Crunch time for the UK constitution as BoJob is ordered to follow the law – or else

Not yet, but maybe soon: Boris Johnson has been warned by the courts that he must obey the Benn Act and delay Brexit if he can’t get a deal. If he refuses, will he end up in the clink?

Supporters of a “no deal” Brexit were celebrating prematurely today, after Scotland’s highest court threw out a legal bid to force Boris Johnson to apply to delay the UK’s departure from the EU.

Judge Pentland of the Court of Sessions said there could be “no doubt that the prime minister had agreed to abide by the law”, so there was no need for “coercive orders” against the government or Mr Johnson.

So that’s that, as far as the Brexiteers, the ERG and no doubt BoJob himself are concerned. They seem to think the ruling means he can avoid sending the message if no deal is struck, and the UK will crash out disastrously.

They are, of course, completely wrong.

Judge Pentland made his attitude perfectly clear: Mr Johnson has already told the court in written submissions that he will seek an extension of the Brexit deadline if no deal is struck by October 19 – and the court will hold him to it.

He said that was a binding legal commitment, and added:

I approach matters on the basis that it would be destructive of one of the core principles of constitutional propriety and of the mutual trust that is the bedrock of the relationship between the court and the Crown for the Prime Minister or the Government to renege on what they have assured the court.

In other words, if BoJob dares to contradict the Benn Act in the tiniest detail, he’ll be starting a constitutional crisis the like of which has never been seen in the United Kingdom.

Of course, that probably won’t stop him.

So the question becomes whether the institutions of the United Kingdom are being run by people capable of preventing the prime minister from doing further harm, once he crosses the line.

It’s looking like crunch time for one, the other or both.


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


No Comments

  1. MerryMichaelW October 7, 2019 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    There cannot be a constitutional “crisis”, if there IS no constitution. :-|

    • Mike Sivier October 8, 2019 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      There is a constitution. It is simply contained in several documents, written over the course of this country’s several-hundred-year history, rather than a single document created at a single time.

      • MerryMichaelW October 8, 2019 at 1:57 pm - Reply

        I dispute this, utterly. It has been shown up as a complete sham, a hall of smoke and mirrors. :-|

        • Mike Sivier October 8, 2019 at 2:57 pm - Reply

          It’s hard to tell who to believe.

Leave A Comment