Boris Johnson Denies Lying To Queen Over Parliament Shutdown

Rachel Wearmouth

Boris Johnson has denied lying to the Queen over the suspension of parliament, insisting such claims were “absolutely not” true.

The Court of Session concluded on Wednesday that the prime minister’s controversial decision to suspend parliament was unlawful. 

Johnson said that the five-week prorogation, one of the longest in history, was so the government could bring forward a new domestic agenda in a fresh Queen’s Speech on October 15. 

But the panel of top judges said it was to “stymie parliament” and avoid scrutiny.

When pressed on whether he had lied to the Queen on Thursday, Johnson said: “Absolutely not”. 

He added: “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.” 

He added: “Parliament will have time both before and after that crucial summit on October 17 and 18 to talk about the Brexit deal.

“I’m very hopeful that we will get a deal, as I say, at that crucial summit. We’re working very hard – I’ve been around the European capitals talking to our friends

“I think we can see the rough area of a landing space, of how you can do it – it will be tough, it will be hard, but I think we can get there.”

After Number 10 briefings which suggested that the Scottish court had been biased were heavily criticised on Wednesday, Johnson insisted the judges were independent and that he would not “quarrel or criticise”. 

It comes after energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng also cast aspersions on the court case as he repeated an allegation that “many people” had doubts about the judiciary’s independence. 

He said: “The British judiciary, the United Kingdom judiciary, is one of the great glories of our constitution – they are independent.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. (Photos: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images, Victoria Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

“Believe me, around the world people look at our judges with awe and admiration, so I’m not going to quarrel or criticise the judges.

“Clearly there are two different legal views – the High Court in England had a very different opinion and the Supreme Court will have to adjudicate in the course of the next few days, and I think it’s proper for politicians to let them get on and do that.”

Johnson also sought to downplay the impact of a no-deal Brexit following the release of Operation Yellowhammer assessments.

The government report said crashing out of the bloc with no deal could lead to outbreaks of disease and shortages of medicine, fresh food and fuel, with the poorest hit worst. 

The PM said: “It is very important to understand what this document is: this is a worst-case scenario which civil servants obviously have to prepare for, but in the last few months, and particularly in the 50 days since I’ve been Prime Minister, we’ve been massively accelerating our preparations.

“We’re trying to get a deal and I’m very hopeful that we will get a deal with our European friends on October 17th or 18th or thereabouts.

“But if we have to come out on October 31 with no-deal we will be ready and the ports will be ready and the farming communities will be ready, and all the industries that matter will be ready for a no-deal Brexit.

“What you’re looking at here is just the sensible preparations – the worst-case scenario – that you’d expect any government to do.

“In reality we will certainly be ready for a no-deal Brexit if we have to do it and I stress again that’s not where we intend to end up.”

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