Really a Right Wing Coup 274


Just because it is not written in a single document does not mean the UK does not have a constitution. But it does mean it has a particularly bad one.

If like me you were awake until 2am watching the remarkable scenes in Parliament last night, as opposition MPs stayed and protested in the Commons as Speaker Bercow, having himself entered a formal protest, led the Tories to the dissolution ceremony in the Lords, you were probably struck by the ridiculous flummery of it all. The three Queen’s Commissioners sat before the golden throne in silly hats, which the gentlemen doffed formally and very slowly three times, while the lady did not, and the Speaker and Commons staff bobbed low each time in response like a row of overdressed ducks.

This ludicrous pantomime is intended to reinforce the majesty of the monarch in the minds of the plebs, and indeed as an example of monarchical power it is effective. The prorogation, which Bercow objected to as an “executive fiat”, is just that and had it been made in the name of Boris Johnson, it is extremely probable that Bercow, with the strong support of the majority of the Commons, would have resisted the prorogation and carried on sitting. But because it is done in the name of Elizabeth Saxe Coburg Gotha, the most outrageous and undemocratic acts are suffered out of a misplaced sense of personal loyalty to the 93 year old monarch.

While Rees Mogg and his racist Brexiteer stormtroopers from the Commons turned up eagerly to grovel, it was very notable that only a dozen Tory peers bothered to show – something else totally unprecedented about this prorogation. Last week I was again up till 2am watching parliament and the much touted (esp on Guido Fawkes) Tory filibuster to stop the anti no deal Act. On a series of ridiculous procedural motions, on which counted votes were insisted despite obvious massive defeat by acclamation, the Government vote fell from in the low 100s until eventually they were being defeated every time by margins of approximately 250 to 60, and they gave up the filibuster in embarrassment. There was a remarkable contrast between the breathless excitement with which the mainstream media trailed the filibuster, as the BBC here, and the brief and sordid reality. Johnson’s repeated defeats in the Commons have rather overshadowed the utter contempt in which he is held in the Lords.

The monarchy is not a neutral player in all this. By the monarchy I mean not only the Queen, but the professional courtiers who surround her, each paid by the taxpayer. It is almost twenty years since I last held a conversation with the Queen, and I just do not know how sharp her faculties remain at 93, but I have not heard she is not still making her own decisions.

Boris Johnson should not be Prime Minister. It is not the constitutional duty of the monarch to appoint as Prime Minister the leader of the Conservative Party, and not even the leader of the largest party in the House of Commons, but a person who can command a majority in the House of Commons. For example, in 2010 Gordon Brown tried to put together a “rainbow coalition” to get a Commons majority and be reappointed Prime Minister. Had he succeeded in putting together such a coalition with a majority, the Queen would have had to appoint him even though David Cameron’s party had more seats than Labour. This was universally accepted as the constitutional position. It did not happen in the end as the Lib Dems preferred the Tories.

Nothing in the Fixed Term Parliaments Act alters the constitutional position that the Prime Minister must be able to command a majority in the House of Commons.

It was unconstitutional of Elizabeth Saxe Coburg Gotha to appoint Boris Johnson as Prime Minister when it was absolutely plain at the outset he had no majority in the House of Commons. This is not hindsight, I said so at the time. Now it has been proven that he has no majority in the House as he has been defeated six times out of six on major votes on the most important issues of the day. He has never won an important vote on anything as Prime Minister. Whether or not these are characterised as “confidence issues” is irrelevant. The man Johnson has never had a Commons majority. I can think of nothing more unconstitutional – and I think it can absolutely be characterised as a coup – than for the Queen to appoint a Prime Minister who has no majority support in the Commons, and then prorogue Parliament precisely because the executive has no majority. This is not even a government which has lost its majority – it has never had one and ought never to have been appointed.

Rather than prorogue Parliament, the Queen should have obliged Boris Johnson to resign and asked the Leader of the Opposition to see whether he could form an administration that could command a majority. That would be the constitutionally correct course of action. The monarch is not neutral in this and is acting unconstitutionally, abusing her power.

Let me put it this way. Does anybody seriously contend that Jeremy Corbyn would be appointed Prime Minister by the Queen in a situation where he had no parliamentary majority, and would remain in No. 10 despite losing 6 successive Commons votes and never winning one, and that the Queen would prorogue Parliament for him to get round the fact that he had no majority? Of course not. It is unthinkable. We are witnessing a right wing coup specifically in favour of Boris Johnson.

