A tyranny of judges

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a vile assault on the democratic order.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill

Topics Brexit Politics UK

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a vile assault on the democratic order. In finding that Boris Johnson’s proroguing of parliament was unlawful, and that parliament is not prorogued, the 11 justices have made an explicitly political decision in favour of the Remainer elite. They have taken sides. Ignore the utterly unconvincing pleas of the Remainer fanatics who brought this case, all of whom robotically insist that this is not a political decision, just a legal, constitutional one. No one is buying that. This was a decisively political act by 11 unelected judges who have taken sides against the government of the day, and this opens up a new, dark era in British political life.

What we have seen emerge via this judgement is a borderline tyrannical layer in British politics. A layer that stands above everyone and everything, including the government itself. A layer of unrepresentative, unaccountable individuals who have now presumed the authority to strike down actual government decisions. This instantly weakens any future government’s claim to moral and political authority and their basic ability to relate to parliament, to negotiate treaties, and to act on the will of the people. The precedent set today is that any of that might potentially be subject to the higher, apparently wiser judgement of politicised courts. It is an outrage.

It is staggering just how political, how uninhibited, the judgement was. Even Remainer fanatics are shocked by the extent to which the court took their side against the government (and ultimately against the people, whose vote to leave the EU these fanatics are seeking to overthrow). The justices said the prorogation is unlawful and no longer exists and suggested therefore that parliamentarians may reconvene as and when they please. It was an implicit invitation to the Remainer Parliament to continue its frustration of Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans and of Brexit more broadly. The Speaker of the House, the hardcore Remainer John Bercow, wasted no time in responding. Parliamentarians ‘must reconvene without delay’, he said. Bercow, loather of Brexit and usurper of parliamentary custom, has now effectively been put in charge of politics in this country. Good news for the Remainer elite; terrible news for anybody who truly believes in democracy.

Democracy – incredibly, some of the Remainer elitists who supported the Supreme Court case claim this is what they are fighting for. Gina Miller, the wealthy woman who brought the case, and others outside the court – Caroline Lucas, Anna Soubry, Jo Maugham – all insisted that this was a simple, non-political defence of parliamentary sovereignty against an overreaching executive. Do they really think we’re that stupid?

These people despise Brexit. They have devoted themselves to stopping it. They are against enacting the democratic will. In expecting us to believe their legal case wasn’t political, they expose what a low opinion they have of the people of this country. Millions will see this case, and the judgement, and know instantly that it will not do anything whatsoever to defend democracy, parliamentary or otherwise, but rather will enable the Remainer Parliament to continue thwarting democracy and silencing the people’s voice. At least voters now know what they are up against: virtually every institution in the land, including the law itself, all of which are lending their considerable power to the Remainer elite’s anti-democratic, anti-people project.

This judgement is a disaster for law and for politics. It’s bad for law because it will convince many more people that the law has become a political instrument, wielded by the wealthy to achieve openly political ends that they failed to achieve in the public, democratic sphere. And it is bad for politics because it points to the formation of a new politicised but untouchable elite which has power over the entire nation and everyone in it. That should terrify anyone who believes in real democracy. When the Daily Mail accused judges of behaving like enemies of the people, the Remainer elites went into meltdown. Our message to them today is clear: if you don’t want to be called an enemy of the people, stop behaving like one.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty images.

Rod Liddle and Brendan O’Neill in conversation at Podcast Live!

Rod Liddle and Brendan O'Neill
– live in London

Podcast Live

Podcast Live, Friends House, London, NW1 2BJ – 5 October 2019, 2.30pm-3.30pm

To get tickets, click the button below, then scroll down to The Brendan O'Neill Show logo on the Podcast Live page.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Jerry Owen

27th September 2019 at 5:17 pm

Surely an incoming government or coalition at the next GE can simply reverse the ‘no deal’ diktat ? As I understand it no prior government can impose it’s will on a future government , I know the ‘no deal’ is a parliamentary stitchup , but there must be a way to reverse it. Obviously you would need a government with the will to do it, which isn’t likely at the moment .. but who knows what the future holds for the next government from the masses if Brexit is thwarted, we may give them no option but to concede !

Marvin Jones

30th September 2019 at 6:04 pm

Or pay a heavy price for their betrayal and surrender to the victors and masters in Europe.

Carlo Guli

27th September 2019 at 8:35 am

The idea that some professional people, free of any constraints, can be disciplined enough to cast aside their own opinions and express equanimous judgements is just a myth and proven wrong by this very ruling. We all are flesh and blood after all.

In my view judges work at their best when they sit to interpret the law because in so doing they themselves are constrained by the very law they seek to interpret and by the received wisdom of some precedents as established by their predecessors.

However, they should never be allowed to make new laws.
Making new laws should firmly reside within the parliamentary chambers where new laws are subject to more intense scrutiny and there is a better chance that those laws express the wishes of the general public, not the whims of a few unelected people however learned.

If not we end up with an oligarchy that can make laws and then interpret them at their own convenience.
We cannot afford to leave such a poisonous tool at large in our system.

It is true that this court does not sit in judgement of its own volition.
But when you also have a rich and empowered elite with enough money and time and an alignment of the inclinations of this elite with those of this court, then these two forces will combine to create a despot that can raise his ugly head above parliament and the crown.

This is what we have just witnessed with this ruling.
I gather from several sources that there was no law concerning the allowable length of prorogation.
To me this means the judges created such law now in order to interpret it.

The powers of the Supreme court must be constrained, denying them the power to make new laws.
If we allow this to happen this means that in the course of the history of this country people have fought to control the absolute power of the monarch only to end up accepting the absolute rule of a despotic elite. I for one do not find this remotely acceptable.

Jerry Owen

28th September 2019 at 10:32 am

Why would you want to be a judge if you can’t be jury as well ?

Carlo Guli

30th September 2019 at 9:24 am

Some would, some wouldn’t. For those who wouldn’t we are lucky enough that we cannot have all that we wish for.

