The prime minister’s spokesman said the supreme court case was mentioned by Boris Johnson during this morning’s cabinet meeting. “He mentioned the fact that the court case was ongoing and that we are confident in our arguments,” the spokesman said.
As the Press Association reports, asked whether Johnson should either give evidence or submit an affidavit to the court, the spokesman said:
I am not going to comment on an ongoing court case. The way court cases begin is that one side will set out their position and then there will be a response for the government. The court is the right forum for this to take place.
These are from the BBC’s Dominic Casciani and the legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg.
Victory for government could enable a future PM to prorogue for a year, court told
Pannick says, if this issue is not justiciable, people have to ask what might happen if another PM were to prorogue parliament for six months or for a year.
And he says it is no good referring to Dicey for guidance on this because he was writing in another era. And Dicey said something like that would be most unconstitutional.
Pannick says this is a legal question. And legal questions are for the courts to determine.
He says the only remedy he is seeking is a declaration that the PM’s advice was unlawful.
He says the government, in its submission, says the PM will comply with the declaration of the court.
Pannick concludes by apologising for over-running his time by a few minutes, eating into the time available for lunch.
And now the court adjourns until 2pm.
Pannick says it is more difficult to apply a Padfield principle to a prerogative power than to a statutory power.
But it is still possible, he says.
And he says there is an important principle at stake – whether the exercise of such a power frustrates the purposes for which such a power applies.
Johnson tells Merkel UK working ‘with energy and determination’ to get Brexit deal
Boris Johnson spoke to Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, this morning, Downing Street has said. They spoke about Saudi Arabia and Iran, but also about Brexit. According to Number 10, this is what was said on that topic.
On Brexit, the prime minister reiterated that the UK and the EU have agreed to accelerate efforts to reach a deal without the backstop which the UK parliament could support, and that we would work with energy and determination to achieve this ahead of Brexit on 31 October.
Number 10 said Johnson and Merkel would speak again at the UN general assembly in New York next week.
Boris Johnson’s motive for proroguing the Commons for five weeks was “to silence parliament for that period”, the supreme court has been told at the opening of an emergency appeal.
The prime minister’s extended suspension of debate was carried out for an “improper purpose” in order to “avoid the risk of parliament undermining the policies of his executive”, said Lord Pannick QC, who was representing the businesswoman and legal campaigner Gina Miller.
Before the arguments formally began in central London, Lady Hale, the president of the supreme court, said it was facing “serious and difficult questions”. That was evidenced, she said, “by the fact that three senior judges in Scotland have reached a different conclusion to three senior judges in England and Wales”.
Wake Up and Vote, a campaign that tried to increase the youth turnout in the EU referendum, has been fined £1,800 by the Electoral Commission for not submitting a full spending return. It said that it spend £66,383 during the campaign. But it also jointly funded an advertising campaign with DDB UK, which cost a total of £75,813, and under electoral rules it should have including the joint spending in its own campaign spending return.
Sir Edward Leigh, the veteran Conservative, has sent an email to MPs explaining why they should vote for him as next Speaker. He would treat them as grown-ups, he says.
I would be strictly impartial and deaf to any partisan influence. I would, in quiet dignity, dress, and demeanour, model myself on the present Lord Speaker. We should treat MPs as grown-ups and let them know when they will be called at the beginning of debates. The Speaker must always be scrupulously fair and polite to colleagues, speaking only to effect and briefly and submerge his personality into the role.
I would want to be a Speaker who seeks to unite the house in robust scrutiny. A Speaker who speaks only to good and powerful effect and who is the calm, self-effacing voice of the house.
Leigh also says he would be in favour of abolishing September sittings – which might get him Boris Johnson’s vote, in view of the fact Johnson thinks these are an unnecessary “girly swot” initiative.
Former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson says she does not know if Boris Johnson really believes in Brexit
Ruth Davidson, the former Scottish Conservative leader, has said she does not know whether or not Boris Johnson really believes in Brexit. In an interview with ITV’s Lorraine, asked about David Cameron’s claim that Johnson only joined the leave campaign to further his own career, she said:
I don’t know what’s in [Johnson’s] heart. I don’t know whether he desperately believes in Brexit or he doesn’t believe in Brexit and I’m not going to pretend that I do. But I think people can tell if politicians are basically telling the truth or not and if they can tell if they mean what they say.
Davidson said that one of the reasons she quit as Scottish Tory leader was because she found it hard to reconcile her political view that, in the light of the referendum result, Brexit should go ahead with her personal opposition to leaving the EU.
She also said she did not know why Johnson has prorogued parliament for so long. Asked about this, she said:
I think it was done in a bad way but the idea that a prime minister doesn’t suspend parliament in order to bring forward a Queen’s speech and a legislative agenda – up until recently that happened almost every year.
I was quite close to David Cameron and Theresa May, I’m not close to Boris Johnson, I’m not going to pretend that I’ve ever been part of his inner circle – I haven’t – so I don’t know why the government chose to do that and that’s one of the things the judges are going to be deciding, and what the Scottish case looked at.