Tag Archives: session

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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Tories wildly contradict each other about breaking the law over Brexit

Behind bars: If Boris Johnson is lying to the courts, this is where he could find himself.

Well, this is as clear as mud, which is exactly what Boris Johnson is playing in.

Yesterday (October 3) he told us all that his newly-offered version of an EU withdrawal agreement was his last word on the subject and if it was rejected by Parliament or MEPs he would take the UK out of the 28-state bloc without a deal.

This would be a breach of the conditions of the so-called Benn Act, which forbids the UK from leaving without a deal.

On the BBC’s Today programme this morning (October 4), Home Office minister Brandon Lewis said: “From our point of view it’s a final offer…  I’ve got to say, to be frank, as the prime minister said, this is our clear final deal. We think it’s a good deal, it’s a fair deal, it delivers both legally and security-wise for both our country here in the UK and obviously our friends in Europe.”

He added that the government would be willing to enter negotiations on smaller points – and claimed that there was a “building majority” of support for the plan in the Commons.

But Mr Johnson’s legal team said the exact opposite in its submissions to a court case today.

Scotland’s highest civil court – the Court of Session’s inner house – is set to hear a case to decide whether a judge could sign a letter calling for Brexit to be delayed, if Mr Johnson refuses to do so. The power to do so is called nobile officium – which Twitter users have humorously abbreviated to #noboff – but judges have already said there is “a question of competence” to do so as this power has never been used over a prime minister.

The government tried to have the case delayed until after October 19 – the date by which, if his deal is rejected, the Benn Act requires such a letter to be sent – but the court ruled that this would not provide enough time to hear the case and send the letter, if necessary.

So now the government has said, in documents sent to the court, that it will send a letter “in the form set out by no later than 19 October 2019”.

He seems to be saying one thing in public and another in private.

And isn’t it illegal to lie to a court – perjury? Could this case put Boris Johnson behind bars, at last?

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Theresa May’s latest Brexit nightmare involves the Queen herself

Not satire: When we finally get a new Parliamentary session, started with the Queen’s Speech, “Well you’ve really made a mess of it all. Shall I get Philip to drive you home?” is about the minimum Mrs May should expect.

All the prevarication and delay over Brexit has backed Theresa May into a tight corner that could end her government – and not a moment too soon.

And it all revolves around the Queen’s Speech.

Each session of Parliament kicks off with a speech from Her Majesty, written by the government, setting out the agenda for the new session. The current session was expected to be two years long because of the extra work necessary to pass Brexit.

But now everything else on the programme has been handled except Brexit, and there’s no conclusion to that nightmare in sight because bringing it back to Parliament may result in another disastrous defeat, and that would force Mrs May to end the session.

It is certainly time to call an end to what has probably been the most disastrous Parliamentary session in UK history – but the Tories can’t do it because they think it may be electoral suicide.

They don’t think they can get majority support for any new legislative programme, you see. And support for the programme – as laid out in the Queen’s Speech – is the bare minimum requirement for any government to show that Parliament has confidence in it.

Without the confidence of Parliament – well, you can probably guess the rest.

Theresa May leads a minority government that has only ever been able to count on the support of the Commons due to a “confidence and supply” arrangement with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party – but that organisation’s confidence in Mrs May has been in short supply lately and the agreement will expire at the end of the current session. It seems unlikely that it will be renewed without another massive contribution from the magic money tree that the Tories have been telling us all they don’t have.

And Conservatives – including several grandees – are deserting the party due to their own disagreements with the leadership over Brexit and other matters.

So Mrs May is caught in a double-bind.

She can’t keep going because the only thing left is Brexit, and then she’ll have to stop anyway.

But she can’t stop anyway, and start another session, because Parliament will probably force the end of her government with a “no confidence” vote.

So now she is trying to fill up the extra time she thinks she needs with a B-list of weak-sauce Bills that she doesn’t think Parliament would reject.

But the DUP’s Nigel Dodds is already on the record as saying many MPs may not accept that.

She’s unsafe whatever she does, so she is doing nothing. Meanwhile, the UK stagnates. This is what happens when you put a great nation in the hands of a fool, at the head of a party of fools.


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