A cyclist rides past an electronic billboard displaying a British government Brexit information awareness campaign advertisement in London on Thursday. Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville
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Johnson denies lying to Queen Elizabeth; Northern Irish 'no-deal' Brexit challenge dismissed in court

29 Comments
By Andrew MacAskill and Guy Faulconbridge

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday denied lying to Queen Elizabeth over the reasons for suspending the British parliament after a court ruled his decision was unlawful and opponents called for lawmakers to be recalled to discuss Brexit.

Since Johnson won the top job in July, Britain's Brexit crisis has spun more furiously, leaving investors and allies bewildered by an array of decisions that have pushed the once stable political system to its limits.

Parliament was prorogued - suspended - on Monday until Oct 14, a move Johnson's opponents said was designed to thwart their attempts to scrutinise his plans for leaving the European Union and to allow him to push through Brexit on Oct 31, with or without an exit deal to smooth the way.

Scotland's highest court of appeal ruled on Wednesday that the suspension was not lawful and was intended to stymie lawmakers, prompting opponents to question whether Johnson had lied to Elizabeth who must formally order the prorogation.

"Absolutely not," Johnson said when asked by a TV reporter if he had misled the queen, who is the world's longest reining monarch and is widely respected for more than 67 years of dedicated service during which she has stayed above the fray of politics.

Johnson said the current session of parliament was longer than any since the English Civil war in the 17th century, adding that lawmakers would have plenty of time to again discuss Brexit after an EU summit on Oct 17-18.

He says parliament was suspended to allow the government to present its legislative program.

With less than 50 days until the United Kingdom is due to leave, the government and parliament are locked in conflict over the future of Brexit, with possible outcomes ranging from leaving without a deal to another referendum.

A "no-deal" Brexit could snarl cross-Channel trade routes, disrupting supplies of medicines and fresh food while protests spread across Britain, according to a worst-case scenario reluctantly released by the government on Wednesday.

The "Operation Yellowhammer" assumptions, prepared six weeks ago just days after Johnson became prime minister, form the basis of government no-deal planning.

Britain is unlikely to run out of essentials like toilet paper in the event of a no-deal Brexit but some fresh fruit and vegetables could be in short supply and prices might rise, supermarket bosses warned on Thursday.

Johnson has repeatedly said he will seek to strike a deal at the EU summit to remove the Irish border backstop, an insurance agreement to prevent the return of border controls between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit.

Opponents of the backstop in the British parliament worry it would lock the United Kingdom into the EU's orbit for years to come.

The European Union would respond positively if the British government shifts its position in Brexit talks in the coming weeks, Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

But Coveney said that there were "significant gaps" between British proposals and what Ireland and the EU would consider. He said the threat of a no-deal Brexit might help make the British debate "more honest".

Meanwhile, Belfast's High Court dismissed on Thursday a case arguing that a British exit from the European Union without a withdrawal agreement would contravene Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord, saying the issue was political and not for the courts.

The case is one of a series across the United Kingdom challenging Prime Minister's Boris Johnson's Brexit strategy. Johnson has said Britain must leave the EU on Oct 31, whether or not it secures a deal on an orderly exit.

Scotland's highest court of appeal ruled on Wednesday that Johnson's decision to prorogue, or suspend, parliament for five weeks was unlawful and should be annulled, a verdict that will be appealed at the UK's Supreme Court next week.

Rights campaigner Raymond McCord, one of three people backing the Northern Ireland case, said he would seek to join the other challenges before the UK's highest court, including on the issue of prorogation.

Lawyers for McCord had argued that a no-deal Brexit would breach the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to the British-run province, but Judge Bernard McCloskey said the case"trespassed upon the prohibited domain of the non-justiciable".

"I consider the characterisation of the subject matter of these proceedings as inherently and unmistakably political to be beyond plausible dispute," McCloskey said in a 68-page written judgement.

"Virtually all of the assembled evidence belongs to the world of politics, both national and supra-national."

Belfast's Court of Appeal, the next step in the province's justice system, had agreed to hear brief arguments from McCord's lawyers on prorogation on Friday as well as the no-deal case challenge on Monday.

However, McCord said on Thursday that he was hoping to go straight to the UK Supreme Court on prorogation while continuing with the no-deal appeal, which he hoped will ultimately will also end up being referred to London along with other cases.

"This will hopefully ensure my case is heard and Northern Ireland has a voice and representation alongside the rest of the UK in the Supreme Court," McCord told Reuters by email.

