Those out there on the Brexit-demanding right are beside themselves with joy this afternoon, after the Court of Session dismissed a case which would have forced alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to comply with the so-called Benn Act and request an extension to the Article 50 process by October 19, if no deal had been agreed with the EU by that time. The petitioners did not trust Bozo The Clown.
A total Muppet. And Elmo from Sesame Street
Which puts them in the same boat as most of the electorate. So, as the BBC has reported, “Lord Pentland said there could be ‘no doubt’ that the prime minister had agreed to abide by the law. As a result, he said there was no need for ‘coercive orders’ against the UK government or against the prime minister”. The right-wing response was predictable.
Jolyon Maugham QC
So it was that the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog told readers “Remainer Court Challenge To Force Boris To Send Extension Letter Fails … Jolyon Loses Again … Edinburgh’s Court of Session has dismissed a legal challenge that was attempting to more concretely force Boris Johnson to send a letter to the EU requesting another Article 50 extension at the end of this month. The Judge decided it is ‘neither necessary nor appropriate’ to force the Government’s hand”.
There was, though, a problem with this gloating analysis. As Sunder Katwala put it, “Boris triumphs over Court bid to force him to comply with the Benn Act by giving unequivocal legal assurances that he will comply with Benn Act … Accepts - will write extension letter, if no deal vote by 19/10 - accept EU extension if offered - not act to frustrate Act's purpose”.
Joel Taylor then asked the obvious question. “The govt has secured its first victory in Edinburgh's Court of Session but not before giving 'unequivocal assurances' to the court it will comply with the 2019 Benn Act and 'not frustrate the purpose of the legislation’. How can they possibly wriggle out of this obligation?” How indeed.
David Allen Green concluded that they could not. “The government cannot wiggle out now. Johnson has surrendered to the Surrender Act. British politics is now about how soon the lobby and Brexiters realise this”, he told, with David Muttering adding “Perhaps THAT’S why he called it the Surrender Act - because he was going to surrender to it”. Ho ho ho.
And James Doleman, who broke the news that Bozo’s assurances had been given to the Court of Session by the Government’s Advocate, much to the dismay of the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton Dunn, had actually read Lord Pentland’s judgment. “Reading through Lord Pentland's judgment, is tougher on the government than it first looks. He treats Johnson's vague statement on the Benn Act as a legally binding commitment, then gives a veiled warning of consequences if they break it”.
Doleman concluded that this was “a very double-edged result”. Lord Pentland treated “the Government’s statement as a binding legal commitment” and concluded “I approach matters on the basis that it would be destructive of one of the core principles of constitutional propriety and of the mutual trust that is the bedrock of the relationship between the court and the Crown for the Prime Minister or the Government to renege on what they have assured the court”. In other words, he told Bozo … DON’T YOU DARE.
You can read the whole of James Doleman’s Byline Times analysis HERE.
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