I have the upmost respect for the judicial process and the rule of law, even though the Government respectfully disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision.
Throughout the process of the UK's departure from the EU, the Government has always intended to act in accordance with the law and our country's constitutional obligations. Clarification on a point of law can often be required when there are conflicting laws or when there is competing legal advice.
Prorogation is a royal prerogative and as such, is exercised by the monarch on the advice of ministers. Indeed, The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, the Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, and the President of the Queen’s Bench Division, Dame Victoria Sharp had originally ruled in the High Court that the Prime Minister’s decision to prorogue parliament for five weeks was a political matter and not one that should be reviewed by the courts.
They also noted that it was impossible for the court to make a legal assessment of whether the duration of the prorogation was excessive by reference to any measure, pointing out there was no legal measure of the length of time between parliamentary sessions.
The Government had pointed to Ramsay Macdonald’s prorogation of Parliament for 87 Days in 1930 whilst leader of a minority government facing an international financial crisis and Clement Attlee proroguing Parliament twice within six weeks in 1948 to hasten the passage of the Parliament Act to show that neither length nor an underlying political motivation affect the validity of a prorogation.
Her Majesty The Queen granted the request to prorogue Parliament on the 28th of August to take effect from the 9th of September at the earliest. Parliament sat for four days in that time and passed an entire Act of Parliament (The European Union (Withdrawal) (No.6) Act). The House of Commons could have voted no confidence in the Government at any point in that time, which would have prevented prorogation from taking place at all.
The Government also gave the House of Commons two opportunities to vote for a general election during that time, something I supported on both occasions, but the house rejected this as well.
This current situation, where the House of Commons has rejected every model of future relationship between the UK and the EU, whilst also rejecting a second referendum and a general election and yet refuses to seek to replace the current Government is simply unsustainable and damaging to our prospects of leaving the EU with a negotiated agreement.