It is particularly worrying that so many people are happy to see dictatorship established so long as it expedites Brexit. This demonstrates the folly of introducing elements of direct democracy into a representative democracy. I am perfectly content for England and Wales to be outside the EU, though I regard extending that to being outside the customs union and single market as economic madness driven by xenophobia. I am sorry to say I do not maintain a romantic view of the electorate, having for a considerable while dwelled amongst a remarkable percentage of open racists in Ramsgate, a UKIP hotspot where Farage chose to stand. The idea that the crowd should directly wield unmediated power of executive action is almost as repugnant to me as the continued existence of the monarchy. As so often, I appreciate my views do not fit into a standard and easily labeled set of opinions and many of you may disagree. They are however my opinions and I present them with no insistence you agree, but in the hope that you will consider and discuss.

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274 thoughts on “Really a Right Wing Coup

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  • Forthestate

    “I am sorry to say I do not maintain a romantic view of the electorate, having for a considerable while dwelled amongst a remarkable percentage of open racists in Ramsgate, a UKIP hotspot where Farage chose to stand.” Hmmm. You mean that up until then this had never occurred to you? You had to live amongst a bunch of racists in Ramsgate before you could come to the conclusion that the electorate – ie humanity – contains a large percentage of people who are not very nice? Really? Does anyone have a romantic view of the electorate? We are renowned for loathing one another, so I find it hard to believe.

  • Antonym

    Funny how Boris’ circus show flushes out hidden Remainers, like Craig now here.

    “Law” of unintended consequences?

    If you are looking for huge discrimination today no need to go further than Islam. Women’s rights for starters. First instance: Mo married many wives (the other way around was a no-no) but three of them were alive when he died to follow in his power footsteps; zero chance. Etc. etc. etc.

    • Deb O'Nair

      “If you are looking for huge discrimination today no need to go further than Islam”

      Says an Islamophobic practitioner of discrimination.

      • Loony

        So what are you all saying? That Antonym is wrong and that there is no discrimination in Islam?

        If there is discrimination in Islam then why is it appropriate to constantly examine “racists in Ramsgate” but ignore Islam. If there is no discrimination in Islam then perhaps there are things that the wider non Islamic population could learn from. However it is pretty hard to do this absent some kind of evidence that Islam operates without discrimination.

        • Tom

          ‘If there is discrimination in Islam then why is it appropriate to constantly examine “racists in Ramsgate” but ignore Islam.’

          Possibly because Craig is British (Scottish) and largely writes about British politics and Western imperialism? Possibly because the discrimination in Islam is largely illegal under British law and therefore of no relevance whatsoever to Brexit or any other topic in this article? Possibly because the stoking of Islamophobia and bigotry towards Muslims has been a mainstay of British imperialism for decades?

          Why is it that crackpot right wingers always try to turn every conversation in a battle of false moral equivalences and pathetic whataboutery? Do they not know any other way to express themselves?

          Meanwhile, let’s say Antonym is right – so what? Does that somehow justify racism towards Middle Easterners and Islamophobia? No, of course it doesn’t. Whatever crimes and hypocrisies Mohammed may have been guilty of 1400 years ago pale in relevance to the crimes of the modern British state in the here and now…

          • George McI

            “Why is it that crackpot right wingers always try to turn every conversation in a battle of false moral equivalences and pathetic whataboutery? Do they not know any other way to express themselves?”

            No – they don’t. Or, to be more precise, expressing themselves is not what they are aiming to do. They are aiming to derail the argument, to distract, to channel energies into the old divide-and-rule strategy.

          • Antonym

            It is simply because Craig’s wife is from Muslim origin, so her whole family abroad too. Can’t have an independent opinion when hand-cuffed to a violent culture.

        • Deb O'Nair

          “So what are you all saying? That Antonym is wrong and that there is no discrimination in Islam?”

          Are you saying that all Muslims discriminate or that there is a ‘huge’ amount of discrimination amongst all Muslims? Almost every religion has an extremist element; would you say that there is a huge discrimination problem with Christianity based on the racist rantings of some blow-hard US evangelical?

