As it happenedended1565736975

Boris Johnson news: Brexiteers' bid to force no-deal suffers legal blow, as constitutional expert warns UK 'heading for deep trouble'

John Bercow vows to stop prime minister suspending parliament as political crisis continues

Boris Johnson discusses harsher prison sentancing with police and prosecution chiefs

Britain is in “deep trouble” unless Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn can act like “good chaps” and find a way to resolve the Brexit crisis, a leading constitutional expert has warned.

In a boost for pro-EU campaigners, a Court of Session judge has ruled that a legal challenge seeking to prevent Mr Johnson from suspending parliament to force through a no-deal exit will be heard before 31 October.

It comes as No 10 is said to be ready to pull British diplomats out of Brussels. Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, meanwhile, said the UK was “first in line” for a trade deal with the US after meeting the PM.

Meanwhile John Bercow, the House of Commons speaker, has warned that he will try to stop the prime minister from suspending parliament.

Mr Bercow told an audience at the Edinburgh Fringe festival that he "strongly" believes the House of Commons "must have its way", in remarks reported by the Herald newspaper.

"And if there is an attempt to circumvent, to bypass or - God forbid - to close down Parliament, that is anathema to me," he said.

"I will fight with every breath in my body to stop that happening."

Amber Rudd also told the BBC on Tuesday that she would urge the prime minister not to suspend the Commons.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

If you would like to see how the day's events unfolded, please see what was our live coverage below:


Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of events at Westminster and beyond.

Adam Forrest13 August 2019 08:39

Here are all the details on John Bolton’s meeting with Boris Johnson – and the Trump adviser’s promise to put Britain “first in line” for a trade deal.

Adam Forrest13 August 2019 08:41

One of the country’s leading constitutional experts said Britain is in “deep trouble” unless Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn can act like “good chaps” and find a way to resolve the crisis.

Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield said Britain’s constitution had relied on the “good chap” theory of government.

“Good chaps know where the lines are drawn — good chaps of both sexes, of course — and make sure that we get nowhere near crossing the line,” he told The Times.

“It only takes one of the big players at a moment of high political drama to decline to play by the unwritten rules and you’re in deep trouble.”

Adam Forrest13 August 2019 08:43

A majority of the British public think Boris Johnson should suspend parliament in order to push through Brexit, according to latest figures.

ComRes poll for The Telegraph found 54 per cent of the public agree that the PM “needs to deliver Brexit by any means, including suspending Parliament if necessary, in order to prevent MPs from stopping it”.

Many MPs have expressed outrage at the idea of “proroguing” parliament in order to avoid a no-deal scenario being halted by the Commons.

The poll of 2,011 British adults also, however, found 51 per cent of respondents agree that “Brexit should be halted if problems over the Northern Ireland border threaten to split the Union”.

According to the figures, 88 per cent of respondents feel parliament is “out of touch” with the British public, and that 89 per cent feel MPs “ignore the wishes of voters and push their own agendas” on Brexit.

As well as this, the poll found 77 per cent of respondents agree the Queen should “remain above politics and refuse to get involved in Brexit”.

Adam Forrest13 August 2019 08:45

No 10 is getting ready to pull British diplomats out of meetings in Brussels in an effort to show the EU that the UK is serious about withdrawal on 31 October, according to reports.

The move is likely to see officials quit some of the 28-member bloc’s main structures, such as working groups, long before our potential exit in the autumn, says the Financial Times.

It follows a report in The Guardian that British chiefs will stop attending meetings “within days”.

Adam Forrest13 August 2019 08:59

A judge will decide on Tuesday whether a legal challenge attempting to prevent Boris Johnson forcing through a no-deal Brexit by suspending parliament will be heard before October 31.

The legal bid, backed by more than 70 MPs and peers, is seeking to get the Court of Session in Edinburgh to rule that suspending parliament to make the UK leave the EU without a deal is “unlawful and unconstitutional”.

It was granted permission to proceed by the Scottish courts, but anti-Brexit campaigners have stressed the urgency of the case due to the Halloween deadline.

An initial hearing is due to take place before Lord Doherty at the Court of Session on Tuesday morning to determine the timescale of when the legal challenge will proceed.

Adam Forrest13 August 2019 09:07

As No 10 continues to announce a series of populist policies on crime, our political sketch writer Tom Peck says the PM’s consigliere Dominic Cummings has become a prime example of everything he railed against as a blogger, spad and campaign director.

Adam Forrest13 August 2019 09:18

Boris Johnson has announced £100m of investment to boost security in prisons, warning that jails cannot become “factories for making bad people worse”.

The Ministry of Justice said the sum will fund an increase in X-ray scanners and metal detectors.

The latest spending pledge will fuel speculation that Johnson is preparing for an early general election, while Labour claimed the money falls short of the sum needed to reverse the damage caused by years of Tory cuts.

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon said: “These measures fall woefully short of what is needed to make our prisons safe. Faced with a prisons emergency caused by austerity, Boris Johnson is timidly tinkering at the edges.”

Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Wera Hobhouse said it was a “hollow move” by Mr Johnson which “fails to tackle the causes of crime”.

Adam Forrest13 August 2019 09:24

Here’s our social affairs correspondent May Bulman with more on the PM’s latest funding announcement – and criticism from prison reform campaigners.

Adam Forrest13 August 2019 09:27

The worst outcome of a no-deal Brexit will be “mild disruption” given the preparations being made by Boris Johnson’s government, the chief executive of Next has claimed.

Lord Wolfson of Aspley Guise said he will be “much less frightened” of the UK leaving the EU without a deal if the government is well prepared – and he has “every indication” they are now taking it seriously under the new PM.

He was also sharply critical of the no-deal planning by Theresa May’s administration, insisting there was “almost a wilful attempt” to not prepare as they did not want to admit it could happen.

The Conservative peer said the required level of confidence, energy and vigour “certainly wasn’t” in May’s government.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m very pleased to see that that vigour has now come to government and we are properly preparing for all eventualities.”

Adam Forrest13 August 2019 09:43

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments