A furious Boris Johnson has had to cut short a visit to New York and is returning to the Commons facing calls to resign over his unlawful suspending of Parliament.
Before leaving the United Nations General Assembly, he was forced to telephone the Queen about his humiliating Supreme Court defeat, though it is not yet known if he apologised to her.
But Mr Johnson and his allies are said to be livid with the judges. The pro-Brexit Daily Mail reports that during a stormy Cabinet conference call Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg accused judges of mounting a “constitutional coup”.
And the Mail quotes a senior ally of the Prime Minister saying: “The effect of this is to pose the question, who runs this country? Are the courts saying they want to run the country now? It will be very interesting to see what the public makes of that.”
The strongly pro-Remain Financial Times, however, condemns Mr Johnson in a hard-hitting editorial column and calls on him to stand down.
The Commons sitting, a sparsely worded Commons order paper confirms, will not include routine business like departmental questions or PMQs. But the day is still fraught with danger for the prime minister.
“There will be full scope for Urgent Questions, for ministerial statements and for applications for emergency debates,” said Commons Speaker John Bercow, announcing the return to the Commons for MPs.
Opposition MPs involved in the legal action that ended in victory in the Supreme Court are predicting a packed agenda as they attempt to turn up the heat on Mr Johnson and senior ministers.
“Generally speaking we’re not supposed to say specifically in advance what we’ve lodged an urgent question on,” the SNP’s justice spokeswoman, Joanna Cherry QC told Sky news.
“But I would be very surprised if there aren’t UQs about the nature of the legal advice that was given to Boris Johnson about the proroguing of parliament.
“And in addition to questions about Brexit there will also probably be questions about the collapse of Thomas Cook and questions about Liz Truss’s unlawful activity in flouting the law against arms sales to Saudi Arabia.”
Mr Rees-Mogg, who flew to Balmoral to put the case for prorogation to the Queen last month, will be quizzed by MPs as he makes a statement on Commons business.
The Opposition also wants to challenge the Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, about his legal advice – leaked to Sky News – that prorogation was lawful.
“I think the Attorney is going to have to consider his position,” Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer QC told Sky News.
“Because we’ve now had a unanimous decision at the Supreme Court completely the other way indicating the PM has acted unlawfully.
“At the very least I think the Attorney General needs to be making a statement to parliament.”
Despite demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation in his Labour conference speech, Jeremy Corbyn has frustrated the leaders of other Opposition parties with his reluctance so far to table a motion of no confidence in the Government.
Labour argues, however, that the numbers are not there yet to win a no-confidence vote, because the 21 ousted rebel Tory MPs have said they are not prepared to vote with Labour.
The Financial Times declares in its editorial that any prime minister with a “shred of respect” for British democracy and the responsibilities of the office would resign.
It said prorogation was always a “high-risk gambit” and had “galvanised” MPs to use the time they had to bind the prime minister’s hands with legislation to prevent a no-deal – and cost him his majority.
“Now this ruling leaves a stain on his character and competence. Faced with such a damning judgement, any premier with a shred of respect for British democracy and the responsibilities of his office would resign.
“Mr Johnson has indicated he intends to carry on. He will attempt to brazen out this setback, as he has previous episodes that raised questions over his suitability for office.
“The reconvened Parliament should have no truck with such behaviour, and pass a vote of no confidence in the premier. It should use its right to form a caretaker government that can secure an extension to the October 31 Brexit date and organise a general election.”
It concludes: “The judges have spoken. Now the people should have their say. This is how Britain’s constitutional democracy works.”
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