    • kathy

      “Mo married many wives (the other way around was a no-no)”

      Another time, another place.

      The first woman that Mohammed (PBOHS) married was a rich widow (Fatima) who was a successful business woman and who was older than he was. You should open up your nasty narrow little mind and enjoy the liberating effect.

  • Brian c

    “Does anybody seriously contend that Jeremy Corbyn would be appointed Prime Minister by the Queen in a situation where …”

    The Queen would be sick in her mouth appointing Corbyn in any circumstances. But her scope for action in these situations is severely constrained (in fact dictated) by what is deemed legitimate by HM media, in particular by a handful of rightwing controllers at Portland Place.
    The House of Saxe Coburg Gotha is just a harmless end of the pier freakshow in comparison with the insidious myth of BBC impartiality.

    • Hatuey

      I agree. And if the media in this country including the bbc did its job, things would be so different.

  • TJ

    “While Rees Mogg and his racist Brexiteer stormtroopers”

    I had thought such blatantly false ad hominem to be beneath you, sadly it seems I was wrong.

  • Giambologna

    Craig once again shows his willful ignorance of EU issues.

    ‘I am perfectly content for England and Wales to be outside the EU, though I regard extending that to being outside the customs union and single market as economic madness’

    ‘the customs union’ – he must surely know by now that we cannot be part of THE EU Customs Union if we leave the EU? We can be part of A customs union, like Turkey, but not THE EU Customs Union. This is a crucially important matter as it shows that there is no real advantage to joining a comprehensive customs union, as this would block us from having an independent trading policy but would have no real benefits. It is the Single Market that gives us regulatory alignment and thus smooth borders and transfer of goods. His knowledge, 3 years down the line, is just as inadequate as the politicians he constantly criticizes. .

  • Austen Merritt

    I am so tired of hearing people say that Boris is following the will of the people when in fact he was the one that got them to think that in the first place, by lying and cheating!! I am quite sure that had it not been for 6 years of austerity under Conservative government that all this would not have happened. The Banks were to blame in the first place and they are run by a small number of people who will actually benefit from Brexit. The whole thing stinks!!!

  • michael norton

    Officials have been asked by Prime minister Boris Johnson to look at ambitious proposals to build a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    Staff at the Treasury and Department for Transport (DfT) were ordered to advise on the costs and risks of such a project.

    The idea was put forward by Mr. Johnson, when he was foreign secretary.

    The suggestion was to link the 28 miles between Larne in Ulster and Portpatrick in Scotland.
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7450339/Boris-Johnson-pushes-ahead-proposal-build-BRIDGE-Scotland-Northern-Ireland.html
    The DUP believes a bridge could break the Brexit impasse by removing the need for a border in the Irish Sea.

    This seems like a very good idea.

    I thought so thirty years ago, even more of a point to it today.

    • Night Warbler

      Would this “Land-Bridge” not be a rather easy target for any disgruntled persons wishing to express their dissatisfaction with the current political situation regarding Ireland and the rest of the UK?

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      If you wanted to improve freight links between Scotland and NI, I would start with the roads from the Central belt. South of Ayr the road is crap, South of Ballantrae it’s diabolical.

      • michael norton

        Vivian I think it will have to be the best of four.
        Northern Ireland, Wales and England supreme courts yet to tell how they see it.

        • Deb O'Nair

          It will be hard for the England supreme court not to rule that prorogation was unlawful, i.e. not implemented for the reasons claimed, in light of the Downing Street correspondence that came to light in the Scottish case.

          • Deb O'Nair

            That was quoting the original comment from MN, perhaps I should have put it in quotes to remove ambiguity. Try not to get so angry.

  • N_

    If the docs and phone records from Eugenics Cummings or or anyone else show that Boris Johnson lied to the Commons about considering a prorogation, he is supposed to have to resign as MP right away. (Ref. Profumo.)

    Tip: whenever anyone says you’re just on a “fishing expedition”, assume they’re guilty and that they know the documentary evidence is enough to hang them.

    • N_

      Because you get caught lying and you’re out. That’s why MPs aren’t allowed to accuse each other in the House of lying (or even of having a “pecuniary interest” in saying what they’re saying).

