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Boris Johnson denies lying to Queen over parliament shutdown

The Prime Minister said it was 'absolutely not' true his government had deceived the monarch.

Boris Johnson: I will not criticise Scots judges. <strong>WPA Pool / Getty Images</strong>
Boris Johnson: I will not criticise Scots judges. WPA Pool / Getty Images

Boris Johnson has said it is “absolutely not” true he lied to the Queen over his reasons for suspending parliament.

The Prime Minister denied claims his government misled the monarch the day after Scotland’s highest civil court ruled its conduct had been “unlawful”.

UK ministers, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, visited the Queen at Balmoral at the end of August to advise her to approve a five-week prorogation of parliament.

Johnson insisted the lengthy suspension was to pave the way for a new legislative agenda, to be revealed in a Queen’s Speech on October 14.

However, three judges of the Court of Session’s inner house ruled on Wednesday this advice – and the “progoration itself” – was “unlawful”.

They argued the government’s real purpose was “stymying parliament” to limit scrutiny of its Brexit plans.

But Johnson’s position was somewhat bolstered by a ruling in the government’s favour in a near-identical case in England.

The High Court in London ruled the prorogation of parliament was “not a matter for the courts”, rejecting the case brought by campaigner and businesswoman Gina Miller.

A final decision on the legality of the move by the Prime Minister will be made by the UK Supreme Court.

Asked if he lied to the monarch, Johnson replied: “Absolutely not. 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.”

Answering questions at an event in London, the PM 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.”

Johnson said he would not “quarrel or criticise” the judges in the Court of Session case after a row on Wednesday over a suggestion by unofficial Number 10 sources that the judges were biased.

Downing Street disowned the claims, which were branded “pitiful, pathetic and desperate” by Nicola Sturgeon.

But speaking on STV’s Peston on Wednesday night, UK business minister Kwasi Kwarteng accused the judges of “getting involved in politics” and claimed “many people are saying” they are biased.

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

“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.

“I think it’s proper for politicians to let them get on and do that.”

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