Alastair McGowan

26th September 2019 at 8:08 am

When i started reading Spiked it was full of contrary but incisive argument. It has now seemingly shifted to content that is simple populist rhetoric and cant. I can get that from the gutter press.

Jerry Owen

28th September 2019 at 10:33 am

What is ‘populist rhetoric’ ?

Alan Burdon

29th September 2019 at 10:38 am

‘Populist rhetoric’ is a euphamism for unpalatable truths.

Brian Kennedy

4th October 2019 at 10:34 pm

I agree.

Brian Kennedy

4th October 2019 at 10:37 pm

I agree, that is, with Alastair.

Jonothan Sims

26th September 2019 at 6:42 am

HI all. Yes a terrible death of UK democracy on the cards.. Is it possible to find out which way these eleven “judges” voted in the brexit referendum? That would be interesting.

William Jones

26th September 2019 at 6:17 pm

I did an Open University module related to Decision Making. The module indicated that ”minds very often come made up” at the start of any decision making activity. In other words: people are predisposed towards a particular outcome and “select” whatever favourable factors assist their preconceived conclusion.
This psychological disposition is the probable explanation of why the Supreme Court moved towards their opinion and why they were supported by the other inclined groups to the detriment of the democratic vote.

Ron Bell

25th September 2019 at 10:45 pm

This decision has revealed to extent of political bias in the UK legal system. If this proroguing of parliment is illegal because it stopped the business of parliment, then every proroguing must also be. When a supreme court unanimously corrupts the democratic provess, then that court must be taken down and reconstructed with better checks and balances. The UK is a joke world wide, watch the rich and powerful rewrite law to suite their will, while the majority are just swept aside like trash.

Carlo Guli

25th September 2019 at 9:59 pm

Leave the EU with No deal in October 2019

Kristof Roth

25th September 2019 at 4:38 pm

Apparently there are limits to the freedom to debate after all. How ironic that our free-speech absolutist should support shutting down the governmental body whose speech is most instrumental to governance! ‘End the debate!I have the result I want.’

Carlo Guli

26th September 2019 at 6:57 pm

This is the same man that has been interviewed by sky news on August 30th before the proceedings even started ( https://www.express.co.uk/videos/6080935137001/Brexit-Lord-Sumption-warns-Gina-Miller-over-legal-battle ) and was doubtful about Gina Miller possibility of succes on the grounds that the “relation between crown and parliament are not governed by legal rules”.
But, in a later interview by channel 4 soon after the Scottish court ruling ( https://www.channel4.com/news/lord-sumption-we-havent-yet-got-to-the-people-against-the-courts-maybe-well-get-there-one-day ), he was openly critical of the PM stating that a PM is only entitled to use the crown’s prerogative powers when he/she commands a majority in the commons.
He is not part of the panel of 11, but seriously he gave a good indication of what the mood of his ex colleagues was.

Jane 70

25th September 2019 at 12:57 pm


At least the Attorney General has told it like it is; somebody hadto.

Jane 70

25th September 2019 at 12:40 pm

From a simple Leave supporter: regardless of the legal does and don’ts, this seems to me and to thousands of effectively disillusioned and frustrated others, as just the latest move on the part of a very well connected,wealthy and determined elite to ensure that Brexit will be tied up, obstructed and delayed ad infinitum .

Gina Miller-she who announced that the referendum result made her feel physically sick-has used a seemingly open ended access to our courts to mount challenge after challenge.

This can only be seen as a political move disguised as legal probity .

Now we have the unseemly spectacle of an openly biased and partisan speaker reconvening the HOC.

As others have rightly commented, what hope have we, the ordinary folks with limited resources , of achieving our aim?

Whatever we do, the Millerites will be there, ready waiting and lawyered up.

I never thought to see such a sorry state of affairs: unable to vote again,as our so called representatives will not approve another election.

Michael Lynch

25th September 2019 at 1:00 pm

What’s more damning is those benches aren’t even full. You’d think they’d have been hotfoot down to London last night in view of their eagerness to get back to work. It the Prime Minister can make it back from America overnight why can’t they travel the few hundred miles or so? I’ve not seen any Brexit debate either; instead, there’s been no end of crowing from the Remainers over their victory. It’s a disgusting spectacle.

Jim Lawrie

25th September 2019 at 1:29 pm

Jane 70

25th September 2019 at 1:45 pm

And what’s worse: up here , north of the wall, we’ll now have to endure more sermonising and pc-speak from the truly awful SNP.
Sturgeon is going full steam ahead, demanding the PM’s immediate resignation.
One million of us voted for Leave, we have a Brexit Party MEP, but no matter.
To quote Cromwell once more-(earth to the HOC)-

“you have sat too long here for any good you have been doing lately…. Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go”

Jane 70

25th September 2019 at 2:28 pm


BON on youtube. Tells it like it is.

Patricia Ford

25th September 2019 at 9:20 pm

And this is why the judge wears black Michael because justice is dead,if they had won instead of us we would never have heard another word.The shock of losing was to much to bare and if for one moment it was suspected they would lose the referendum would have never taken place.I hope we get the last laugh

Michael Lynch

25th September 2019 at 9:52 pm

Jim, I saw him and was totally blown away by his brilliant performance. This like the Tory Party of old. When in a corner they really do come out fighting. Much to the total surprise of the opposition.

Jamie Spary

25th September 2019 at 12:30 pm

John major prorogued parliament for 3 weeks. Did this ‘stymie’ parliament? If so, is this not also Illegal?

Jane 70

25th September 2019 at 1:07 pm

This is what I’ve been wondering; double standards rules.

Steve Saint

25th September 2019 at 5:32 pm

Anything these people in Westminster do is illegal. It has been for almost 50 years now but at last we have proof.

There is no Parliament. The main parties are all in breach of any principles of government by consent, self determination or even their own mealy mouthed manifestos.