      Netanyahu’s “surprise visit” is an indicator that Johnson is sh*tting his pants with fear. Word is that his name is going to be linked with the word “jail” in a different context from merely not sending a letter to the Commission when he’s told.

  • Feliks

    In Edinburgh town they made a law
    In Edinburgh at the Court of Session
    The standing pr*cks are fauters a’
    And guilty o’ high transgression.

  • michael norton

    S.N.P. M.P. Joanne Cherry, has called for Parliament to be immediately reconvened following the ruling.

    Fat chance,
    they are off on their annual paid holidays, now, for five glorious weeks.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I am going to fundamentally disagree with you, Mr Murray.

    What we have had since 2016 is a wildly unrepresentative House of Commons doing anything and everything to suppress the expressed will of the people both in a Brexit Referendum and the 2017 General Election.

    Democracy is about respecting votes. If because you disagree with a vote you become totalitarian, you are not a democrat at heart. If I were not a democrat at heart, I would have called for Mrs Thatcher to be bumped off in the 1980s, despite her being decisely elected three times (not by me). A majority of 650 MPs are saying ‘we are a totalitarian Kremlin, bugger the voters’. They are shameless, antidemocratic and utterly worthy of contempt.

    Speaker Bercow has been brazenly prejudiced in his whole handling of Parliament concerning Brexit. It is shocking to hear Harriet Harman claiming him to be impartial as she grovels for votes to take over from him. At least the SNP MP putting his hat in the ring has some radical ideas to modernise Parliament.

    To make no deal Brexit illegal without asking the people their opinion is as bad as the King ignoring Parliament 400 odd years ago. All those who voted to make it illegal should lose their Parliamentary pensions as they have contempt for representative democracy. You can vote to disagree with it without an election, to make it illegal without one says that it is acceptable to make MPs voting for making no deal Brexit illegal disenfranchised, imprisoned without trial and forced to work as slaves. It is that bad….

    I am close to saying a law must be passed demanding 50% of seats with all-Brexiteer candidatures. That way, 400 people cannot flout the will of 17.4 million.

    Not being Scottish, I can see no difference for Scotland being servile to 500 million through Brussels than servile to 60 million through Westminster. I can see a big difference if Scotland were independent of both the EU and the UK. But I respect a majority of Scots wish to be servile to Brussels. Look at how Verhofstadt treated Greece if you wish to learn how Scotland will get treated in the EU.

  • Dungroanin

    The brexit engineers had to be put directly in charge to deliver the great plan! Hence Cummings & Mini Winnie, ToadyGovey, JRM and the unchained brittania hyena pack to do their worst!

    Hence the conspiracy of prorogation and attempt at another drive-by election without guarantee of no hard brexit. And failing that, the coup! which wouldn’t be complete without a JUNTA.

    Which is now furiously under construction with NuLabInc hangers on Watson/Kinnock, Libdem/Benn/Funny Tingers and of course the Tories under cuddly but deadly as smoking Ken Clark – the father of the House (whilst the Mother grabs the Chair if Bercow abandons it).

    And voila – the country and centre of Empire of deceit ditches democratic pretence as the unelected junta once again authorised by royalty – justifies the Hard Brexit and stops a election.

    The fat lady ain’t sung yet.

    More popcorn!

  • michael norton

    Extreme Brexiteer Frank Zacharias Robin Goldsmith
    has just been made a cabinet minister.

    It’s going to be Hard Brexit.

    • Rose

      There’s certainly something rotten somewhere underneath all the flummery that Craig links to; who but a gullible child could possibly do anything other than laugh at all the archaic nonsense meant to keep us in our places?

      Rottenness is everywhere at the moment. My neighbour’s trees normally produce excellent crops of apples and pears, but this year outwardly unblemished fruit is full of blight once you get peeling and coring. A metaphor for the times perhaps.

  • Bill Boggia

    I think the whole shit show – pulls the veil back on the fact that what we call a democracy – is really just a veneer.

  • Hatuey

    I’ve been busy for the last few days and unable to keep up with a lot of stuff. I’ve been picking up news here are there though and can see that the dire situation in the Bahamas has been getting a lot of attention.

    The other day there was some Bahamian official on asking people to give generously towards relief. The usual format was followed, “to donate call this number now”, etc. I was half expecting Bono to appear with a song and slow-mo dance.

