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MPs return to Westminster after bombshell legal ruling

The Prime Minister will fly back into a political storm with demands for his resignation from furious opposition parties.

Parliament will return on Wednesday (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Parliament will return on Wednesday (Jonathan Brady/PA)

By PA Political Staff

MPs are preparing to return to Westminster after the bombshell legal ruling that Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was unlawful.

The Prime Minister will fly back into a political storm with demands for his resignation from furious opposition parties, determined to hold him to account over his Brexit plans.

Downing Street insisted there was no question of him standing aside, despite the Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday there was no “reasonable justification” for his advice to the Queen to prorogue Parliament for five weeks.

Meanwhile in New York, Mr Johnson addressed the UN General Assembly and his only mention of Brexit was a comparison to the myth of Prometheus.

Referring to how the Titan’s liver was pecked out by an eagle, he said: “And this went on forever.

“A bit like the experience of Brexit in the UK, if some of our Parliamentarians had their way.”

Earlier, the Prime Minister insisted he would not be deterred from taking Britain out of the EU on October 31.

While he said he had the “utmost respect” for the judiciary and would abide by the court’s ruling, he nevertheless said he “strongly disagreed” with its decision.

He also issued a warning to pro-Remain MPs not to try to “frustrate” the will of the people by blocking Brexit.

“I think it would be very unfortunate if Parliament made that objective which the people want more difficult but we will get on,” he said.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been in New York attending the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Johnson is expected to land in the UK around midday on Wednesday, and it is thought likely that he will address the Commons in the afternoon.

He updated Cabinet ministers on the ruling in a conference call on Tuesday from New York, in which Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg reportedly said the Supreme Court judgment amounted to a “constitutional coup”.

Mr Johnson also spoke to the Queen after the verdict, according to a Government source who would not comment on whether he apologised to the monarch.

The court’s ruling that the prorogation was “void and of no effect” meant there was no need for the Government to formally recall Parliament.

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Prime ministers with the shortest time in office (PA Graphics)

Instead Commons Speaker John Bercow simply announced MPs would resume sitting at 11.30am on Wednesday.

Although there will be no Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Bercow said there would be “full scope” for urgent questions, ministerial statements and applications for emergency debates which MPs have used to seize control of the Commons timetable from the Government.

Shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett indicated they would be seeking to bring Mr Johnson to the Commons chamber to account for his actions.

“We want to hear what legal advice he was acting on, why he ended up in court and being ruled in this quite extraordinary way,” he said.

“As the debate goes on and we hear the answers, clearly we will be wondering and making decisions on how to proceed next.”

Mr Rees-Mogg will set out the business for the week on Wednesday, a Government source said.

Mr Johnson meanwhile has said he still wants to go ahead with a new Queen’s Speech setting out the Government’s legislative programme – his stated reason for seeking a prorogation.

His comments suggest that he could potentially seek another prorogation – something he has not ruled out.

Opposition MPs are likely to use the resumed sittings to try to ensure Mr Johnson cannot take Britain out of the EU without a deal at the end of October.

The Prime Minister has insisted he will not seek another Brexit delay, despite the passing of the so-called Benn Act, requiring him to seek a further extension from the EU if he cannot get a new agreement.

Jeremy Corbyn, who brought forward his Labour Party Conference speech so he can return to Westminster on Wednesday, said once no-deal was off the table, they would seek to push for a general election.

“The Prime Minister acted illegally when he tried to shut down opposition to his reckless and disastrous plan to crash out of the European Union without a deal. But he has failed,” he told delegates in Brighton.

“This unelected Prime Minister should now resign.”

The SNP leader at Westminster Ian Blackford said once it was clear Parliament had blocked a no-deal Brexit, the opposition parties should combine to pass a vote of no confidence.

“We cannot tolerate this man who is behaving in an undemocratic manner, behaving like a dictator,” he said.

“He has to be removed from office and the opposition has to come together, the opposition has to do its job.”

PA

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