rumours the Tory Conference in Manchester next week may have to be scrapped because of the chaos in Parliament.
However, the party confirmed this evening that it will go ahead.
Former Justice Secretary David Gauke said he believes that Mr Johnson can survive as Prime Minister – but urged him to sack Mr Cummings.
Speaking on the BBC News Channel, the MP – who was stripped of the Conservative whip for rebelling on Brexit – said: ‘IIt was always clear that it was politically wrong, it wasn’t justifiable to do it and we’ve now learnt that it was unlawful. That is clearly very damaging for the Prime Minister, and I hope he will change course.’
He added: ‘I think the Prime Minister can survive, but he needs to do a number of things. I think he does need to apologise for what was done earlier this month in terms of proroguing Parliament, I think he needs a change of strategy and I think he needs a change of strategist.
‘So I think the people who advised him down this path will need to leave Number 10. I think if he does that and he recognises that there needs to be a new approach which is trying to unify the country, not divide it, then I think he can continue.’
As Lady Hale delivered the verdict there were unprecedented courtroom scenes with arch-remainer Gina Miller, who helped defeat Mr Johnson, hugging her lawyer Lord Pannick QC and others as her victory over the Brexiteer Prime Minister was confirmed.
Outside in Parliament Square her supporters cheered and chanted: ‘Johnson out’ as she said: ‘The ruling today speaks volumes. This Prime Minister must open the doors of Parliament tomorrow. MPs must get back and be brave and bold in holding this unscrupulous government to account’.
Former prime minister Sir John Major, who also spearheaded the case, said: ‘I hope this ruling from the Supreme Court will deter any future Prime Minister from attempting to shut down Parliament’, adding ‘no Prime Minister must ever treat the monarch or Parliament in this way again’.
Minutes later Jeremy Corbyn celebrated with supporters at the Labour party conference in Brighton and demanded the Prime Minister’s resignation.
Boris Johnson then told business leaders in New York that he will ‘will not be deterred’ in delivering Brexit by the Halloween deadline – and said it would be ‘remiss and wrong’ not to address the judgment at the beginning of a speech at Estiatorio Milos restaurant in New York’s Hudson Yards.
‘For the avoidance of doubt, I have the highest respect of course for the judiciary and the independence of our courts,’ he said.
‘But I must say I strongly disagree with this judgment and we in the UK will not be deterred from getting on and delivering on the will on the people to come out of the EU on October 31 because that is what we were mandated to do.
‘We will simultaneously refuse to be deterred from delivering on what I think you all expect, an exciting and dynamic domestic agenda intended to make our country ever more attractive to live in and invest in.
Gina Miller then told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme: ‘I’m sort of in shock, not just pleased because of the enormity of the judgment in that so many people thought – they thought the courts wouldn’t tread on this territory, but it concerns the separation of powers, it concerns our parliamentary sovereignty and actually – what is shocking to me is how the Prime Minister is playing this down.
‘He can’t disagree with 11 of the most senior judges in our country who’ve just ruled that he did something unlawful and then think that he won’t have to face the music.
‘It is quite shocking that he thinks he can just downplay this, this is a significant moment.’
Mr Corbyn’s keynote speech to Labour conference has been brought forward from tomorrow to this afternoon, giving him a platform to attack the PM before leading the condemnation in the resumed Commons.
There are also fears that Tory conference, due to start in Manchester this weekend, will have to be abandoned altogether.
Because of prorogation, MPs have not approved a motion granting a ‘recess’ for conference. Labour and the Lib Dems have held their gatherings, so there is little prospect of them facilitating the Conservatives.
‘How can conference go ahead?’ one Tory said. ‘They have had their conferences, they will be unsympathetic to the fact that we have ours next week.’
Tory MPs would be needed at Westminster to deal with the threat of a no-confidence vote or other wrecking tactics from the Opposition.
Lady Hale delivers the verdict of the Supreme Court as they ruled that Boris broke the law when he shut down Parliament
Mr Johnson is currently in New York (pictured today) where he is to meet US President Donald Trump on Tuesday for talks at the United Nations General Assembly
The Commons Speaker says MPs will return at 11.30am tomorrow where Mr Johnson is expected to face urgent questions about his future and potentially a vote of no confidence
Jeremy Corbyn made an impromptu speech on stage in Brighton as he said he planned to try to topple Mr Johnson as Prime Minister and grab power
Delegates in the hall at Labour’s party conference in Brighton went wild as Jeremy Corbyn broke the news of Boris Johnson’s Supreme Court defeat
Today’s Supreme Court judgment will have seismic consequences over whether the Prime Minister built up over centuries can be neutered by the courts.
It also delivers a sledgehammer blow to his promise to take Britain out of the EU on October 31 ‘deal or No Deal’ with remainer MPs ready to take control of the process.
In the court’s written judgment, Supreme Court president Lady Hale and deputy president Lord Reed said: ‘Let us remind ourselves of the found
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