    Does anyone know if the offshore bankers who have been avoiding tax and laundering billions in the Bahamas have been asked to make a donation?

    I know we are all busy with Brexit, but I haven’t heard anyone mention the involvement of the offshore banking community in any of this. It’s puzzling.

    Does her majesty the queen have any holdings in the Bahamas? Sources suggest she might have.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/05/paradise-papers-queen-bono-kept-money-offshore-funds-leaked/

  • Yitzhak

    “Just because it is not written in a single document does not mean the UK does not have a constitution. But it does mean it has a particularly bad one”

    Britain does not have a constitution. I got involved in many arguments with tutors at law school, because the overwhelming majority of the British think that the British have an ‘unwritten constitution’. No the British don’t. A constitution isn’t just a system of laws. Constitutions are different. They stand above ordinary laws. They are unaffected by ordinary laws, but they serve equally as a reference for those promulgating those laws. And they cannot be altered by the same means that are used to change those ordinary laws. In Britain, people chant the mantra of ‘Parliamentary supremacy’ as if it were a good thing, but it in effect institutionalises a lack of accountability because as the British learn early on in an LLB, ‘parliament can do anything – except bind a subsequent parliament’. Great. Woo-eeh. A left-leaning government brings in social protections? Human Rights law? European integration? No problem, Brits – the Tories just sweep them away next time they manage to corruptly take an election.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Rory the Tory’s moment in the spotlight has arrived. Proroguation has been declared unlawful. C’mon son what ya waiting for.

    • N_

      Who will be caretaker PM if Johnson resigns with immediate effect? It won’t be Rory or Jeremy. Doesn’t have to be an MP, so it could be Cameron. Who chaired most cabinet committees and left the cabinet most recently?

      Am I right that Johnson hasn’t appointed a replacement fo universities minister or Secretary of State at the DWP? It looks like curtains.

      • IrishU

        Wrong on both counts – Thérèse Coffey was appointed on as SoS at DWP on Sunday. Chris Skidmore was appointed Universities Minister yesterday (Boris had sacked him in July).

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        Matters not a jot. Full and comprehensive list of everything that a majority of MPs can agree on.

        Mad Max Brexit is a bad idea.

        Full and comprehensive list of all the concrete measures a majority of MPs can enact.

        Depose Johnson as PM.
        Send caretaker PM to Brussels to ask for an extension.

        That’s it! They can’t even agree on WHY an extension should be requested.

  • Laguerre

    I see the BBC have been insulting Scotland this morning. Repeatedly said on R4, the judgement of the appeal court in Edinburgh is worth less than the decision of the lower (high) court in London.

    • Laguerre

      And again this morning, John Humphrys on the Toady programme. The Court of Sessions is just some minor provincial court which London will quickly overturn.

  • Bones and Dirt

    I’m no fan of the law, but…

    The Scottish court of session has ruled the prorogation of parliment is illegal. On Tuesday the English supreme court will make a ruling on the same matter. If the English court finds differently the implications of that conflicting judgement would in fact apply to Scotland, thereby dispelling the pretence that the Scottish legal system is independant. Is this not a violation of the treaty of union and therefore grounds to dissolve the union? Scotland and England are meant to be equal partners after all.

    I’m not suggesting that there’s a realistic chance of this actually happening, but I’d appreciate informed opinion on the matter. Every opportunity to point out that the emperor has no clothes makes me smile inside.

    • N_

      I’ll do better than informed opinion. I’ll give you some facts:

      1) There is no English supreme court.
      2) There is a British one and two of its 12 judges (Lord Reed, its deputy president; and Lord Hodge) previously held senior office in the Scottish judiciary.

      Two in 12 is more than 9%. And as judges of the SC these two can even hear criminal cases coming from England and Wales. I don’t know whether they do or not, but only a bigot would care anyway.

  • DiggerUK

    First things first, England/Wales, Scotland and the north of Ireland have independent high courts, and all of them are subject to the Supreme Court.
    Only the Queen has the power to recall a prorogued Parliament. https://erskinemay.parliament.uk/IndexTerm/21033/Recall%20of%20Parliament%20%3E%20prorogation,%20during

    This is beyond Brexit, this is constitution changing territory. The Supreme Court, in reality, is possibly going to have to make a decision as to who had priority in the meeting betwixt monarch and prime minister. Lizzie versus the Oaf, with the judges playing the part of the monarch as well…..very third world high handiness…_

    • N_

      @DiggerUK – “Only the Queen has the power to recall a prorogued Parliament“.

