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Fri, 29 May 2020

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By Andrew McQuillan
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Len McCluskey says Boris Johnson should face 'citizens' arrest' as MPs demand Parliament recall

Len McCluskey says Boris Johnson should face 'citizens' arrest' as MPs demand Parliament recall
3 min read

Len McCluskey has said Boris Johnson could face “citizens’ arrest” in Scotland after a top court ruled the shutdown of Parliament was “unlawful”.


The Unite general secretary warned the Prime Minister to “steer clear” of going north of the border following a challenge to his dcecision to prorogue Parliament at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The union boss said: “My advice to the Prime Minister is that he should steer clear of Scotland, otherwise he may find himself under citizens’ arrest.”

Meanwhile, Labour-affiliated transport union TSSA chief Manuel Cortes said Mr Johnson “should be in jail".

He added: “He’s broken the law, is not fit to hold office and along with this disgraceful government must be held to account.”

The panel of three judges ruled that the prorogation was “improper” following a challenge by campaigners and MPs, and said the Prime Minister had misled the Queen over the real reasons for the suspension.

The case will now go to the UK's Supreme Court for a hearing next week, and MPs are already piling pressure on Mr Johnson to recall Parliament.

Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: “I welcome the Court's judgement. No one in their right mind believed Boris Johnson's reason for shutting down Parliament.

"I urge the Prime Minister to immediately recall Parliament so we can debate this judgement and decide what happens next.”

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon meanwhile weighed in, condemning Mr Johnson’s behaviour as “outrageous” and urging the PM to recall Parliament.

She said: “No doubt this judgment will go to the Supreme Court and we wait to see verdict is of Supreme Court, but in the meantime I think a prime minister acting in accordance with the rule of law and acting in accordance with basic norms of democracy would recall parliament. 

“It’s not just an academic point, there is much real and substantive work and scrutiny that parliament should be doing right now to hold this government to account."

The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford has written to the Prime Minister, Speaker John Bercow and opposition leaders urging calling for Parliament to be recalled immediately.

“If Parliament continues to be frustrated, the message from 10 Downing Street to people across the UK – is that the government is above the law and that the Prime Minister can unilaterally decide our futures. That is an extremely dangerous situation,” he said.

“I note that the UK Government intends to appeal the case next week, but that does not provide any reason for you to obstruct the right of Parliament to sit from today until the outcome of that hearing and to make our own decisions on whether or not to observe the conference recess.”

Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake also blasted the outcome as “highly embarrassing” for the Government.

“The implications of this decision made by the Scottish Courts should not be underestimated - the shutdown of Parliament has been found unlawful and the government must now act accordingly,” he said. 

And Brexit committee chair Hilary Benn said: “This is unprecedented. Parliament must now be recalled.”

The Government has confirmed it will appeal the decision in the Supreme Court.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by today’s decision, and will appeal to the UK Supreme Court. The UK Government needs to bring forward a strong domestic legislative agenda. Proroguing Parliament is the legal and necessary way of delivering this.”

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