These are now 650 private individuals holding the institution of Parliament hostage. The army should be going, dragging that rag bag of a utterly politically compromised police “service” with them and demand they arrest every single pro EU MP on the place, and if any resist shoot them.

I have no truck with the likes of Tom Watson sending our kids to die and kill innocent men, women and children for a principle abroad (eg Iraq) that they trample on at home.

Our institutions are infested with these criminal hypocrites. No one is safe while they and apparatchiks like them are able to influence events.

The same reckoning they visited on others must be visited on them. SW1 is not a sanctuary for major politucal criminals.

That goes for the senior civil service, including (or should that be especially?) the judiciary. These groups are activists in the cause of the EU and should be prepared to pay the same price.

Democracy, if it is not defended, dies. We have patiently tried every other avenue, now it’s time to employ the ultimate sanction we all pay for. Any other course of action is very unwise.

Philip Thompson

25th September 2019 at 11:54 am

We elect parliament, the party with most votes forms a govt. that govt is not directly elected. It is called a parliamentary democracy. Spiked chooses to miss this point to suit its agenda. Argue for more direct democracy, fine. But don’t try and misrepresent parliaments role.

Henry McGuinness

25th September 2019 at 11:50 am

I’m very far from being an expert on this, but my understanding is that rich Remain activists paid for a case for apparently political reasons (whilst ludicrously denying it)

The SC used precedent & legal rationale to claim that the propagation of this length was unlawful. Now given that we have had longer prorogations, one wonders if they have been slightly selective about the precedents & legal rationale they used. Some judges & lawyers are saying this is a very new interpretation – tantamount to a power-grab – making constitutional law up and claiming it’s upholding a constitution that’s already there (which I question) .

In any case, it’s a decision with profoundly political repercussions, and as Brendan says, they have not disguised their wish that Parliament reconvene immediately.

Therefore to the best of my knowledge, I think it is fair to say that the SC have acted politically and will look ridiculous if they complain about criticism (some judges think they’re above criticism) and suggestions of bias.

Murray Freedman

25th September 2019 at 10:52 am

As a simple man, this judgement and all the 3 years of backwards and forwards, have left me deeply angry and frustrated. When Brexit ‘won’, I was really surprised but expected events to take place, leading to an orderly departure from the EU. Instead, we have had any number of antidemocratic interventions, including this last one by the Supreme Court, denying what I would have thought was natural justice.

I am not a young man so the notion of taking to the streets in a violent manner to protest this is not an option. What is an option for me, and for the 17.4 million people who have seen their democracy trashed, by politicians, freelancers like Miller and of course, our wonderful media, is a TAX STRIKE.

I suspect that if 17.4 million people suddenly withheld their tax, something would have to BE DONE.
Why should I be taxed if I am not being represented?

QED, I should have thought. Who’s with me?

Jerry Owen

25th September 2019 at 4:03 pm

I’m with you 100% !

Amelia Cantor

25th September 2019 at 10:12 am

Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a vile assault on the democratic order.

<smh> Racism is vile. Xenophobia is vile. Trashing the economic prospects of vulnerable communities of colour the length and breadth of the country — that, also, is vile.

IOW, Brexit is vile.

Therefore Gina Miller and the educated, intelligent, economically and ethically literate judges who have just driven a stake through the foul and corrupt heart of Brexit are the complete and diametric opposite of “vile”.

They are heroes whose names will be remembered and celebrated long after O’Neill and his pathetic band of posturing pseudo-progressives have vanished into permanent and thoroughly deserved oblivion.

Thomas Swift

25th September 2019 at 11:51 am

So what you’re is independence is wicked and vile because of white people?

Michael Lynch

25th September 2019 at 12:14 pm

Ignore this Troll, Thomas. It, she or he is a vile racist.

Jerry Owen

25th September 2019 at 4:04 pm

Are you still weeping over little Greta ?

Alan Burdon

29th September 2019 at 10:52 am

Your restraint does you credit. (That’s irony in case you are too full of yourself to notice).

Andrew Leonard

30th September 2019 at 5:14 pm

“Racism is vile. Xenophobia is vile.”

Even more so if you employ an immigrant to clean your house for cash, at below minimum wage

Harry King

25th September 2019 at 9:39 am

Only 38% of eligible voters voted to leave. Almost half of the voters that voted wanted to remain. These judges are not fighting for the ‘elite few’ as you say, but fighting for millions of people that want to remain.
Boris Johnson is a dangerous prime minister. He doesn’t care that he has acted unlawfully. His aim to shut down the government at a critical time shows that he wanted to frustrate the efforts and undermine proper democratic discussion and processes.
It is said that a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for the UK. I don’t think anybody really knows if that’s true or not, but without proper processes in place to discuss then it becomes dangerous.
This article has been written, albeit well written, with the intent to insight hatred and fear. Ask yourself if you want a prime minister that is out of reach the law.
We need to leave the EU, or we need to ask the public if it’s still the right thing to do. If it is, we need to leave in such a way that is best for everybody. We are not there yet.

Michael Lynch

25th September 2019 at 9:58 am

What about millions who voted to Leave? You seem, in your zeal, to have omitted them from your post. In much the same way those unelected judges did not wish to consider them. Leave or Remain, we all lost yesterday. The electorate have been effectively beheaded and are now completely locked out of the democratic process because Parliament will now sit on their hands until they get their second, rigged, referendum. The public should have been given a GE so that THEY could decide who was right or wrong. Instead, a millionaire has been allowed to buy off 17.4 million votes and decide the destiny of this country. Be careful what you wish for because you might just get it!

Harry King

25th September 2019 at 10:55 am

The were literally mention in the first sentence.

Amelia Cantor

25th September 2019 at 10:25 am

This is a brave attempt to speak truth to toxicity, Harry, but it will be completely futile. It will fall foul of the great truth of politics:

Reality and rightards are not even on nodding acquaintance.