McCord's son was murdered by pro-British militants in 1997, just before the peace deal, which largely ended three decades of violence between Irish nationalists seeking a united Ireland and pro-British unionists. Some 3,600 people died in the conflict.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

29 Comments
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Dudgeons have never been higher.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"winning"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He lied to the UK voters during the original Brexit campaign. So, why stop now?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

But, Boris, if you'd lie to the queen, you'd hardly scruple to lie about lying to the queen.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Y'all realize, of course, if Johnson had lied to the queen to get the prorogation, well then, he will go down in a confidence vote.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Johnson has repeatedly said he will seek to strike a deal at the EU summit to remove the Irish border backstop, an insurance agreement to prevent the return of border controls between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit.

What would the situation look like without the backstop? A hard border with inspection facilities?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Well, I believe what Boris Johnson says just as readily as I believe what Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin say.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Boris thought he could just come in swinging it and things would naturally go his way. Boris is finding out that he ain't the Messiah, he's just a haughty* boy.

*not a typo

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Bozo has caused so much chaos in British politics in the short time never and has not won anything. The outlook is grim.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What would the situation look like without the backstop? A hard border with inspection facilities?

Depends on who you ask. With many things surrounding Brexit, the truth is whatever you are having yourself.

Johnson is talking about ‘flexible’ solutions which accurately translates as he hasn’t got a clue.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I'll just comment on the poster, which is so prominent in the story. This campaign is supposedly costing 100 million pounds, the online versions have even reached me in Japan, but the default position is the UK not leaving on Oct 31. To do that, Johnson has to convince Parliament to pass a deal. He has not presented the EU with any proposals for amending the current deal (multiple sources), and has shut down Parliament for five weeks, making any efforts to overcome MPs' current opposition to the deal unlikely. If Parliament does not pass a deal, the law says Johnson has to ask for an extension beyond Oct 31.

This means the government has spent 100M simply to get people's hopes up and increase anger at Brexit not being delivered. It is purely political use of public money.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Despite all the noise in the media and the silliness in the courts and the threats being made by various politicians - including the Speaker - it remains entirely possible that some form of deal will be struck.  Then Parliament will have to vote on it.  If they vote it down again then seems to me that No Deal goes ahead.  and for all the negative stuff about BJ, he is doing better than the Maybot did and certainly better than any Labour led government would do.  Their current "strategy" is just ludicrous.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Meanwhile, Belfast's High Court dismissed on Thursday a case arguing that a British exit from the European Union without a withdrawal agreement would contravene Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord, saying the issue was political and not for the courts.

So, that chimes with the English courts.

Ya think the Scottish judges might be a teeny-weeny bit partisan?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

But Coveney said that there were "significant gaps" between British proposals and what Ireland and the EU would consider. He said the threat of a no-deal Brexit might help make the British debate "more honest".

That's putting it mildly, Simon.

Johnson and honesty have a very strained relationship. Lying to Brenda is just the tip of the iceberg.

McCord's son was murdered by pro-British militants in 1997

Loyalists. They're called loyalists.

If you want an idea of what kind of people they are, check out the Netflix doc - The Miami Showband Massacre.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If you want an idea of what kind of people they are, check out the Netflix doc - The Miami Showband Massacre.

They were rabid animals just like their Republican counterparts who blew children up.

Anyway, let’s hope the rabid animals of either side aren’t let loose again over this problem.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Lied to the Queen?

Off with his head.

And he should return the jam tarts, too.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Excuse me, sir, but you've obviously mistaken me for someone who gives a ****." This constant stream of brexit news has assumed the classic definition of "prolonged agony." And whatever it makes me feel is the diametric opposite of caring. So UK, as politely as I can put it, you can take your silly little brexit and shove it.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Someone should write a book called "From Churchill to Cuckold in 12 easy steps."

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This means the government has spent 100M simply to get people's hopes up and increase anger at Brexit not being delivered. It is purely political use of public money.

The Tories have also been making outlandish claims about spending fanciful amounts of money on education, the health service education and prisons. What they neglect to mention is that all will be sold off to the highest bidders, post-Brexit. Plumped up with tax-payer cash and then sold off to American mega-corporations....

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The day Johnson announced his lie about the NHS getting extra money, North West London's health authority announced cuts due to funding shortfalls.

