It was back to business for the UK Parliament on Wednesday as MPs returned to Westminster following the Supreme Court’s ruling that Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament for five weeks was unlawful and ‘void and of no effect’.
After a brief statement by the House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, thanking the parliamentary staff for preparing Parliament for sitting at short notice, an urgent question was asked by SNP MP for Edinburgh Sout West, Joanna Cherry.
Ms Cherry asked for the attorney general, Sir Geoffery Cox to give a statement on his legal opinion on the suspension of parliament. He responded saying;
“The government accepts the judgment and accepts that it lost the case.
“At all times the government acted in good faith…and that its approach was lawful and constitutional.”
Geoffrey Cox also told MPs that he will consider in the coming days whether it is in the “public interest” for a “great disclosure” of his legal advice to the government relating to the suspension of parliament. Ms Cherry demanded the legal advice be released in full, and also said that she isn’t going to call for the attorney general’s resignation, ‘yet’.
However, Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour’s shadow solicitor general said that Mr Cox ‘hasn’t got a shred of credibility left’ and that the ruling by the Supreme Court is “the most damning judicial indictment of a government in modern times”.
Questions also followed, asking whether Mr Cox thought the Supreme Court ruling was a ‘constitutional coup’, a description reportedly used by Jacob Rees Mogg, the Leader of the House – Mr Cox insisted he did not believe it was a ‘constitutional coup’ saying, “I don’t believe that anybody does.
Mr Cox also raged “This parliament is a dead parliament. It should no longer sit”, adding, “This parliament is a disgrace.” The attorney general attacked the opposition for not agreeing to the Brexit withdrawal agreement previously presented to the house, and for not backing a general election.
Urgent questions were also asked on Wednesday about payments reportedly made by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to Hacker House, as reported here. The transport secretary, Grant Shapps then delivered a statement following the collapse of Thomas Cook which happened in the early hours of Monday morning. Ministerial statements are also expected today in the Commons from Michael Gove on the readiness for Brexit and from Dominic Raab on the situation with Iran following attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. A statement from the Prime Minister is also then expected before Jacob Rees Mogg gives a Business Statement to the House.
It is expected that the government will put forward a motion today for a general election – however, it is not thought that enough MPs will vote in favour of this for it take place. If MPs reject the motion, an election will not be able to take place before October 31.
Follow us on Twitter @speakerpolitics for the latest updates from Parliament.