Andrew Leonard

30th September 2019 at 5:18 pm

Are you a saint?

Markk Phillips

25th September 2019 at 10:48 am

Your excuse to ignore the winning vote is the same as the “They didn’t know what they were voting for” excuse. Entirely irrelevant: In this country the winning vote takes the majority no matter what percentage of the country actually voted.
Had the vote been the other way and Remain had won, those people voting leave would have been cast away and would have been told the matter is settled and we would have carried on without ever considering the “feelings” of the leave voters.
Factually and not emotionally, Leave won the vote and Parliament have an obligation politically, morally and legally to deliver that result. We were told during the referendum what leave meant: it meant leaving the EU, leaving the Customs Union and single Market, leaving the ECJ. Parliament have an obligation to deliver that very outcome. Not a deal. not half-in/half-out. The country voted to leave all the machinery: legal, financial, political and technical of the European Union.

Harry King

25th September 2019 at 11:05 am

I voted leave. I look at things subjectively.

These comments are about Brexit. The supreme court case was about the unlawful prorogation of parliament. I think that’s proof enough that Boris Johnson’s actions where to undermine democracy.

If leavers had lost the first referendum they would have the opportunity to leave again in the future. The likelihood of remainers having the opportunity to enter the EU in the future is slim. Especially with the same ‘special’ status that the UK had.

I agree, leave means leave. But not at the expense of a Prime Minister who is willing to break the law to do so.

Michael Lynch

25th September 2019 at 12:22 pm

Tosh, Harry. Judges up and down the land rely on juries to find in every case. They may influence the jury but they cannot tell it how to vote. What better way, therefore, than for them to have stepped aside and allowed the general public to decide, in vast number, in a general election. Instead, they have effectively locked out the British Public in order to allow a ‘zombie’ Parliament to procure even further delays in indecision. You call that democracy? It is making further mockery of the notion of the sovereignty of the British people.

Vabadus 19

28th September 2019 at 7:57 pm

Indeed, I recall Chuka Umunna on the morning of 24th June 2016 saying to David Dimbleby that Brexit must happen even if Leave wins “by just one vote”.

Jerry Owen

25th September 2019 at 4:07 pm

Harry king
Purleeez .. not that old tripe of trying to include those that chose not to vote to bolster you argument .. still at least you didn’t mention those voters that aren’t born yet !

Henry McGuinness

26th September 2019 at 9:11 am

Well we had to make a decision, both sides 5hink the 9ther is wrong. The more passionate people on either side of the debate call the other side “liars” – the same thing happens before every election.

How do we settle things? We have a vote, where everyone has an equal say, and go with the side that wins. We hope that people will be grown up and say “OK the majority must win”.

This runs into problems if the losers aren’t grown up. But how else are we to settle the problem. You share the Remain misconception that there will be no adverse consequences to ignoring 17m winning votes – in your mind those people just don’t exist, or their votes don’t count because you & your friends think they are wrong.

Democracy simply can’t survive if everyone takes that attitude.

Carlo Guli

25th September 2019 at 9:02 am

I’m sorry but whatever I heard so far in defense of this judiciary mistake doesn’t stack up. These judges have clearly overstepped into the political arena. In so doing they have diminished their authority and weakened the institutions of this country. I might not be fairly represented by this parliament, but I can still think on my own and, so far, say what I think. Ultimately it will be how many people share a similar view that will matter, not this judgement, but we are all going to pay dearly for this blunder.

Markk Phillips

25th September 2019 at 8:33 am

Back on my blog in September 2016, I posted this rather prescient blog in September of 2016.

I was talking of a Remainer Coup. Especially these paragraphs:

“Which is why we have to be wary against the stitch-up. If the political parties are aligning (or being aligned against their will) to weaken or even reverse Brexit, us, the public need to be on point, on guard and watching what happens over the next few months.

Sadly it seems that the way things are aligning, the Tories will deliberately botch things, UKIP will be weakened and unable to mount a controlling influence and the only true opposition will be a bunch of rabid socialists that no-one will ever consider voting for, thereby eliminating that threat to the destruction of the Brexit ideal.”

We were back then, in the phoney war, just after the decision to Exit the EU and the media were going full swing into promoting every remainer march, tweet or meeting. Before the establishment had formulated a plan and triggered article 50.

In it I said to be wary of the coup the establishment , the people of the elite that have the ear of government were plotting.

I never thought it would be this messy or take this long, but finally the elite I think, have got their way.

The judgement by the Supreme Court lays before us the mechanism of tyranny: the judges are supreme. and therefore sovereign. And there’s us thinking it was us the people, or the democratically elected government, or Parliament as a whole that was sovereign, or the Queen herself. But no, it is 11 unelected judges that have sat in judgement on a democratically elected government. Judges sitting at the behest of millionaires and billionaires that have decided what government is and isn’t able to do on our behalf.

Above Government, above Parliament, above even the Queen, the Supreme Court has established itself. It has established itself as the arbiter of government policy. It can second guess what any particular government was thinking when it made a judgement and enacted policy and if necessary quash that policy. It can now cancel any government policy the rich requires cancelling.

The judges have allowed the rich to overthrow the poor.

Marvin Jones

30th September 2019 at 6:15 pm

Hence, proving without a doubt “The law is an ASS!”

Steve Roberts

25th September 2019 at 8:09 am

Last night on Sky news Brendan O’Neill stood his ground for democracy and the will of the people , opposing him , and us, was Rachel Cunliffe of City A.M. , we heard the usual twisting and turning of reality from her, competent and confident in her lying and then she went and made a fool of herself and let the real cat out of the bag, discussing the use of power beyond the will of the people she simply said ” … ..the judiciary has a role in holding the electorate to account..” Exactly .