      That’s not what Erskine May says – it just says she may. And she acts on advice.

      But it’s still very interesting, in light of Dominic Grieve’s motion of “humble address” that the Commons voted in favour of, which begs

      ************************************
      “that [the queen] will be graciously pleased to direct Ministers to lay before this House, not later than 11.00pm Wednesday 11 September, all correspondence and other communications (whether formal or informal, in both written and electronic form, including but not limited to messaging services including WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal, Facebook messenger, private email accounts both encrypted and unencrypted, text messaging and iMessage and the use of both official and personal mobile phones) to, from or within the present administration, since 23 July 2019 relating to the prorogation of Parliament sent or received by one or more of the following individuals: Hugh Bennett, Simon Burton, Dominic Cummings, Nikki da Costa, Tom Irven, Sir Roy Stone, Christopher James, Lee Cain or Beatrice Timpson; and that Ministers be further directed to lay before this House no later than 11.00pm Wednesday 11 September all the documents prepared within Her Majesty’s Government since 23 July 2019 relating to operation Yellowhammer and submitted to the Cabinet or a Cabinet Committee”
      ************************************

      There are less than six and a half hours left.

      Hugh Bennett is a special adviser to Jacob Rees-Mogg, who until a few weeks ago worked at the Guido Fawkes website and before that worked with Eugenics Cummings at Vote Leave.

      I quote this humble address because it can be interpreted as a piece of advice or instruction given to the queen. If parliament gets deprorogued and she refuses to direct ministers to cough up these documents, she’ll be getting her arse into hot water even before she gets bundled in the back of a Black Maria to the dock at the Hague where she belongs.

      And even if Parliament doesn’t get prorogued, does a House that’s not “in session” cease to exist? Or is a house a sessiony thing? Members of parliament still exist – Parliament has not been dissolved, as happens before a general election – so I would have thought the set of “members of the House of Commons” remains non-empty, because if one were to ask “which House is so-and-so are a member of?” one should expect an answer.

      Meanwhile, did the queen reply to the letters that Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson sent her asking to meet her? If she didn’t, where are the cow’s manners?

    • Alyson

      She didn’t sign the prorogation Order. It was signed by a flunkey so I am of the view that she declined to sign it. It may be valid in that she may have been given the advice that she had no choice. The coup may go all the way to the top

  • frankywiggles

    Good stuff from Aaron Bastani

    No Deal Brexiteers:
    “We want *our* parliament to make *our* laws….no not like that!”
    “We want *our* courts to make *our* laws…no not like that!”

    • N_

      Nice one 🙂

      I suggest they remove the word “Back” from their beloved slogan “Take Back Control”.

  • Martin Crook

    Fascinating article though I strongly take issue of your blanket disavowal of the electorate based on your anecdotal impressions. Some of the finest and most far reaching examples of democratic participation, invoked direct democracy by ordinary workers, e.g the factory and workplace councils during the Spanish civil war, to name but one of many examples. Your attitude has the whiff of elitism and contempt for the ‘plebs’.

    Plus economic madness? A neoliberal institutions entrenching market tyranny that deepens inequality, pushes countries into Depressions not seen since the 30s and depoliticises and fiscal and monetary policies and prohibits other economic instruments such as deficit spending beyond a few percentage points and nationalisations not in the name of preserving market competition (ie no long term decommodification of services as public goods) seems hardly a recipe for economic sobriety.

  • Tom

    First rate stuff, Craig. I’ve been a little weary of the ‘coup!’ reactions to De Pfeffel’s prorogue move because it’s not as though our system is remotely democratic to begin with, but an unelected monarch supporting an unelected PM to try to bypass parliament is where people’s attention should be. Johnson will be gone sooner rather than later but the undemocratic system will remain, and challenging and dismantling that system is much more important than slinging mud at a blow-dried clown.

  • N_

    I have yet to read the judgment but the Court of Session judges are quoted in the media as saying that “(t)he Court will accordingly make an Order declaring that the prime minister’s advice to HM the Queen and the prorogation which followed thereon was unlawful and is thus null and of no effect.”

