The British Lion – betrayed
Yesterday Brexit was betrayed by 11 unelected Supreme Court Judges who unanimously declared that the Prorogation was unlawful. Yesterday our democracy was killed.
As you’d expect, the MSM are full of reports and opinions while we all wait with bated breath for today’s session in the reconvened HoC. It starts at 11.30, suitably enough with prayers, see the Parliament website. What can we expect? Well – not a VoNC because Corbyn doesn’t want a GE:
“Mr Corbyn told Labour’s Brighton conference that he would not move to trigger a general election until a no-deal Brexit had been taken off the table. His official spokesman later confirmed that Labour would not table a confidence motion until the Government had complied with legislation requiring Mr Johnson to seek a three-month Brexit delay.” (paywalled link)
We can also expect to see the ‘loyal opposition parties’, supported by the ‘Tory rebels, abandon Fair Play by refusing to grant the Tory Party a brief recess so they can attend their AGM. Just look at that inane Labour request:
“Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said that Labour would not vote for a recess over the Conservative Party conference. […] His party said it would only support a conference recess for the Tories if Boris Johnson went to Brussels and agreed to delay Brexit. Former Tory MPs who were stripped of the whip after rebelling over Brexit said that they would join Labour in opposing a conference recess. “After the way they’ve behaved over prorogation why on earth would we help them?” one said. “There is no goodwill left, they can’t be trusted.” (link, paywalled)
That of course raises the question yet again: who governs this country? The government or a cabal of opposition MPs? if they don’t trust the government, why are they not demanding a VoNC? Are they scared of having to field a GNU, a government of national unity, because they would then own the Remain mess they’ve created?
Perhaps they cannot agree on a ‘caretaker PM’? Corbyn wants to be in No 10, but the LibDems and Tory rebels don’t … so who actually governs our country?
More on that below, first a few more outcries and demands. One demand is for the sacking of the Attorney General, Mr Cox (here) who advised Johnson on the lawfulness of the Prorogation. SKY News got the leaked text of that advice – leaked from the Scottish Court hearings. You can see that text here. The DT has this summary:
“Mr Johnson discussed the plan to prorogue parliament with his chief adviser Dominic Cummings and Nikki da Costa – Downing Street’s Director of Legislative Affairs – on August 15. The Prime Minister then turned to the Attorney General to get his legal view of the proposal during the week ending August 24. On August 28, Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg travelled to Balmoral in Scotland with Leader of the Lords Baroness Evans and Chief Whip Mark Spencer to ask for parliament to be prorogued. In a cabinet-level conference call later that day, Mr Cox insisted the plan was lawful, with the leaked minute of the conversation saying: “The attorney general said that his advice on the question of the law is that this was lawful and within the constitution.Any accusations of unlawfulness or constitutional outrage were motivated by political considerations.” (paywalled link)
While some Tories are baying for the head of Mr Cox, others are screaming that Dominic Cummings must be sacked – see here. The Times writes:
“One Conservative MP told The Times: “If there’s one thing that is 100 per cent clear after this, it is that Cummings must go and go now. It is entirely his failure and he must pay the price now.” David Gauke, the former justice secretary, said that Mr Cummings’s position was untenable. With opposition parties calling for Mr Johnson to step down, Mr Cummings, 47, offers a tempting alternative target for unhappy Conservatives.” (link, paywalled)
Some Tory MPs seem to want to govern from outside cabinet, without responsibility, by forcing the PM to employ advisors whom they like. It will come as no surprise that those ‘unhappy conservatives’ are the 21 MPs who had the whip withdrawn for voting against the government for the Benn Bill.
I suggest they ought to keep in mind that their harlotry only reinforces the disgust of us Leave voters for their constant betrayal of Brexit. These MPs are playing to the other Remainers in the HoC, in the MSM and in the Westminster bubble. We out her know better, and know full well what they have done and are doing.
