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Boris disagrees with court, still plans Brexit

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to press on with his plans for Brexit, despite a devastating ruling by Britain’s highest court that his suspension of parliament was unlawful.

 

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Johnson said he would abide by the finding of the Supreme Court that the five-week prorogation was “void and of no effect” even though he disagreed with its conclusion.

A government source said Johnson had spoken to the Queen “after the verdict” on Tuesday but would not say whether he apologised to her.

The PM also held a telephone call with his full cabinet lasting for about 30 minutes to update them on the ruling, expressing that he disagrees with the decision but that he respects the independence of the judiciary, an official said.

Following the legal bombshell, Commons Speaker John Bercow announced that MPs would return to Westminster on Wednesday with the House sitting at 11.30am local time.

The ruling prompted immediate demands from the opposition for Johnson to quit amid claims his position had become untenable.

Downing Street insisted there was no question of Johnson – who was in New York for the UN General Assembly when the result was announced – stepping aside.

Johnson, who will fly back to the UK overnight, said the return of MPs would go ahead but he made clear his unhappiness with the court’s “unusual judgment”.

“I strongly disagree with this decision of the Supreme Court,” he told reporters.

“I have the utmost respect for our judiciary, I don’t think this was the right decision, I think that the prorogation has been used for centuries without this kind of challenge.

“I think the most important thing is we get on and deliver Brexit on October 31, and clearly the claimants in this case are determined to frustrate that and to stop that.

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

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg will set out the business for the week on Wednesday but Johnson will not land from New York until midday – half an hour after the resumption of parliament – following a delay to his UN speech.

Johnson, meanwhile, was facing calls to sack the advisers who persuaded him to seek a prorogation, including his controversial chief adviser Dominic Cummings.

Former justice secretary David Gauke, who lost the Tory whip after rebelling over Brexit, said: “I think he needs a change of strategy and I think he needs a change of strategist.”

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox had advised the prime minister that the suspension would be lawful.

An Attorney General’s Office spokesman said: “We are disappointed that in the end the Supreme Court took a different view. We respect the judgment of the Supreme Court.”

-AAP

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