Jeremy Corbyn Calls on Boris Johnson to Resign

Mish

The UK's Supreme Court finds Boris Johnson acted illegally by suspending parliament for weeks. Resignation calls mount.

The UK Supreme Court ruled this morning in a unanimous decision that Johnson's suspension of parliament was unlawful.

The court decided that while suspensions are normal, the length was not.

In response Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, SNP MP Joanna Cherry, and Plaid Cymru leader Liz Saville Roberts all called on Johnson to resign.

The tabloids are all over this of course.

The Guardian Live Blog has good coverage and embedded Q&A.

Lie to the Queen?

The supreme court did not accept the government’s claim that prorogation had nothing to do with limiting the ability of MPs to scrutinise Brexit. But it did not accuse him of lying to the Queen.

Parliament Called Back

Labour whips are telling MPs to prepare for a return to parliament on Wednesday. At the parliamentary Labour party office at Labour’s annual conference whips, including Thangam Debbonaire, are telling MPs that they may be back in the house within hours. Liz McInnes, the shadow Foreign Office minister, said: “The present mood is that we will try and rearrange something for tomorrow.”

Can Johnson be Impeached?

A reader asked Andrew Sparrow at the Guardian if Johnson can be impeached. Sparrow replied " Almost certainly not. As a process impeachment is now considered obsolete."

Can Boris Johnson Prorogue Again?

The court judgment has not taken away the PM’s power to prorogue parliament, but it has curtailed it. Boris Johnson could not try to prorogue parliament again for a lengthy period without effectively being in contempt of court. It is also possible that, faced with such a transparently illegal request, the Queen could say no – or at least threaten to (although this would involve the crown getting involved in politics in a way that has not happened for a century or more). But the judgment does allow a normal prorogation – one, at this time of year, that would last a few days ahead of a Queen’s speech.

Boris Johnson signals he wants fresh prorogation ahead of Queen's speech

Boris Johnson is in New York. He will return and may even seek a fresh prorogation albeit a much shorter one.

Asked if he was running out of options, he said “on the contrary”. He replied

As the law currently stands the UK leaves the EU on 31 October, come what may. But the interesting thing, the exciting thing for us now, is to get a good deal. And that’s what we’re working on. I’ll be honest with you, it’s not made much easier by this kind of stuff in parliament, or in the courts. Obviously getting a deal is not made much easier against this background. But we’re going to get on and do it.

Motion of No-Confidence Coming Up?

Sparrow fielded the question "Isn’t a no-confidence vote now inevitable?"

No. Only the leader of the opposition can table a no confidence motion that has to be put to a vote, but other opposition parties, independent MPs and rebel Tories would only vote for one if they knew it would lead to a new government led by a PM they would find acceptable. The Lib Dems don’t want to make Jeremy Corbyn PM, and there is no support at the moment for anyone else to lead an interim government.

Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, there would be 14 days after a vote of no confidence to allow time for another government to win a confidence vote. During that period Johnson would remain as PM. Assuming no other PM emerged, after 9 October parliament would be dissolved pending an election. Under electoral law there would have to be 25 working days before polling day which would mean an election in November.

Theoretically the Benn Act means that, if the UK is heading for a no-deal Brexit on 31 October, Boris Johnson would have to request an extension. But Johnson has signalled that he wants to find a way around this, and even if he puts in a request, it is not certain that the EU will say yes.

Why Hasn’t Boris Johnson Resigned Already?

It is not that unusual for the courts to decide that ministers have acted unlawfully – under judicial review, it happens all the time – but it is rare to read a court judgment as damning as today’s. You are right to say that some ministers have resigned over matters that are far more trivial. But ministers go when they have lost the confidence of the prime minister. The PM only goes if he or she loses the confidence of the electorate (in a general election), their party or the House of Commons. Tory MPs still support Johnson (and, even if they didn’t, the 1922 Committee quietly agreed a new rule recently ruling out a leadership challenge until Johnson has been in post for a year).

Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s chief of staff, reportedly believes that if the courts find against the government in cases like this, that only boosts the opportunities for Johnson to campaign on a pro-Brexit “people v the establishment” platform - with the establishment being parliament and the courts.

Farage Blasts Cummings

Eurointelligence Comments Before Ruling

The whole UK media is gearing up for the Supreme Court’s ruling this morning. But, important as the ruling on prorogation may be in the discussion about the future of the British constitution, it is unlikely to have much of a direct impact on Brexit itself - just like prorogation itself. Prorogation did not stop the Benn extension legislation from passing in record time. And, even if the Supreme Court were to rule in favour of the government, parliament will still have time to ratify a withdrawal agreement, or launch a vote of no-confidence in the prime minister, before Brexit. We cannot think of a single Brexit outcome that is critically influenced by procedural and legal arguments.

What is harder to ascertain is the indirect political effect. If the Court were to rule that the prime minister lied to the Queen, there would be calls for his resignation. There might be further Tory MPs ready to desert a sinking ship. A vote of no-confidence could ensue. There are many other scenarios. One scenario is that the Court rules against the government, the MPs return, and Johnson prorogues again.

The court did not rule Johnson lied to the Queen but calls for resignation mounted anyway.

And note the irony. Parliament has it in its power to remove Johnson if it wants to.

So do it.

They won't because there is no support for Corbyn.

Free Vote

We agree with the observation made by Andrew Duff yesterday that it probably does not matter a great deal whether Labour will campaign for Remain. More important is whether Corbyn will allow a free vote on a withdrawal deal. If a withdrawal agreement were to squeeze through parliament with the help of pro-Brexit Labour MPs, that would be it for the Brexit saga. There would be no majority in the parliament to subject the deal to a second referendum. If that happened, both the LibDems and the Labour Remainers would of all a sudden find themselves with no policy. A second referendum makes no sense after the UK has left the EU. A campaign to re-enter will take many years.

That could easily happen.

In one fell swoop, Corbyn would kill both the Brexit Party's and the Liberal Democrats' reason for being.

But would that necessarily solve anything?

Another possible scenario is continued parliamentary stalemate. One indirect effect of Labour's decision yesterday is that it might inadvertently delay an election even after an extension is granted. The extension would be at most for three months. The same argument that stopped the general election in October will still hold then. Remainer MPs have no interest in an election they are unlikely to win. Even if Corbyn wins, the result would be seen as an endorsement of his own eurosceptic position. But we are not sure that the Remainers will be able to mount a united opposition to elections this time. The LibDems and the SNP want elections, and so does Corbyn. A November or December election remains our central scenario. But we also think that there is a possibility that Brexit might be settled beforehand.

The Liberal Democrats need an election before the Brexit issue is solved. They should back a motion of No Confidence. And that motion would only take 50%.

Curiously, however, there is likely insufficient votes to oust Johnson even though the opposition is allegedly united against him.

Synopsis

  • Prorogation and the Benn emergency legislation have both been superseded by other political events.
  • Johnson likely has a solid, legal way around Benn, if he wants to use it. It's possible he won't.
  • There is no guarantee the EU would honor an extension.
  • Labour and the Liberal Democrats are hopelessly split.
  • The opposition can remove Johnson but there is insufficient support to name anyone else, including Jeremy Corbyn.

So, What's Changed?

Arguably little. Johnson won't resign. There was no ruling that he lied to the Queen.

Parliament will be back in session earlier and can thus make more mischief, but Speaker John Bercow would likely have been able to rush through fake "emergency" legislation anyway.

The process might even look look political and backfire. It's hard to say without seeing the legislation.

Since Johnson won't resign, the main thing I can come up with is that Corbyn supposedly gave a great speech today. It's possible to see shift in public opinion as a result.

If Corbyn cannot get a bounce out of this, he will be even deeper in trouble.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

Comments (54)
No. 1-14
msurkan
msurkan

This constitutional train wreck further demonstrates how Brexit continues to be a disaster for the UK. The economic and political pain will be far worse before this is over. In all likelihood Brexit will wind up with the UK splitting apart altogether.

avidremainer
avidremainer

Well, this is up there with the twilight of the Gods. 11-0 means there was no merit in the Government's case whatsoever. It should also make people wary of any cunning stratagems coming out of the number 10 rumour mill. The 21 Conservative rebels really have stripped the Tories of their intellectual talent. Everything the liar touches has turned to lead. 0-6 in Parliament, lost his majority, lost in the Supreme Court and God love us lied to the Queen. His no deal strategy is in ruins and Corbyn will grant him an election in November and we will still be in the EU. Death of the Tory party. There is polling about voting intentions if what I have described comes to pass. It is grizzly for the Conservatives. Then again Brexit, Trump and Corbyn's performance in 2017 came as shock to me.

Deep Purple
Deep Purple

I can agree with this analysis, very fine!

Especially the part about "free vote", though it would be difficult for Corbyn, especially if parliament sits continuously. The court ruling kind of eliminates the cries about the Labour conference. The deadlock still stands.

Yancey_Ward
Yancey_Ward

Actually, nothing has changed. If the Remainers want to halt Brexit, they still need to force Johnson out and replace him with a Remain PM. They could have done this in June and July after May resigned, but they didn't do that. That they didn't hold a no confidence vote in the first week of September also tells me that they won't do it with Parliament back in session, but that is what the Remain faction has to do to stop Brexit- either remove and replace Johnson without an election, or revoke Article 50. Time to put up or shut up for Remainers. I suspect they don't have the balls to what is necessary and the UK exits on Halloween.

Quenda
Quenda

I liked this comment from Mish

"And note the irony. Parliament has it in its power to remove Johnson if it wants to.

So do it."

The Tories should call a vote of no confidence in their government. If the opposition has any integrity we'll know which way they'll vote and if not their duplicity will be laid bare for all to see.

Anyway the whole thing has reached farcical proportions now. Time for the Tories to move into opposition. Speaking of which, what happens if all the Tory ministers were to resign? I'm guessing that would essentially be the same as a VONC.

Herkie
Herkie

No ruling that Johnson lied to the queen.

They could not have ruled that even had they wanted to, their ruling already is a major insult to her majesty, but to have ruled that the PM lied to QE2 and she was gulled into going along with him would have had the effect of calling her senile, past it, no longer able to perform her most basic functions.

The ruling has had only one effect, to prove that the UK high court is a political organization that is anything but unbiased.

And what lie exactly would they have considered the PM to have said if we are to believe that one was told? Since the subject of BJ lying to the queen has come up those that say he did must have some idea what the lie was that they are saying he used to get her majesty to fall for an illegal prorogue of parliament?

And the left says that this abuse of power was shutting down democracy at a critical constitutional inflection point in UK history, which the Lady Hale agreed with and her court, but I ask what was so critical about a few more weeks of undignified, unproductive bickering and lying going to accomplish. I agree with the long prorogue since extra weeks of moaning and blocking deals and sabotaging the process is doing more harm than good for the UK.

Ending the prorogue may have the effect on Johnson to get a deal, but it takes the pressure off of the EU to make one. So, any possible deal he could work at this point thanks to the left in parliament and Lady Hale is going to in fact be worse than what May offered.

Maybe given the split in the nation over Brexit which is not a split so much in England as it is in the provinces, the UK should once and for all end the union, then England would be free to go it's own way without any of the BS.

dansilverman
dansilverman

Just as I suspected. The supreme court's decision is irrelevant. I think BoJo should ignore the ruling and keep parliament prorogued. If he has to open it, prorogue again. Whatever.

BaronAsh
BaronAsh

Re illegal:

"What is UNLAWFUL?

That which is contrary to law. “Unlawful” and “illegal” are frequently used as synonymous terms, but, in the proper sense of the word, “unlawful,” as applied to promises, agreements, considerations, and the like, denotes that they are ineffectual in law because they involve acts which, although not illegal, i. e., positively forbidden, are disapproved of by the law, and are therefore not recognized as the ground of legal rights, either because they are immoral or because they are against public policy. "

One aspect of this I find stunning is how the Supreme Court has abrogated the Power to redefine reality according to its ideas. Although prorogation clearly happened in that the commands of the Monarch were enacted by established ceremony in both Houses, this Court has placed itself above both the Monarch's authority and Actions, and also above what actually happened.