More than ninety courts hvae been closed, with another 77 now marked for closure, due to funding cuts. Schools are asking parents for money for books, equipment and to pay salaries. Police numbers are down by tens of thousands,

Public services have been subject to ideologically based underfunding, those working in these sectos are blamed for their failings - all this it makes it easier to sell privatisation to the public.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

NCIS RerunsToday 12:51 pm JST

"Excuse me, sir, but you've obviously mistaken me for someone who gives a ****." This constant stream of brexit news has assumed the classic definition of "prolonged agony." And whatever it makes me feel is the diametric opposite of caring. So UK, as politely as I can put it, you can take your silly little brexit and shove it.

This is a very poor comment. Nobody asks you to care but for those of us who are British it's a horrorshow. Many people have died from 9 years of Tory austerity and Brexit will kill many more, make no mistake. It's a slow-motion right wing coup that will destroy vast sectors of the economy while enriching a tiny number of people, mostly non-British. It may even lead to the break up of the Union and mark a return to sectarian violence.

It's very serious. It's not a "silly little brexit".

6 ( +7 / -1 )

*-NCIS Reruns: "Excuse me, sir, but you've obviously mistaken me for someone who gives a ***." This constant stream of brexit news has assumed the classic definition of "prolonged agony." And whatever it makes me feel is the diametric opposite of caring. So UK, as politely as I can put it, you can take your silly little brexit and shove it.

-Alfie Noakes: This is a very poor comment. Nobody asks you to care but for those of us who are British it's a horrorshow. Many people have died from 9 years of Tory austerity and Brexit will kill many more, make no mistake. It's a slow-motion right wing coup that will destroy vast sectors of the economy while enriching a tiny number of people, mostly non-British. It may even lead to the break up of the Union and mark a return to sectarian violence.

It's very serious. It's not a "silly little brexit".

Don't worry Alfie. Not all Americans are selfish, inconsiderate, bores. Just our President, his supporters, and, of course, Libertarians.

Many Americans are concerned about Brexit, as it will not only have a huge effect on our closest allies (Japan is big, but not like the UK), but also on the rest of Europe, and as such, the world.

Good luck. And, I fervently hope that the UK, like America, will soon see an end to its current leadership of buffoons, corporatists, and, in some cases, criminals.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Garypen

Thanks for the comment and good luck to you too. Of course, Brexit pales in comparison to what's happening in places like Yemen, Syria and Libya but they're all connected, with many of the same people responsible.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Probably the most serious issue to face the UK since WW2, apart of course from ongoing problems such as poverty, racism, etc. For those of us who were born and have lived in the UK and still hold dual citizenship, watching this protracted mess has been almost literally beyond belief, made worse by the fact that there's still no end in sight and that the entire Parliament seems to consist of people who just have no damn idea of how to fix it. If the UK somehow manages to avoid a Brexit, those who voted for it will be seriously p-d off, and if it does go through with Brexit, it'll be (imho of course) the worst mistake they've made in my lifetime at least.

A long and difficult road ahead, I hope it can be travelled with minimum damage and suffering to the country.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NCIS RerunsToday  12:51 pm JST

"Excuse me, sir, but you've obviously mistaken me for someone who gives a ****."

That quote doesn't really work so well when no one is actually talking to you or seeking your opinion.

This constant stream of brexit news has assumed the classic definition of "prolonged agony." And whatever it makes me feel is the diametric opposite of caring. 

Strange that you would bother writing a comment about it, then.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's become painfully obvious that the citizens of Britain are no longer capable of managing their own affairs. Perhaps Germany should dust off its plans for Operation Sea Lion, mount an invasion, and restore Frieden und Ordnung at the point of bayonettes.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The EU is absolutely terrified. One goes and the rest will follow, they know it.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

The EU existed before the UK joined and will continue to exist even if the UK leaves.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"The public no longer believes it is necessary to leave the EU to control immigration in an extraordinary turnaround since the Brexit referendum, a survey has found,

Voters – including Leave supporters – said they now judge that existing EU rules provide “enough control” on incomers from the continent, without the need for the UK to pull out.

Far from demanding an immigration crackdown, no less than 71 per cent support allowing EU migrants to come to the UK either to work or study – including 62 per cent of Leave voters from 2016.

The results represent a striking shift from three years ago, when a widespread anti-immigration sentiment fuelled the Brexit vote, rather than a general revolt against the system as many politicians claimed.

Crucially, the researchers at University College London put it down to “missing information” – because so many people were unaware about the existing controls back in 2016."

I'm laughing so hard while the JT "expert", Wiki-aficionado searches for his dentures.

I'm even going to re-paste the crucial bit:

"Crucially, the researchers at University College London put it down to “missing information” – because so many people were unaware about the existing controls back in 2016."

The "expert" was adamant there is no way EU nationals can be deported, or even that member states can control EU migration.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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