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Analysis

Johnson can run but he can’t hide

by Hugo Dixon | 11.09.2019

The Prime Minister has an unfortunate habit of not telling the truth. Now a Scottish court has ruled he even misled the Queen about his reasons for shutting Parliament. 

Boris Johnson told her and the public that he needed to suspend Parliament for an unusually long five weeks because he had lots of exciting new policies. To introduce these, there would need to be a Queen’s speech and that meant Parliament first had to be shut.

Scotland’s most senior civil court has ruled that this wasn’t the real reason. The Prime Minister was shutting down Parliament because he wanted to stymie debate about Brexit. The suspension was therefore illegal.

You can see why Johnson wanted to avoid scrutiny. He has already suffered six Parliamentary defeats in six days. He can’t take the heat. He doesn’t have a majority. His government is falling apart.

The Supreme Court will rule next Tuesday whether the Scottish court is right. It will also give its ruling on two similar legal cases in England and Northern Ireland.

If the Supreme Court agrees that Johnson misled the Queen, he should resign. You can’t have a prime minister who is deceiving the sovereign.

Even if he hangs on as prime minister and Parliament is recalled, he will suffer a daily battering by MPs. His standing with his own party and the general public will be knocked.

Meanwhile, Johnson has to decide whether to obey Parliament’s order to disclose private messages from officials explaining the reasoning behind the suspension. The deadline to comply is 11 pm tonight.

If Johnson disobeys Parliament’s instruction, the implication will be that he is trying to cover his tracks. As soon as Parliament is recalled, MPs are then likely to pass a motion finding him in contempt of Parliament. If so, it is again hard to see how the Queen could keep him as her Prime Minister.

Johnson can run but he cannot hide.

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Edited by Rachel Franklin

Categories: UK Politics

One Response to “Johnson can run but he can’t hide”

  • All the talk today is about having an Ireland only backstop but that is going to be so controversial that it surely is a non starter.
    Johnson has been humiliated in Parliament and he is hemmed in. His claim that he was going to ‘get on with Brexit do or die AND reunite the country’ at the same time is impossible to achieve. However, if he asks the country in a second referendum to choose between some sort of deal and the option to remain then it gets him off the hook. Perhaps there may be a no deal option included as well. (Some one cleverer than I would be needed to work out the exact wording of the ballot paper.)
    If the terms of the legislation to have such a referendum are more precise than last time, then, whatever the result, we will all have to accept it. That includes the ERG and the obnoxious Baker (who got really het up on ‘Politics Live’ last Monday). This time, though, people will know what they are voting for and the campaign should be more cleanly and fairly fought. As Hugo says, a referendum would take six months to organise and possible allow Johnson to cling on to power. It may his only way of not being totally humiliated, so he could go for it.
    What an oafish buffon he is. Tell me, please who in the 21st century insults someone by calling them a ‘big girls blouse’ other than an entitled Etonian public schoolboy and member of the Bullingdon Club? He likes giving orders but does not like it ‘up him’ at all! I think Hugo has his number!