Boris Johnson denies lying to the Queen over suspension of parliament

Government is resisting MPs’ demands for recall of parliament

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Thursday 12 September 2019 11:40
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Boris Johnson denies lying to the Queen

Boris Johnson has denied lying to the Queen about the reasons for the five-week suspension of parliament, which was ruled unlawful by a court on Wednesday.

The ruling by the Court of Session in Edinburgh led to demands for the return of MPs to Westminster, but the government has insisted it will not recall parliament unless the finding is confirmed by the Supreme Court in an appeal hearing on Tuesday.

A panel of three senior judges, including the head of the Scottish judiciary, found that the prime minister’s advice to the monarch to “prorogue” parliament until 14 October was “motivated by the improper purpose of stymying parliament”.

The finding sparked accusations by opposition MPs including the SNP’s Joanna Cherry, who brought the court case, that the prime minister had misled the sovereign by suggesting that the true purpose of prorogation was to prepare for a Queen’s Speech.

During a visit to a ship on the Thames, Mr Johnson was asked whether he lied to the monarch. He replied: “Absolutely not.

“The High Court in England plainly agrees with us but the Supreme Court will have to decide.

“We need a Queen’s Speech, we need to get on and do all sorts of things at a national level.”

John McDonnell says he doesn't know if Boris Johnson lied

Asked whether he believed Mr Johnson had lied to the Queen, shadow chancellor John McDonnell told Sky News: “I can’t tell. I think what we need to do is have all the information openly and transparently published to enable us to determine that.

“I can’t tell and, to be honest, I have little trust in Boris Johnson, particularly with his track record of having a relatively passing relationship with the truth at times.”

On Friday, Mr Johnson will continue what looks suspiciously like a general election campaign – despite that election being blocked by parliament – with a speech in South Yorkshire.

He will pledge to devolve more powers to Northern regions, creating a new growth body for the so-called Northern Powerhouse to better coordinate the work of organisations.

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