A PM who puts himself above the law is a tyrant

by Hugo Dixon | 25.09.2019

Boris Johnson has attacked the Supreme Court after it ruled he unlawfully suspended Parliament. This is a dangerous path to tread.

The Prime Minister said in the House of Commons that the “Court was wrong to pronounce on what is essentially a political question.” How wrong he is. The Supreme Court had to rule against the suspension of Parliament so that political life could continue.

Johnson’s comments come hard on the heels of Jacob Rees-Mogg saying that the Supreme Court judgment was a “constitutional coup”. It was actually necessary to stop an attempt by the government to stifle democracy.

When the Prime Minister was invited by Jeremy Corbyn to distance himself from Rees-Mogg’s remark, he ignored the question. He also gave the Labour leader a contradictory answer when asked whether he would follow the new law requiring him to ask the EU for extra time so we don’t crash out on October 31. He said: “We will obey the law and we will come out of the EU on October 31.” How can he do both?

What has happened to the Conservative Party? It used to be the party of law and order. Now it is undermining our judicial system, trying to overturn our constitution and darkly hinting that it will deliberately break the law – all in aid of an ideological project. If Labour was doing this, the Tories would be screaming blue murder, and rightly so.

Whether Johnson will actually refuse to ask the EU to delay Brexit is anybody’s guess. Maybe he doesn’t even know himself. But he certainly can’t be trusted. That’s why MPs must do whatever they can to remove every little bit of wiggle room. I set out five things they can do here

But there’s one thing the opposition mustn’t do – fall into the trap of giving Johnson an election before Brexit has been delayed. The Prime Minister tried this evening to goad Corbyn into triggering a vote of no confidence in him. This was an extraordinary act of desperation. The Labour leader is wisely letting him twist in the wind.

Edited by Rachel Franklin

Categories: Uncategorised

14 Responses to “A PM who puts himself above the law is a tyrant”

  • That was the most shameful performance I have ever seen from a PM of this country. The smirking and calling out from the Tory benches was as bad. Duncan-Smith was giggling as he fed Johnson a question.
    Johnson has no respect for the law and his debating skills are crude and infantile. Sixth formers would wipe the floor with this cocky idiot.
    As Hugo says the opposition parties must not agree to an election unless no deal is taken off the agenda. Johnson is not to be trusted. It was very depressing to witness.
    Well done Hugo on getting this article published so quickly.

  • I see no evidence that he has. Johnson was advised that proroguing under those circumstances was in fact lawful. Critically the High Court also ruled that it was lawful. The fact that, on appeal, the Supreme Court ultimately ruled against him is hardly tantamount to Johnson “putting himself above the law”, not least because that decision has been speedily accepted, Parliament is now sitting and Johnson and the government have answered to MPs. What is “tyrannical” about that? That isn’t to say that the Supreme Court’s decision is beyond criticism and Johnson is perfectly entitled to say so. This article is simply more of Dixon’s ludicrous hyperbole. It is interesting that both he and Johnson were King’s Scholars at Eton in, I think, the very same year. I suspect a petty, atavistic schoolboy jealousy may well be in play here!

  • Total nonsense. The difference between Dixon and Johnson is that one has decency and a backbone and the other one doesn’t. Latter would sell his grandmother if it played to his advantage. Your comments are in line with the ones from those Tory MPs that will stop at nothing to force the Brexit sect’s ideology down this country’s throat.

  • Well, 17.4 million people did, three years ago. It is estimated that about one million of them have died, in the meantime – many were very old – but in any case, that was only just over a quarter of the Country. Nearly 50 million did not vote to leave and everybody will be adversely affected (and are already). No deal, which is what we are talking about, would be a disaster for everyone – except, perhaps, the very wealthy

  • What an astonishing comment, Mr Cape. Johnson is a liar and a racist who looks down on ordinary people. He has no conscience and anyone who suffers from his crazy Brexit no deal policy will be seen as mere ‘casualties’. Like Farage, he uses the language of war and despicably took the late Jo Cox’s name in vain. It was unforgivable. He has had a spoilt upbringing and actually has no respect for the law. Witness the several parking tickets on the windscreen of his battered people carrier. The law is for others to obey, not Johnson.
    Hugo actually appreciates the damage Brexit will do to the economy and social fabric of this decaying country. He is honest and does not revert to racism and bluster to get his point over. You should apologise for your nasty, unfounded comments.

