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Tuesday 24 September 2019

At 10.30 today, the Supreme Court will give its verdict on the whether Boris Johnson unlawfully prorogued Parliament.

The ruling will go one of three ways: prorogation is by definition a political act and not a matter for the courts to decide on; it is a matter for the courts but the prime minister did not break the law since prorogation has only reduced Parliamentary scrutiny by a matter of days – indeed in the available time an anti-Brexit bill was passed – the PM also offered a general election, which was spurned; finally, as Gina Miller has unconvincingly argued, the matter is of such high political significance, in this instance prorogation is unconstitutional – seems far-fetched to say the least.  

“When it comes to parliamentary scrutiny, what are we missing? Four or five days, when it’s had three years to discuss this issue, Donnez-moi un break, “ said Boris last night in New York. “And will be able to come back and discuss Brexit after the European council on 17 and 18 October.”

It’s a strong argument. Even if the Supreme Court’s 11 unelected judges believe they should have a say over how the nation is governed, which would be a very bold call, they should at least agree that Boris has given Parliament plenty of opportunity to disrupt the government for the simple reason that it has succeeded in doing so and has time to do more damage. If they go all the way and side with Gina Miller and  Scotland’s Court of Session there will be consequences. Constitutional crisis, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Furthermore, the government believes the Court of Session overlooked a legal technicality which would have otherwise rendered its ruling void. The Supreme Court can overturn that decision in a heartbeat. Although that seems unlikely, otherwise Lady Hale, the Court’s president would have called for a ruling at the end of last week and this charade would have been done with as quickly as possible.

Indeed, the Sun is interpreting the large number of judges who will be present in court today, seven of the eleven, as a sign the judiciary is divided. It will be a right awful mess if the judges go against the will of the people. Aside from the backlash – ensure to stay tuned to our Twitter feed – the sentence will be complicated. Does the Court bring Parliament back immediately or set just a precedent. According to the BBC, the government says it has three options, one of which is to suspend Parliament again.

Sounds farcical,  but small beer compared to what’s going on at the Labour conference where, last night Jeremy Corbyn’s cronies sought to snuff out a Remain proposal for the Party to formally adopt.

A “total stitch-up” is how a member of the Shadow Cabinet described the astonishing spectacle of the chair of the debate, Wendy Nichols stating that the motion for Remain had carried before Labour general secretary, Jennie Formby whispered in her ear. Nichols then said the Remain motion had in fact lost.

The chair then proceeded to reject a full-card vote which would have identified which delegates opted which way, trade unions sticking with Brexit, or at least Corbyn’s neutral fudge, and Eurofanatic members going with Remain. The Labour leader is said to be eager to camouflage divisions in advance of the oncoming election.

For a man whose extreme views are supposed to shake up politics, Corbyn has a bizarre fondness for sitting on the fence. He’s definitely extreme, but there’s only a long string of sinew where his spine is supposed to be.

Let’s hope our leading judges are more robust.