Michael Lynch

25th September 2019 at 8:53 am

That’s shocking. I’ve quite frankly had to stop watching because I’m so angry. I’ve stated on here before that whilst I didn’t vote in the referendum because I live abroad my natural tendency was toward Remain. However, when the result was in that was it for me and I totally respected the result. There seems to be a massive attitude difference between the generations with regard your right to be heard via the ballot box. I was brought up to believe in democracy and to respect the outcome of any given vote. I guess the youngsters of today place absolutely no value on this right and respect. Perhaps because they have never had to defend it so take it for granted. History demonstrates that democracy is a fragile flower and it must be defended by a society of free people at all costs. Because once it has gone, it has gone and it’s impossible to retrieve without bloodshed. They are simply throwing it away and will reap the whirlwind for their casual attitude. To actually state and believe that an unelected body can hold the whole electorate to account shows how ignorant they are of the monumental struggles that ordinary people had to endure to secure a right to a voice. These are very dark days indeed.

Jim Lawrie

25th September 2019 at 9:55 am

Speaking on his own account, not as part of any case he was representing, Aidan O’Neill QC has been adamant for some time that the law must trump politics and be able to prevail a minority over the majority. Then he harps back to Nuremberg and the Holocaust for his justification, a crime of which we are all jointly guilty. Except, of course, Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, communists etc ….

The Supreme court decision has been years in the making, with them assuming oversight of our schools, prisons hospitals etc … They will soon be striking down criminal law with which they do not agree, and adding new ones to criminalise us formally for expressing our views.

Yesterday’s decision was the start of a new order, with the old one left to wither at Westminster.
I fully expect the courts and their lackeys in the legislature to rubber stamp day to day changes in the law to meet political developments.

Eric Blair

25th September 2019 at 10:55 am

That was quite obviously a misspoken quote. She clearly meant executive not electorate and to think that you have scored a winning point with such a lame argument is pretty poor.

Michael Lynch

25th September 2019 at 1:15 pm

How can you be so sure that’s what she meant to say. So far during the entire Brexit affair I heard no end of useful idiots falling over themselves to throw away their democratic rights. What amazes me about someone who claims Orwell’s real name, and therefore implies they understand his body of work, has no idea of what Orwell was really all about. Left wing zealots have always used 1984 to bash Conservative thinking down the years without a full understanding of the work. It was a warning; all power corrupts no matter how well intentioned the people who attain it are. You saw this happen under the Soviets, under Mao and now in South America. Orwell championed a Welfare State, but warned that it needed to respect democracy. That, indeed, it was foolhardy to hand over total control, including total control over the economy, to the State. 1984 is the denigration of English Socialism into a Totalitarian State. Loosing ones right to a voice via the ballot box is the first step down the slippery slope.

Jerry Owen

25th September 2019 at 4:11 pm

Eric Blair
So what she said isn’t what she meant as you know what she really meant even though she didn’t say it.. Wow how cool are you !

A Game

25th September 2019 at 7:54 am

I tried to work around certain phrases and am still parked in moderation.

A Game

25th September 2019 at 6:49 am

The shattered disillusionment from the regular Spiked posters is palpable. Every time there is a spot of light at the end of the tunnel, the Remainers consistently manage to manipulate something to their benefit. The media happily blows the horn of the victories.
I think Leave voters have proven themselves to be a phenomenal group of people. The wind tunnel you have lived in for three years would have broken every Remainer in two, ten times over by now.
Looking over the three years, the Remainers have just enjoyed the conditions of a perfect storm. They haven’t had to work for any of it. (Fixed term act… created for one purpose that now thwarts something completely removed. Creation of ECJ-ist Supreme Court for one purpose, now used to thwart something completely different. T May. Who would ever have thought a PM would act so recklessly against the interests of her country, in order to preserve her personal ideal?)
They rejoice and show their obnoxious conceit.
But they are weak and defective. They’ve never been tested like Leavers have.
The way this stuff plays out, the media magnifying every twist and turn like its an ultimate play creates the dystopia of the war being won, as opposed to just another obstacle on the right path.
But with every one of these steps, I think their enemies grow in number. There are now those in the legal profession who would have been pro remain, perhaps even indulgent of remain shenanigans to date… but now their machinations have brought the steaming pile onto their turf. People who see a court putting themselves above the head of state… they would be alarmed, now.
G Miller’s repulsiveness, her gleeful triumph, the power of money to buy a result would add to more people growing dismayed.
I saw Brendan’s efforts on Sky with another journo… he’s dazed by what’s just played out. He sees the bigger picture, the hideous ramifications, but the other journo… just blank and crunching the numbers and not caring a whit about what such a ruling means.
I think you shouldn’t cave in to despair. Look at the f**kwits turning up here, what they are trotting out. More of the same Remainer, ignorant, double speak rubbish they specialise in. Bog it all down in the details, slow everything up, never see anything from a central place, a compass, just keep running with the tide, whichever way it turns on any given day. They get corrected… nope. Can’t see it, can’t hear, just keep fretting and fussing and going further up their asses.
I think you can get Brexit. They have this current victory based on a Leaver mistake. Nothing more. Back in parliament, their destructive, vain tendencies will just keep showing their ugliness, their wickedness, over and over.
Whatever they can achieve and for however long before a GE can be forced is just the nails in their impending coffin.
I’m curious when the head of state has a case to step in, when her parliament, her government is not being constitutionally driven. Q Betty actually has a true role here. Will she forever be too frightened to play it? That’s the next question. How much rope will they be allowed?
And if she doesn’t want to act as a head of state, then perhaps its time she began making noises about a republique.
You all get exactly what has happened, what is going on. Strange how its those idiot Leavers who understand why the Supreme Court didn’t have the power to do what they’ve done. (A law that doesn’t exist has been broken, a ruling based on no existing law has been made, and no creation of law to guide future efforts has been created. Its an instruction based on… feelz. The Government made the mistake of not indulging their egos and self importance. Miller et al’s QCs laid it on so thick, every step of the way begging them to step up and grab the power being offered to them. Which side won?)
Leavers are the brave, the true, the right. They aren’t currently the winners, but I can’t budge the feeling they eventually will be.
Poor UK. But in the long run, the clean out of your system is probably the best thing that could happen. Establishment rule has to end. Its an exciting time for any Government that would truly like to build a better country. Is that Johnson and co? Maybe. Certainly not Labour at present. The Brexit Party in ten years time? They have the initiative and the energy and they are conviction politicians.