  • In the perverse world of brexitannia the High Ct outweighs the Supreme Ct and the Court of Session (equivalent to the English Ct of Appeal) – that’s 14 – 2 (if one includes the NI Ct). But it’s not about how many judges went one way or another – it’s about the rule of law, one of the fundamental pillars of a democratic state. brextremists, not content with trashing parliamentary sovereignty, conventions, the Monarch, are not intent on trashing the rule of law. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, brexit is a fascist project.
    Borisolini, Raabid, Reesty-Smugg, and all the other criminals, have not a shred of decency, humility, shame, honour – a rabble. Impeach the lot.

  • Mariina vo Bornin. Are you suggesting that Hugo “would sell his grandmother”? I see no evidence for that and certainly would not make any such claim about anybody , neither Hugo , nor Boris nor anyone else, unless I had a very good provable reason to do so, which I most certainly don’t. I suspect you don’t either but are merely given over to the sort of type of hyperbolic irresponsility that unfortunately characterises so many of the mindless on each side of the debate.

  • William D Taylor. Why should you be astonished? I provide facts: Johnson was advised that proroguing was lawful; the High Court ruled that it was lawful; Parliament is now sitting and Johnson and the government have answered to MPs. On the other hand you merely provide personal assertions: Johnson is a liar…is a racist…looks down on ordinary people… has no conscience etc. I am sorry but when someone is given to such an infantile response by way of “repudiation” I cannot find that there is anything worthwhile to argue about with him.

  • Tim,
    The High Court ruled that it was lawful because they decided they were straying into a Political Issue. They made no comment about the Johnson’s honesty. The Government’s lawyers in the Supreme Court hearing tried to take the same approach as in the High Court, but their arguments were invalidated because the real issue was to do with Johnson’s actions impeding the normal functioning of Government at a critical time set against the 31st October deadline. They were not making a statement about Politics but trying to ensure the proper and legal functioning of Government. Johnson’s lawyers submitted no witness statement in his defence and the claim that a 5 week prorogation was justified for the preparation of a Queen’s speech judged as being excessive. If you haven’t read Lady Hale’s statement I suggest you do so. You can try and fault it if you wish, but I reckon only a judge who turned a blind eye to the evidence would have ruled in the Government’s favour.

  • Mr Cape: my remarks about Johnson can be evidenced and you know it. I was astonished by your attack on Hugo Dixon. The bit about schoolboy jealousy – I presume you can evidence it? Johnson’s comments about Jo Cook were indefensible. Do you agree or disagree?
    You are a pretty rude person!

  • Tim,
    You may have already realised that it is a bit of a waste of time trying to get a sensible, mature debate on this forum as so many of it’s contributors cannot get over their grief that this country voted to leave the EU. Just like the fanatical remainers in parliament they pour out their venom on anybody who disagrees with them and then whinge when the venom comes the other way.

  • PLEASE will some Brexiteer give us a list of the benefits of leaving the EU, particularly with the no deal option. I have yet to see any benefits to either country or to the normal citizen.

  • @Arnold Pitt
    An absolutely fundamental point that always gets avoided by Brexiteers. What indeed are the benefits from Brexit? The simple reason they can’t answer it, is because there are no benefits. All they have are vague slogans like ‘taking back control’ (tho ironically doesn’t seem to suit when Parliament really wants to take back control!). The reality is Brexit will bring complications, delays, extra bureaucracy and problems to anyone having dealings with Europe. Even for those not having direct dealings with Europe, it will still hit them because of the knock on effects on the economy. Brexit is a pointless and stupid exercise with us British being the hardest hit.