Lady Hale and the UK Supreme Court have torpedoed Boris Johnson’s cunning plan to prorogue Parliament. His request to the Queen was “unlawful, void, and of no effect.” Her Maj will not be pleased. Johnson is now boxed in – ask for an extension to Brexit, or resign.
And it was all going so well. Big meeting with Donald Trump at the UN on the world stage, freewheeling no regulations trade deal in the offiing, aligned with the Europeans and Americans on Iran.
John Rentoul sums up the consequences in the Independent:
The huge significance of the Supreme Court ruling is that it wipes out any prospect of Johnson’s being able to find a way round the Benn act.
It not only undermines the prime minister’s credibility but it makes it abundantly clear that the court will intervene quickly and brutally to prevent any attempt to subvert the will of parliament. And the one thing we have known since the start of this year is that there is a majority in parliament against leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.
But the court ruling makes it even harder to get a deal through parliament. Labour MPs sense that they have the prime minister on the run – Jeremy Corbyn made that clear with his impromptu response from the platform at the party conference in Brighton.
It will be harder now for Stephen Kinnock and his pro-deal colleagues among Labour MPs to vote for any deal that Johnson brings to parliament. They will be castigated by Remainers for bailing the prime minister out of his sinking premiership. That means we are likely to be heading for the biggest decision of Johnson’s short time as prime minister: on 19 October will he send the letter required by law asking the EU for an extension (which it is almost certain to grant), or will he resign? The choice is that stark.
This week’s media in the UK have been all about the standard “splits and divisions in the Labour Party” trope or meme (or narrative). But next week will be the Conservatives’ turn. Popcorn time.
The funny thing is that Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to be positioned and to seek another referendum on the detailed options post an election now looks to be very sensible. Steve Howell spells out why here. I met Steve at a Labour Party event in Chingford last year and was impressed. I have always thought the wisest thing ever sad about politics was Harold Wilson’s “a week is a long time in politics.”
Johnson will certainly not be so keen on an election as he was a few weeks ago. He has said he will respect the judgment and has cut short his visit to the UN and flying back to London. The Speaker has called Parliament to reconvene tomorrow.
Very definitely watch this space.