This is proof positive, to my eyes, that their Judgment, Order and indeed Authority, albeit for now being respected, is clearly UNLAWFUL.

The next Parliament should annul their existence and all of their prior Judgments, just as this Court has annulled the recent prorogation.

A truly stunning event.....

Snarla Hazard
Snarla Hazard

Ah Mish, I think the world of you and have been following you since 2005, but why... OH WHY... do you continue to defend this lumbering oaf a man? I know you must have your reasons. But jeez. This dude's a dumb-ass, he may be cunning but that's it. So what? Animals are cunning, but still have no sense and he is standing in the rain like a dumb, wet animal.

Rockiniowa
Rockiniowa

Just like the Dims are trying to impeach Trump, the Liberals I UK are calling BoJo to resign. Is this an accident? I don't think so. I hope Boris stand strong because HE HAS THE SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE. Most important, I think he has also the support of God, even though many people don't believe.

Waileong
Waileong

How can Brexit happen? Parliament won't pass any deal. They'll force a letter to request an extension somehow. The EU will grant the extension because it wants the UK to keep paying its dues. Yet there is no deal that can be struck, no matter how many extrsnjons are granted. And even if the EU doesn't grant an extension, remainers will probably revoke article 50.

Herkie
Herkie

"The UK's Supreme Court finds Boris Johnson acted illegally by suspending parliament for weeks. Resignation calls mount."

Boy, I was using the Guardian to access Brexit news aside from here, today I went to the Telegraph, a blind person can see the bias in both, Guardian reports onlt the LibDem Labour side, and Telegraph is pretty pro Conservative, but, it did remind me of something the Guardian has TOTALLY swept under the rug about the ruling issued by Lady Hale; the court ignored the fact that parliament defeated both a BJ call for an election and refused to table a vote of no confidence.

Since parliament did both these things there was not justification NOT to prorogue and BJ would not have had to lie to the queen (as if that were even possible anyway) the actions and inaction of the parliament had only one practical outcome, to delay and thwart Brexit and BJ from trying to work a deal.

The irony was the outrage on the left and in the court who did all but level treason charges at BJ when it was the left that blocked not once but twice the call for an election and vote of no confidence. How do you get more undemocratic than that?

Johnson has said it will be Brexit October 31 come what may, meaning deal or no deal. This may or may not be his actual position, but it is the only logical BARGAINING position with which the UK can possible use to force the EU to negotiate in good faith, otherwise they can (and are) sit back and allow a no deal Brexit to arrive on deadline knowing the UK public will not approve of their punitive attitude about article 50 being invoked. The EU is gambling that a punitive no deal Brexit will force a second referendum to void the first. And the whole time they can appear aloof because it is the remainers in parliament that are doing their dirty work and getting their hands dirty rather than Barnier and Junker who are playing good cop bad cop.

Now that the remainers backed by the bogus political high court ruling have neutered Johnson's ability to get a deal anyone would agree with the only option is a no deal Brexit. And the first thing BJ is planning is to again call for an election that will again not be approved, and clearly that is in counterpoint to Lady Hale's ruling, underlining the stupidity and political nature of the courts interference where it did not belong.

Johnson no longer needs care about an election as the left has no hope of winning, and even if it did it would be too late to stop the Halloween Brexit.

Snow_Dog
Snow_Dog

“If Corbyn cannot get a bounce out of this, he will be even deeper in trouble.”

Even look-alike Joe Maddon is feeling the heat as the Cubs collapse down the stretch of the 2019 MLB season. Seven straight losses!

Quenda
Quenda

To use technical terminology. The UK parliament seems to have jumped the shark yesterday. Pure speculation on my part but it seems to me that any chance of remain just vanished. Why would the EU want any part of the UK at the moment.


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