Boris Johnson must resign, say UK MEPs

British MEPs have called on beleaguered Prime Minister Boris Johnson to quit in the wake of the historic Supreme Court ruling that he had unlawfully suspended the UK Parliament to stop scrutiny of his Brexit strategy.

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump  | Photo credit: European Commission Audiovisual

By Martin Banks

25 Sep 2019


Speaking to this website after the landmark ruling, senior Socialist MEP Richard Corbett described Johnson’s position as “unprecedented.”

“A British Prime Minister has been found by the highest court in the land to have acted unlawfully in shutting down the sovereign body in our constitution, Parliament, at a time of national crisis. Surely, Johnson must resign,” the UK deputy said.

On Tuesday at the Labour party conference in Brighton, Corbett was invited on to the stage after a key speech by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. After being embraced by Corbyn, Corbett then joined in with shadow cabinet members in singing the Red Flag.


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Despite widespread calls for the Prime Minister to quit, UK Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre told this site, “I do not believe the Prime Minister’s position has been undermined and I am sure he will consider carefully what he will do next.”

“The important thing is that we should leave with a deal and both sides should be working towards that,” added McIntyre, who is Conservative spokesman on agriculture and rural affairs.

The Parliament Magazine canvassed other opinion from several MEPs for their reaction to the Supreme Court hearing and where this leaves the Brexit process.

“A British Prime Minister has been found by the highest court in the land to have acted unlawfully in shutting down the sovereign body in our constitution, Parliament, at a time of national crisis. Surely, Johnson must resign” Richard Corbett MEP

The UK is due to leave the EU on 31 October and Johnson says this will happen “with or without” a deal.

Polish EPP member Danuta Hubner, a member of Parliament’s Brexit Steering Group, said, "At the moment we have to wait and see what happens and what the UK parliament will do. There is no point in speculating what decisions will be taken and what will happen, as we on the continent have not been correct in our predictions what will happen in the UK.”

“The ball was, and still is, in the court of the UK and we will have to wait again on what the decisions of the UK parliament and government are. The EU is accustomed to waiting for the UK.”

“Time is still ticking but the High Court decision still buys us a few days. I am amazed by PM Johnson's disagreement with the decision, because the executive should not question the judiciary."

Neena Gill, a UK Socialist MEP, also called for Johnson to resign after the Supreme Court ruling on prorogation.

Gill said, “The Supreme Court Justices handed down a unanimous judgement that Boris Johnson broke the law by proroguing Parliament earlier this month. It has simply served to confirm what we already knew – he will do anything to push through a damaging No Deal Brexit. That includes ripping up the rule of law, subverting parliamentary democracy, and misleading the Queen.”

“I have been working alongside colleagues in the European Parliament and in Westminster to ensure the rule of law is upheld and Boris Johnson is accountable for his undemocratic actions.”

“The Prime Minister has misled Parliament, the people and the monarch. He must resign” Neena Gill MEP

“Labour colleagues stand ready to return to Parliament and defend democracy from Boris Johnson and a Conservative Party captured by hard right extremists. The Prime Minister has misled Parliament, the people and the monarch. He must resign.”

UK Liberal MEP Chris Davies said, "Europeans have learnt a lot of surprising things about British democracy in recent months. Not only do we have a voting system that doesn't give equal value to every vote, and a Parliament that until now has never controlled its own timetable, but in the absence of a written constitution we have relied on the decency of our leaders to do the right thing.”

He added, “That worked fine until we had a Prime Minister who didn't share a belief in truth and decency.  Thank heavens for an independent judiciary that insists that no one is above the law, even if it has to write the law itself.”

Northern Irish deputy Martina Anderson noted, “The British establishment is in chaos. Looking at this ruling, how can anybody argue that Ireland’s best interests are served by continuing to be ruled by a country with a Prime Minister seeks to wilfully damage the peace process in Ireland? Boris Johnson took on the law and the law won.”

UK Socialist member Rory Palmer said, "Boris Johnson has shown utter contempt for the UK's democratic institutions. Many of us said this when he shutdown Parliament to avoid scrutiny and to silence MPs on the biggest issue of our time.”

“In this reckless act he wasn't just silencing MPs, he was silencing all of us. We are a parliamentary democracy and the Supreme Court has, rightly, upheld and defended the integrity of our political institutions today."

"Johnson must now account tomorrow in the House of Commons for his actions. In my view he must seriously consider his position as Prime Minister. He has fallen a million miles below what we should expect of the Prime Minister, he has to go."

“In the absence of a written [UK] constitution we have relied on the decency of our leaders to do the right thing. That worked fine until we had a Prime Minister who didn't share a belief in truth and decency” Chris Davies MEP

His party colleague Seb Dance told this site, "It's a victory for the rule of law. This shows that the government cannot summarily shut down parliament for its own political purposes. For those of us who believe in the strength of democratic institutions and the rule of law, today is a welcome relief from the seemingly unrelenting attacks from the right on our liberal democracy."

Brexit party leader Nigel Farage  condemned what he called a “political decision” by the court, adding, “The court represents the political class but Boris Johnson should now consider resigning. We won’t have Brexit until there is a general election.”

Elsewhere, Dr Denis MacShane, a former UK Europe Minister, said, “It is difficult to overstate the damage this does to Boris Johnson. He is found guilty of obliging the Queen to suspend Parliament which the 11 Supreme Court judges have decided was an unlawful act.”

“In any other era Johnson would have to resign. But we may be witnessing the Orbanisation of the UK Parliament and Tory MPs will protect their prime minister. The Brexit timetable is now in serious doubt as Britain face a major political-constitutional crisis,” he added.

“In my view he [Johnson] must seriously consider his position as Prime Minister. He has fallen a million miles below what we should expect of the Prime Minister, he has to go" Rory Palmer MEP

Former UK Liberal MEP Andrew Duff welcomed the court ruling as “jolly good”, adding, “it limits the chance of Johnson crashing out without a deal.”

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