'It blew away any sincerity in Brexit': James O'Brien on worst thing Boris Johnson's ever done

26 January 2022, 12:22

By Tim Dodd

This was James O'Brien's poignant take on the worst thing that Boris Johnson has ever done - the unlawful prorogation of Parliament - ahead of the release of an investigation on the Downing Street parties.

On 28 August Her Majesty ordered that Parliament be prorogued on the advice of Boris Johnson. 

Parliament was then prorogued on 9 September, but justices at the Supreme Court were later asked to determine whether the Prime Minister's advice to the Queen was an "unlawful abuse of power".

On 24 September the Supreme Court handed down a unanimous judgement.

Read more: Suspending Parliament Was UNLAWFUL: Supreme Court Rules On Prorogation

The court said: "It is impossible for us to conclude, on the evidence which has been put before us, that there was any reason – let alone a good reason – to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament for five weeks, from 9th or 12th September until 14th October. We cannot speculate, in the absence of further evidence, upon what such reasons might have been. It follows that the decision was unlawful."

Read more: 'Severe' UK sanctions 'ready to go' as 100,000 Russian troops line Ukraine border

James said: "I am still pretty big on the unlawful prorogation of Parliament. I don't know why I'm so hung up on that. I think it's because I spent so long desperately trying to give a break to people who voted for Brexit and claimed it had nothing to do with xenophobia and that they knew what they were doing and that their eyes were wide open.

"Eventually all you were left with was this slightly desperate sigh of sovereignty... So I thought 'they are claiming that sovereignty is very important to them', that they have a sort of emotional relationship with our Parliament and our unwritten constitution.

"These are people who do feel reverence towards her majesty the Queen. Because I didn't want to believe that everybody was either thick or racist or both, that voted for that referendum in 2016."

Read more: 'It's going ahead' but Liz Truss refuses to say if she'd back delaying NI hike

He continued: "So when he sent Jacob Rees-Mogg to give the Queen unlawful advice about the prorogation of Parliament, that for me, was huge.

"It blew away, for me, the last vestige of hope that there was some honesty involved in that whole project. It blew away the last scintilla of possibility that there was some sincerity involved in the idea that you knew what you were voting for."

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