Nick Smith

25th September 2019 at 6:45 am

Brendan, why don’t you believe Boris when he said the prorogation was nothing to do with Brexit?

Winston Stanley

25th September 2019 at 6:28 am

The British are al al F dead

good f riddance



We is going to execute you all in public


Winston Stanley

25th September 2019 at 6:04 am

This is not cool. We are fighting openly in public.


Winston Stanley

25th September 2019 at 6:11 am

Winston Stanley

25th September 2019 at 5:56 am

Winston Stanley

25th September 2019 at 5:24 am

“Would you mind repeating that?”


Winston Stanley

25th September 2019 at 5:36 am

Winston Stanley

25th September 2019 at 5:14 am





Winston Stanley

25th September 2019 at 5:17 am

F uu uuu CK

The British State


Winston Stanley

25th September 2019 at 5:10 am

your comment must be moderated before it appears

Alessandro De Sando

25th September 2019 at 4:54 am

Flat journalism of a leave supporter

Thomas Swift

25th September 2019 at 2:43 am

So the remaintards now know that the judiciary is with them and that they can get pretty much whatever they want. On that basis, I doubt very much that the remainement will allow another election. Why would they want to put themselves at the mercy of an angry public? So we’re stuck with them now and we can’t get rid of them. Question is: what do we do about it?

Michael Lynch

25th September 2019 at 10:28 am

We can do absolutely nothing. Brexit is dead and the Remainers have won. This is a very dark day for democracy. The ‘will of the people’ is dead as a concept in Europe now. If they could kill this off in Britain then they now hold supreme power over 650 million people without any accountability. History tells us that there can be no such thing as a Liberal Dictatorship despite what people may say or believe. History demonstrates time and time again that power corrupts everything; including left wing ideology. Belief in anything else is ignorance.

sadken .

25th September 2019 at 2:29 am

Welcome to Canada. The Canadian Supreme Court has been an additional political layer of ever-increasing sway for some years now, beginning with Mr Trudeau Senior’s constitution and charter of rights in the 1980s. The Court is so far left it’s out of sight, which of course suits the natural governing party, The Liberal Party of Canada. But we’re a docile lot over here, so no one seems to mind very much.

Winston Stanley

25th September 2019 at 12:21 am

British State we is going to SHOOT YOU


Winston Stanley

25th September 2019 at 12:16 am

British State, we is going to shoot you


Winston Stanley

25th September 2019 at 12:12 am

Winston Stanley

25th September 2019 at 12:07 am

English JAH shaka vs the INLA

We is the


Alex Cameron

25th September 2019 at 12:06 am

From the Financial Times, ‘The court ruling is a landmark decision for the Supreme Court, which has now laid down a marker that courts have a wider ability to take a view of political decisions made by governments.’ This alone should be enough to fill the heads of democrats with dread. Supporting this ruling, never mind celebrating it is illiberal to the core.

Brandy Cluster

25th September 2019 at 12:18 am

Absolutely correct. I would trust Brendan O’Neill’s judgment about democracy far more than these activist judges. Same here in Australia; the courts continually overturn the will of the people – especially in regard to “asylum seekers” (read ‘illegal immigrants’ but people cling on tenaciously to the Orwellian ‘asylum seekers’) and at the moment there’s a case where a Sri Lankan family is waiting on Christmas Island despite several appeals being rejected. The courts keep issuing ‘stays’, preventing them from actual removal in the hope that the Australian people will be worn down. Off to the gallows with these judges!!

A Game

25th September 2019 at 6:13 am

Just to tidy you up a bit. Every court in the land has ruled against their claim of refugee status. The final hiatus (creating the turnaround of the aeroplane they were on, bound for Sri Lanka to have to turn around and come back to Australia) is the youngest child. That is the claim (that truly, should have been dealt with when the older child’s claim was being dealt with, surely… unless the 2nd kiddy came after) that has created another delay. Whether there is vested bleeding heart interest, the system is stuck giving due process. But the courts have been ruling against this ilk consistently for a few years now.
It hinges on “best interests of the child”. Which means, staying with their parents, who will be living in Sri Lanka.
Its activists using the system against the people, against the Government. Cause, you know, there’s no UN camp nearby for them to give a shit about genuine refugees. They latch onto whatever turns up.

Robert Benson

25th September 2019 at 2:26 am

UK, welcome to the dictatorship of the Judicial Branch. Elect the Brexit Party and hope they get you out and abolish your Supreme Court as the anti democratic body it has become in the short 10 years it has existed.

Ian Bland

25th September 2019 at 12:02 am

It turns out democracy is a party that the people haven’t been invited to.

H McLean

24th September 2019 at 11:47 pm

One really has to wonder if the British public have a limit, if there is a point where they decide that this has gone too far and blockade parliament, or some other seriously grand statement of dissatisfaction. Given the degree of sneering condescension they’ve endured since the referendum I’m not sure such a point exists, really.

Britain’s problem old-fashioned class war never really went away. The battle lines were redrawn and a new version of elitist aristocracy arose, one particularly adept at eternally stamping that boot of the face of the British public. And you just keep taking it.

Dnl Rly

24th September 2019 at 11:44 pm

It wasn’t till I read the comments that I realised this was intended to be serious journalism. More like hyperventilating, hyperbole and very disappointing. It really is ok to support Boris wholeheartedly but at least give a proper honest analysis. Where is Alan Partridge when you’re looking for serious journalism

Winston Stanley

24th September 2019 at 11:41 pm

Censorship style

“I is a man in love”


Robert Afia

24th September 2019 at 11:29 pm

I would argue that the Supreme Court has only ruled on parliamentary procedure, and not on parliaments political work. Thus they are not over-ruling the sovereignty of parliament.