    Have they done it yet? If not, I hope they do it fast. We have got 57 minutes left until the deadline expires for handing over the documents written by Eugenics Cummings and others. If a court has ordered by that time that the prorogation is annulled, there should be no argument over whether or not “the House” exists and is capable of having the documents handed to it.

    Second question: did the government contest the court’s jurisdiction in the matter of whether or not a prorogation is lawful or unlawful?

    (I add a point in an effort to minimise scope for misunderstanding that question. Obviously if the Scottish courts have jurisdiction over the matter, then so do the courts of England and Wales and of Northern Ireland. If a prorogation is unlawful in one of the three jurisdictions then it is unlawful in all three. A court in one can only say it would be lawful in its own jurisdction if it is lawful in the other two. I mean to ask whether the government argued that the matter of lawfulness or unlawfulness of prorogation was not subject to court jurisdiction AT ALL. Even a few decades ago there were serious government and politics courses that taught that the exercise of the royal prerogative – such as by declaring war – is not subject either to courts or to Parliament.)

    Dominic Grieve strikes me as a formidable character and a person with guts – more guts than Rory “Afghanistan” Stewart.

    • N_

      According to the official Judiciary of Scotland website, “The full opinions will be available on the Scottish Courts and Tribunals website at 12 noon on Friday 13 September 2019.” I don’t know much about Scottish law, but I think this means the full judgments. At the moment there is only an executive summary, but this is pretty good insofar as it includes the statement that the Court of Session will issue an order declaring the prorogation annulled. I hope they do this as soon as possible. If the government want to apply for a stay pending the resolution of their appeal, let them apply for one and give their reason.

  • N_

    In his three years of living and doing business in Russia as a young man, funded by we know not whom, after he graduated from Oxford, Eugenics Cummings tried to set up an airline running only a single route, between Samara (formerly known as Kuibyshev) and Vienna.

    So the big question is this: which mafia bosses (“oligarchs”) had influence in both cities?

    Is the answer Semion Mogilevich?

  • N_

    Back in January, Jacob Rees-Mogg said that Theresa May should demand that the queen suspends Parliament to halt plans to stop a no-deal Brexit. (Source: the Times.)

    Later this year he became Lord President of the Privy Council and travelled to Balmoral to tell the queen…that she should…suspend Parliament………ooh! not because the Commons didn’t want a no-deal Brexit (perish the thought) but because to suspend Parliament would be the standard thing to do.

    He is as much of a p*ss-taking liar as Trump or Johnson. That guy needs a court summons and the police to seize his files.

  • mickc

    Of course Johnson could command a majority in the House when he was appointed. Shortly thereafter, he couldn’t. He lost a vote which he treated as a vote of confidence.
    That should have triggered an election except the Fixed Term Act prevented it.
    The Opposition should then have called a true vote of confidence. If Johnson lost, and he could not put together a majority, Corbyn could try to do so.
    The whole thing is a nonsense….but don’t blame Johnson or the Queen for it. The Opposition wish to keep Johnson as PM when plainly there should be an election.

    • michael norton

      Yes, the running conclusion is many opposition M.P.s and some Conservative M.P.s do not want a General Election, they think they have Boris by the short and curlies.
      But perhaps their hidden reasoning, is they know history is slipping away from them.
      Despite the biggliest Fear Project ever, Leave won the Referendum.
      Three years of prevaricating twaddle have ensued, yet we have not left the European Union.
      It is thought, those members of parliament who exist to serve Leave leaning areas but who wish for their own base wishes to stay in the E.U.
      will be toasted, come the G.E.
      These are the history people.
      They are not the future.

    • N_

      @Mickc – “Treated as a vote of confidence”? If a person treats the loss of a vote as an expression of no confidence in him, he resigns.

      Johnson can

      * resign
      * propose a one-line bill that calls an election for before 31 October
      * request an Article 50 extension

      Any of those three actions will be welcomed by a majority of MPs.

      • mickc

        Not quite true.
        The loss of a vote of confidence historically meant, as Jim Callaghan put it, that as PM “I will take my case to the country”…
        That is no longer allowed, but I agree with your second option. However it would not pass….this Parliament, for sure a Rotten Parliament, is intent on not allowing “we, the people” to have any say at all.

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