Will Gove’s scaremongering put Boris Johnson in prison?

Behind bars: Considering all of the evidence, including his own behaviour in the weeks leading up to the vote on October 19, and Michael Gove’s decision to trigger Operation Yellowhammer, will a Scottish judge put Boris Johnson in prison?

Michael Gove has triggered Operation Yellowhammer – the Tory government’s contingency plan for a “no deal” Brexit, saying we cannot be sure the European Council will grant the Brexit delay that Boris Johnson has requested.

Why would he scaremonger like that? There’s no reason for the European Council to turn down the request.

Or is Mr Gove suggesting that the EU should pay more attention to Mr Johnson’s second letter, which states that he would prefer that a delay should be refused?

Won’t that put Mr Johnson in contempt of court?

He promised the Court of Session in Scotland that he would adhere to the provisions of the so-called Benn Act, meaning he would send a letter requesting a delay if Parliament did not pass his deal on October 19.

He has indeed sent such a letter – although unsigned. He also sent another missive asking the European Council to ignore the first – signed.

Today (October 21), Scotland’s most senior judge, Lord Carloway, will rule on whether these actions constitute contempt of court.

Potential punishments could include a fine or even imprisonment.

It is possible that sanctions may be suspended to allow the prime minister to comply with the court’s ruling. But this might be a little difficult as the time for compliance was October 19.

And the fact that Mr Gove has triggered “no deal” preparations in the belief that the EU will not grant an extension, and his boss won’t get Parliament to pass his deal, suggests a belief in an intention to sabotage the Benn Act conditions at the very least.

Source: Michael Gove triggers no-deal Brexit contingency plans | Politics | The Guardian

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1 thought on “Will Gove’s scaremongering put Boris Johnson in prison?

  1. Gary

    This is going to be a difficult one legally. Gove’s actions, obviously, make no difference but are appropriate under the circumstances.

    On the one hand, he has complied with the Benn Act by sending the letter. To my knowledge a signature makes no difference. The EU have already said that they are treating it just the same as any other document so the lack of signature is unimportant legally now.

    The only thing that the Court of Session can rule on is Johnson’s compliance with the act. If he manages to frustrate the outcome, but has complied, they will not be able to find against him.

    But, turning to the additional letter he has sent – I must say I haven’t read the text, I have only heard third hand accounts of what it contains. Apparently his legal team have been all over this and the wording is precise and it seems that it talks of how he would “prefer” there was no extension and “wishes” to leave on the 31st October. It would appear he has stopped short of direct instruction. It leaves the ball, very much, in the court of the EU to decide how they will deal with this.

    Whilst this whole episode makes a mockery of our parliament and our government it then means that the decision maker, the EU, will decide what is in THEIR interests to do. We know they don’t want UK to leave, definitely NOT without a deal and, even if that WERE the case, they don’t want to be the ones deciding to enact that.

    So, unless I’m reading this completely wrong, the EU will grant either a VERY long extension or one dependent upon ratification instead of an actual date ie open ended. If that IS the case then, GE result pending, Brexit will be kicked into the VERY long grass.

    Now that might sound like a desirable outcome, but it isn’t. The matter needs to be formally resolved, and resolved whilst treating the electorate with respect. This has gone on for over three years and there isn’t any sign of a way out in ANY direction, certainly not a democratic one.

    This would certainly fail to satisfy the extremists on either side of this debate and would definitely also upset the middle ground, the ordinary people who are just expecting politicians to get on with it and find a way through.

    As much as Brexit IS a stupid idea, it does have to be enacted at some point. The current situation of delay after delay with zero agreement in the meantime will not wash much further with the public. People who take no interest in politics usually are becoming annoyed that politicians are simply using devices to delay rather than finding things to agree on. And they’re right, out politicians ARE letting us down. NONE of the parties have covered themselves in glory on this..

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