Ian Bland

25th September 2019 at 12:02 am

It’s an astoundingly overt political act by the judges. Hale’s explanation is astonishingly threadbare and clearly constructed to justify the action they wanted to take.

Adam Connolly

25th September 2019 at 12:02 am

And who gave the Supreme Court the power to rule on parliamentary procedure?

Ah. The Supreme Court gave themselves that power.

It should worry you when an unelected and unaccountable judiciary give themselves the right to make up news law which overrules a democratically elected government.

Kristof Roth

25th September 2019 at 3:16 am

One gets the sense you Brits don’t know what’s what with regard to the balance of power. Might I suggest a constitution?

Jerry Owen

25th September 2019 at 7:44 am

Nonsense. It has stopped a function of Parliament.. the procedure of prorogation.

michael harris

24th September 2019 at 11:13 pm

The High Court decided without dissent that the case should be avoided. The ‘Supreme’ Court ‘went there ‘and then some. Why the difference between these courts? The High Court is a court of the old system whose apex was the House of Lords. It is, unfortunately, a relic. The ‘Supreme’ Court, a creation of T. Blair is a creature of the new order and designed as a way station to the new summit, the ‘European’ Court of Justice. Hardly surprising that these justices, well trained in ‘European’ law elected to judge this case and ruled as they did.

Pedro Dias

24th September 2019 at 11:23 pm

Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution, the rest is just “talk”. Accept the ruling which is within the law, grab your hat and rabbit and try to show your magic skills somewhere else.

Adam Connolly

25th September 2019 at 12:04 am

You’ll have noticed that there’s no longer any UK constitution.

Now the rules are just whatever Bercow and the Supreme Court decide, on any given day, in line with whatever their political wishes are.

Pedro Dias

24th September 2019 at 10:51 pm

Clap clap clap 2-0

Bear Mac Mathun

24th September 2019 at 10:13 pm

This is a judicial Coup d’Etat, there is no other way to describe this. These pompous, self-righteous plum puddings have essentially appointed themselves to be superior to Parliament.

If these people had any decency whatsoever they would have refused to proceed by declaring that they do not have competency to rule in this matter.

william spring

24th September 2019 at 8:56 pm

This is a scandal. WM

william spring

24th September 2019 at 8:54 pm

This is an act of rebellion against the Sovereign and democracy itself. We are now to be ruled by Judges ans the Law Society and the likes of Gina Miller. This is an absolute disgrace. To the barricades Citizens!!! William Spring Convenor London Committee for Constitutional Order

Winston Stanley

24th September 2019 at 8:03 pm

> ‘I want an election… but not yet’: Jeremy Corbyn tells Labour faithful he WON’T back ‘no confidence’ vote in Boris Johnson until after No Deal is ruled out <

And what does the clown think that we are going to do straight after the GE? Clown.

stephen richards

24th September 2019 at 8:01 pm

The only bit I listened to “live” was when Lady Hale tried to get round the Bill of Rights 1689 (which she wrongly dated as 1688). That’s the statute that says the courts shall not question acts or proceedings in Parliament or words to that effect. She tried to say that this meant a proceeding of Parliament, and while the prorogation took place in Parliament it was not by or of Parliament. This is clearly nonsensical. And I don’t doubt but that she’s a clever lady, despite her odd taste in jewellery. The plainest language will be twisted and subverted to arrive at a predetermined outcome. The US jurist Karl Llewellyn had it right: judges start with the desired outcome and then try to work out some coherent way of getting there. Only in this case it wasn’t even half-coherent or at all honest. We have a political and legal class that will do anything, however dishonest or shameful, will overturn every constitutional convention that stands in their way, to keep us in the EU. The rot of the EU nomenklatura has eaten very deeply into all our institutions. They have all rolled over. The subverting of the constitution is obviously a small price to pay. We have potemkin politics and a potemkin British state.

Poppy Piway

24th September 2019 at 7:56 pm

Can the PM now take the labour party to court for refusing the electorate a general election? Genuinely interested in the answer as I know very little about the law.

Neil McCaughan

24th September 2019 at 7:44 pm

The Supreme Court is “unlawful, void and of no effect”.

Adam Connolly

25th September 2019 at 12:09 am

I hope the democratic system Tony Blair tried to export to Iraq with his illegal war didn’t include a Supreme Court like ours

Jim Lawrie

24th September 2019 at 7:32 pm

In the wake of the new laws from the court Corbyn has now demanded the resignation of “the unelected Prime Minister”.
Corbyn will justify replacing him without a General Election by claiming that his larger number of votes in being made leader of the Labour Party is a greater democratic mandate when compared to Boris Johnson’s. The oily John Bercow will do the anointing.

Salvatore Arancio

24th September 2019 at 7:19 pm

i have just too words for Brendan O’Neill:

intellectually dishonest.

Jim Lawrie

24th September 2019 at 7:34 pm

Your post is intellectually void.

Sasha Marchant

24th September 2019 at 10:00 pm

Go on Jim show us your intellectual credentials, including please, if you will, your knowledge of UK constitutional law. Can’t wait!

Jim Lawrie

29th September 2019 at 7:43 pm

Sasha Merchant I claimed no such expertise. The extent of my knowledge of constitutional law is a pass at degree level. One of 13 subject needed to be awarded the degree. And yours?

I find it difficult to apply myself to the reading of constitutional law because it is such a moving target. Just ask The Master of The Rolls.

Jim Lawrie

29th September 2019 at 8:00 pm

Sasha Merchant I am of the view that cases around seving Article 50, prorogation, future cases around the next extension and acceptance of a new Treaty are not about Constitutional Law sicut est,* but rather the unconstitutional creation and extension of new Constitutional Law.