The next one in the firing line of irate Tories who can see their chances of re-election going down the drain is none other than Jacob Rees-Mogg. Here’s a report on what JRM is alleged to have said:
“Last night, in a Cabinet conference call, Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg accused Supreme Court judges of launching a ‘constitutional coup’ and ‘the most extraordinary overthrowing of the constitution’. He also accused the judges of making errors, saying ‘some elements of the judgment are factually inaccurate’.” (link)
Sadly, we’re not told in that report what those errors are – but I predict we’ll hear them this morning when JRM speaks to the HoC. Meanwhile read and savour this extraordinary ‘outcry’:
“One senior Conservative MP was furious with the government’s conduct, and told the Telegraph: “Jacob Rees-Mogg and Geoffrey Cox – they are the main two. They are treating this whole thing like it’s a —-ing game. They are trying to govern one of the world’s most powerful military states and largest economies like it’s a debating club.” (paywalled link)
Dearie me! I wonder who that ‘senior conservative MP’ is. I hazard the guess that he’s a Remainer. He must be content then that the Remain opposition and the Speaker are now governing our country, sanctioned by the SC. Is he ok with that? Why?
There are other, critical assessments of the verdict and what it means for the government of our country. For example, Philip Johnston observes in the DT:
“Constitutionally, the court’s decision is seminal. It marks the most brazen encroachment of the judiciary on to territory once considered an untouchable Crown prerogative. Just two weeks ago, the High Court in London, with the Lord Chief Justice, the Master of the Rolls and the President of the Queen’s Bench Division sitting, ruled that the legality or otherwise of prorogation was not a matter for the judiciary: “The court concludes on well established and conventional grounds that the claim is non justiciable – that is, not capable of being determined by the court.” If these grounds are “well-established” how could they be overturned in such a peremptory way? The failure of a single Supreme Court judge to stand up for long-established constitutional principles is shocking.” (paywalled link)
That is a good question and a good observation: shocking indeed – but not to be wondered at when we read that one of those Judges was Lord Kerr, the author of that Article-50-clause in the infamous Lisbon Treaty.
The indefatigable, incomparable Sir John Redwood remarks in his Diary this morning:
“It cannot be the right answer to the big question of whether we remain or leave the EU to have that finally determined in a court of law based on an Act of Parliament rushed through against the wishes of the PM, the government and the majority who voted Leave in the referendum.” (link)
Precisely so – do read the whole thing! Here’s another interesting bit of information that came out after the verdict. It throws a light on how and why this case came about and was won. Gina Miller, and her lawyer Lord Pannick, have been preparing for this court case a long time ago:
“In July, as soon as Conservative leadership candidates had floated the idea of suspending parliament, Ms Miller had reassembled the team that helped her to win the legal battle in 2016 over parliament’s role in the Article 50 process.” (link, paywalled)
Ah! No wonder she needed to ask for crowd-funding – paying those eminent lawyers for such a long time doesn’t come cheap.
When we therefore ask who governs this country, we can say with confidence: not the government, not Whitehall Mandarins, not Parliament, but the Law Courts used by those with the deepest pockets.
Richard Littlejohn, trenchant as ever, asks in his column in the DM:
“If this wasn’t about Brexit, why did arch-Remainer Gina Miller bring her case in the first place? Why, otherwise, were they so violently opposed to Boris Johnson suspending Parliament for five weeks? It’s not as if any of them have ever objected before to having more than a month off. In the 40-odd years I’ve been writing about politics, I can’t remember Parliament ever sitting in September. The House would break up in the summer and not reconvene until after the party conference season in October. So what was the big deal? MPs are being ‘silenced’, they screamed. If only. They never shut up. No, the real reason they were feigning outrage is that Boris would have denied them a few extra days to frustrate Brexit.” (link)
Precisely! I think you might like to read his whole column, it’s not paywalled. His conclusion speaks for all us Leavers:
“Inside the Bubble this is being presented as a victory for parliamentary sovereignty, for justice and for democracy. Outside, where most of us live, we can see it for exactly what it really is: a disgraceful, but well-executed Remain stitch-up. They’re trying to drum into our thick heads that they know best and our votes are worthless. It isn’t justice, and it’s definitely not democracy.” (link)
There’s nothing to add to that! I have one question though. I noticed that the government’s barristers were bringing comparatively weak arguments, especially opposing arguments made by Lord Pannick. I wondered why that was – does the government not have access to eminent lawyers, Mr Martin Howe QC for example?
Thus I ask: was Johnson perhaps aiming to lose this case, and if so – why? Isn’t his calm response, his acceptance of this verdict … astonishing? My suspicion-antennae are twitching furiously, and I wonder if this was the ‘secret plan known to three people’ we’ve heard about at the start of the month. What do you think?
Anyway, with the HoC now back, it’s “once more into the breach”, so: