LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced MPs on Wednesday after they reconvened following the Supreme Court’s damning judgement that his suspension of parliament in the run-up to Brexit was unlawful.
Johnson flew back from the UN General Assembly in New York into a major crisis that has sparked calls for his resignation just weeks before Britain is due to leave the European Union on October 31.
Despite the stunning rebuke from the highest court in the land, the Conservative leader continues to insist he will take Britain out of the bloc next month even if he cannot agree exit terms with Brussels.
However, Attorney General Geoffrey Cox told MPs the government would abide by a law passed this month demanding Brexit be delayed to avoid a “no-deal” exit.
Cox did not explain how the government could do so and still keep its promise.
Cox was summoned to the House of Commons to answer questions about Tuesday’s court judgment, until Johnson — who only landed mid-morning — can set out his next steps later in the day.
He suggested that in response, the government would try for a third time to call a snap election to try to resolve the political impasse over Brexit.
The leader of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, has called on Johnson to resign following the court ruling.
However, he told the BBC he would not call a confidence vote in parliament until the possibility of a no-deal Brexit has been eliminated.
“Our first priority is to prevent a no-deal exit from the European Union on October 31,” he said
The Conservative leader landed back in London at around 10:30 am after a trip to New York, heading straight into a political maelstrom triggered by Tuesday’s damning court ruling that his decision to suspend parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
He was due to address parliament later over the ruling, while insisting that he would still not accept MPs’ demands to ask Brussels for an extension to the October 31 Brexit deadline, according to his Downing Street office, setting him on another collision course with lawmakers.
The speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, reconvened parliament at 11:30 am on Wednesday, with the upper House of Lords to return later in the day.
Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn called on Johnson to resign but said he would not call a no confidence vote in parliament until the possibility of a no-deal Brexit has been eliminated.
“Our first priority is to prevent a no-deal exit from the European Union on October 31,” Corbyn told BBC radio.
Bercow said there would be no Prime Minister’s Questions — a weekly session held on Wednesdays — but there would be “full scope for urgent questions, for ministerial statements, and for applications for emergency debates”.
Cabinet member Michael Gove said the government would outline its next steps in parliament later on Wednesday.
“I don’t think that the government should apologise for having a strong domestic agenda. I don’t think we should apologise also for seeking to advance our exit from the European Union,” Gove told the BBC. — AFP