Boris Johnson says he won't quit if Supreme Court rules against him over Parliament shutdown
Boris Johnson has vowed not to quit if the Supreme Court rules against him over his decision to suspend Parliament.
The Prime Minister said he had “extremely good” reasons for proroguing Parliament earlier this month, as Britain’s highest court prepared to hand down a verdict in the landmark legal challenge to that decision.
The Supreme Court - which is expected to give its historic judgement at 10.30 on Tuesday - has been asked to decide whether or not Mr Johnson’s controversial decision was legal.
Ministers have claimed that prorogation is not a matter for the courts and was designed to pave the way for a new legislative programme in a Queen’s Speech on 14 October.
But a cross-party team of MPs and campaigners have argued that Mr Johnson made the move in a bid to close off scrutiny of his Brexit plans.
The Supreme Court has been asked to consider two appeals, with anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller challenging an English High Court ruling that found making a call on the Govenrment’s decision to prorogue Parliament was outside of its remit.
However, a separate case heard at the Court of Session in Edinburgh found that the Prime Minister’s advice to the Queen on suspending Parliament had been “unlawful”.
Pressed on whether he would step down if the Supreme Court ruled against him on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said: "No, I've said I believe the reasons for wanting a Queen’s Speech are very good indeed."
And he added: “Parliament has been sitting for its longest period since the civil war. To the best of my knowledge, it has always stopped in September for at least 100 years.
“We must have a Queen's speech, we have a big domestic agenda, we have to get on tackling the priorities of the British people.”
The Prime Minister told reporters in New York that was “absolutely absurd” for the country to be “totally fixated” on Brexit - and doubled down on the claim that Parliament had been sent away to allow the Government to press ahead with its domestic priorities.
He added: :”It is absolutely right to be having a Queen's Speech setting out what exactly should be done, setting out what we want to do on crime, on the health service, on education.
“When it comes to parliamentary scrutiny, what are we losing? Four or five days of parliamentary scrutiny when Parliament has had three years to discuss issues and will be able to come back and discuss Brexit after the European Council on October 17-18.
“It is absolutely nonsense to say there will be no parliamentary scrutiny."
Mr Johnson also refused to rule out the possibility that he could prorogue Parliament for a second time if the Supreme Court rules against him.
Labour has already said it will push for the immediate return of Parliament if the judges say prorogation was unlawful.
Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said earlier this month: “The idea of shutting down Parliament offended people across the country and then they felt they weren’t being told the truth."