London: Boris Johnson flew back into a momentous political crisis on Wednesday, after Britain’s Supreme Court ruled he broke the law by suspending Parliament. He’s facing calls to sack his political and legal advisers and will address the House of Commons later.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox accused Parliament on Wednesday of being a “disgrace” as lawmakers returned for the first day of work since the bombshell court decision.
Cox’s baritone voice boomed across the House of Commons as he defended the advice he gave Johnson backing the suspension. He aggressively took the offensive, accusing what he called a “dead Parliament” of being “too cowardly” to vote for no-confidence motion in Johnson’s government, which would trigger an early election.
“This Parliament should have the courage to face the electorate, but it won’t, because so many of them are really all about preventing us leaving the European Union,” he told lawmakers. “But the time is coming. The time is coming, Mr. Speaker, when even these turkeys won’t be able to prevent Christmas.”
Johnson remains on a collision course with Parliament over his determination to pull Britain out of the European Union on October 31 even if no divorce deal is reached. Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek a Brexit extension if there is no deal, but Johnson says he won’t do that under any circumstances.
The prime minister flew back to London in the morning, cutting short a trip to the UN General Assembly in New York as demands for his resignation rose from opposition parties after the court ruling.
After the court ruling Tuesday, Johnson had brushed aside questions about whether he would resign. He said he “strongly” disagreed with the court decision and even suggested he might try to suspend Parliament for a second time.
In the House of Commons, newly-returned lawmakers focused their ire Wednesday on Cox, who was forced to concede that he may have to make further disclosures about his advice that the suspension was legal.
“I will consider over the coming days whether the public interest might require a greater disclosure of the advice given to the government,” Cox said.
Johnson will address Parliament later Wednesday but, looking ahead to a possible early general election, has begun to position himself as the champion of the people facing a recalcitrant establishment bent on frustrating the 2016 Brexit vote.
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said Johnson should say he was sorry to the public and to Queen Elizabeth II for telling her that Parliament should be suspended until October 14. The suspension would have limited debate before Britain’s scheduled October 31 departure from the 28-nation bloc.
“I think he should apologise to her (the Queen) for the advice he gave her but, more importantly, apologise to the British people for what he’s done in trying to shut down our democracy at a very crucial time when people are very, very worried about what will happen on October 31,” Corbyn told the BBC.