After yesterday’s devastating Supreme Court judgement slamming Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament as unlawful and overturning the prorogation, I headed back to Westminster last night for today’s session of Parliament. We are expecting statements from the Prime Minister following the judgement, and from other Ministers Operation Yellowhammer and future business (as well as the Thomas Cook collapse and Iran).
Having expressed my opposition to the prorogation and helped to organise the huge rally against it in Barker’s Pool, I’m delighted that the Supreme Court has backed the right of Parliament to hold the Government to account and ruled the suspension unlawful. We will be challenging Boris Johnson on his actions and on the comments from the clique running the Government on the decision of the Court. Nobody can be above the law and seeking to undermine its authority is dangerous to our democracy.
Parliament will now be focussed on ensuring that the law we passed to avert a damaging ‘no deal’ Brexit is respected by the Government, and that Johnson seeks an extension to Article 50 if he is unable to secure a deal approved by Parliament. I set out my concerns about leaving the EU without a deal in this article in Sheffield Star and, as the clock ticks down to 31 October, it must be our central priority.
Johnson’s action in suspending Parliament and his duplicity over negotiations with the EU (on which I challenged him at PMQs) underline his unfitness to be Prime Minister and, after the Supreme Court judgement, he should resign. But we will not play into his hands by tabling a motion of ‘no confidence’, risking a premature General Election enabling him to crash the country out of the EU. Instead we will continue to work across parties to resolve the Brexit paralysis.
I returned to Westminster yesterday from Labour’s Conference in Brighton which reaffirmed our policy of seeking a further referendum on Brexit – giving a clear choice between a credible leave option and remaining in the EU (as I set out from our front bench in March). I was disappointed that our conference didn’t commit at this stage to how Labour would campaign in that referendum, but my view is clear.
I campaigned to remain in the EU in 2016 because I believed that it was right for our country and the continent we share. That remains the case today. A referendum must offer people a sensible choice, but as many of my colleagues have said, there is no better deal than the one we have now. So, whenever the opportunity comes, I will campaign to remain.