WATCH: Lawyer labels Boris Johnson ‘the father of lies’ for suspending Parliament

Posted On: 
18th September 2019

Boris Johnson has been labelled “the father of lies” over his controversial decision to suspend Parliament.

The extraordinary remarks were made by a senior lawyer on the second day of a landmark case at the Supreme Court.

Aidan O'Neill QC is representing more than 70 MPs challenging the Prime Minister's decision to prorogue Parliament ahead of a Queen's Speech on 14 October.

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They claimed that the suspension was actually aimed at limiting the amount of time available for them to debate Brexit.

The MPs won their case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh last week, promoting an immediate appeal by the Government.

Presenting the MPs' case at the Supreme Court, Mr O'Neill said Mr Johnson was guilty of “an abuse of power”.

Referencing an infamous US supreme court case which ruled that black people could not be American citizens, he said: “I say to this court, don’t let this case be your Dred Scott moment.

“Instead stand up for the truth, stand up for reason, stand up for unity in diversity, stand up for Parliament, stand up for democracy by dismissing this government’s appeal and uphold a constitution governed by laws and not the passing whims of men.

“We’ve got here the mother of parliaments being shut down by the father of lies.”

The “father of lies” is a Bible reference to the devil, as Jesus in the Gospel of John says of him: “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Mr O’Neill added: “Rather than allowing lies to triumph, listen to the angels of your better nature and rule that this prorogation is unlawful and an abuse of power which has been entrusted to the government.

“This government is showing itself unworthy of our trust as it uses the powers of its office in a manner that is corrosive of the constitution and destructive of the system of parliamentary representative democracy on which our union polity is founded.

“Enough is enough. Dismiss this appeal, and let them know that. That’s what truth speaking to power sounds like.”

The QC also attacked Downing Street’s decision not to submit a witness statement to the court, saying it would normally trade "solely in high politics rather than low, dishonest, dirty tricks”.

But he added: “Given the attitude that has been taken by its advisers and the prime minister to the notion of the rule of law I'm not sure we can assume that of this Government."

Earlier Sir James Eadie QC, acting for the Government, had told the court prorogation was "a well-established constitutional function exercised by the executive".

He said such decisions “are inherently and fundamentally political in nature”, arguing it was not for the courts to intervene in the decision.

Two cases are being heard together on the matter, after the Court of Session in Edinburgh and the High Court in London came to different decisions, and a final ruling is expected later this week.