* sicut est – such as it is

Jerry Owen

25th September 2019 at 7:47 am

And you also have two words that are grammatically incorrect.

Hugh Bryant

24th September 2019 at 6:56 pm

The worst insult in all this is Gina Miller’s claim that she is not trying to buy the outcome of a democratic process with money. That is truly disgusting.

Jonathan Yonge

24th September 2019 at 6:21 pm

Ultimately this is a good day for democracy.
Now all the cards are on the table, it is best that we now know how our judges behave.

I think most people will feel that their respect for ‘the law’ has vanished.
If you have to stand on your own feet , it is best to know. And we now know.

I feel cleansed.

John Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 7:55 pm

Have you read the basis for the judgement?:


I know Brendan didn’t read it – he just instantly reached for the laptop to pour out his bile, which is why his article is a lot of ignorant tosh. If you bother reading the judgement, you will find that the ruling was wholly on the basis of legal precedent – it refers to cases in the past where courts have curtailed prerogative powers. Indeed, the judgement completely exposes the weakness of the case put by the government’s lawyers.

Derek John

24th September 2019 at 9:43 pm

I think you’ll find that Charles Days analysis of the detail over at the Spectator is rather better than yours. You’re simply being naive in taking their analysis of their own judgement as gospel. Every other case involving proroguing involved pre-existing statute. In this case the court has made its own one up. And has quite specifically done so in order to aid the obstructionist parliament. Your arguments regarding the economics of Brexit are also the same tired, pessimistic unimaginative drivel that is simply not working any more. We now need to leave, and leave fast.

John Hamilton

25th September 2019 at 6:23 pm

>Every other case involving proroguing involved pre-existing statute.<

But does it follow from that every case dealing specifically with prorogation must rely on pre-existing statute? Para. 31 and 32 argue that British courts have always had the power to adjudicate the limits of prerogative powers in general, without pre-existing statute, and supplies examples (para. 32). At least that's how I read it. I know that everyone thinks now that they are an expert on the minutiae of the British constitution, but I do think the unanimous judgement of nine judges has a little more weight than a Spectator hack. Pete North's judgement on the Spectator (and the rest of the UK media) is spot on: https://peterjnorth.blogspot.com/2019/08/brexit-british-media-for-dummies.html

John Hamilton

25th September 2019 at 6:25 pm

‘nine’? I meant eleven.

Alan Burdon

29th September 2019 at 11:01 am

Judges may disagree, but history backs Boris Johnson HENRY ERGAS
Follow @HenryErgas
12:00AM SEPTEMBER 27, 2019

The legal question of whether the UK Supreme Court, in unanimously finding against the government of Boris Johnson, was correct will be debated for decades to come.

What is striking, however, is that the court, although reaching as far back in its reasoning as the 17th century, entirely ignored the history of prorogation and its evolving place in Britain’s parliamentary system.

Yet it is an undeniable fact prorogations of parliament far lengthier than that Johnson had proposed are anything but exceptional. On the contrary, long, politically motivated, prorogations were common during the heyday of parliamentary sovereignty, which stretched from the closing years of the 1700s until the consolidation of cabinet and party dominance a century later.

Far from being regarded as an assault on Britain’s institutions, as the court implies, prorogation was widely accepted as a tool for managing deeply divided parliaments, with Lord Derby, for example, proroguing parliament for six months in each of the minority governments he headed in 1859-60 and in 1866-68.

Many factors underpinned the role prorogations then played. But by far the most important was that they made it possible for Britain’s parliamentary system to cope, peacefully and successfully, with the enormous pressures it faced.

A dizzying economic and social transformation was under way.

Britain’s population trebled between 1780 and 1860 while its share of world industrial production leapt from less than 2 per cent in 1750 to a staggering almost 25 per cent in 1880.

Meanwhile, the proportion of the population living in urban areas more than doubled, with a burgeoning press highlighting the pervasive squalor of the rapidly expanding slums.

However, the chaotic parliamentary processes of the first decades of the 19th century could hardly respond to the political demands that transformation created. On the one hand, the waning of the “Old Corruption” meant the monarch was no longer able to control parliament through promises of patronage and preferment.

On the other, the weakness of the party system meant parliamentary majorities were hard to assemble and even harder to sustain, making it almost impossible for governments to implement a coherent legislative program.

And those difficulties were compounded by the fact the government had little or no control over parliamentary business, which was dominated by private members’ bills that reflected inconsistent, narrowly defined, interests.

Prorogation acted as the political circuit-breaker that allowed the system to function, giving governments time to resolve problems by having them resolve themselves or by cobbling together new majorities.

It was in that spirit that Sir Robert Peel prorogued parliament for four months in 1841, at a time when the House of Commons was in turmoil and revolution seemed to be in the air.

And, rightly or wrongly, Peel thought custom, convention and precedent were all on his side: only three years earlier Lord Melbourne, again in an attempt to ride out a storm, had suspended parliament for almost six months.

Lengthy prorogations certainly did not “prevent parliament from exercising its legislative authority for as long as (the government) pleased”, as the Supreme Court claims they would.

The key factor was parliament’s jealously guarded control over appropriations, which obliged governments to respect an annual budget cycle.

While the court cavalierly dismisses that requirement, saying it offers “scant reassurance”, its pivotal function in keeping governments accountable was obvious to observers, with Adam Smith explaining, in his masterly Lectures on Jurisprudence, that Britain’s annual budget cycle ensured that “the whole of the government must be at an end if the parliament was not regularly called”.

Echoing a long line of earlier commentators, Smith opined that it was parliament’s power of purse that — in contrast to the situation on the continent — preserved “a system of liberty in England” by compelling frequent parliamentary sessions. But, every bit as significantly, prorogations provided the breathing space for a new, more viable, set of arrangements to form and take root.

Three tightly interrelated elements defined those new arrangements, which were classically analysed by Victorian polymath Walter Bagehot in his 1867 book on The English Constitution.

Beginning in the 1820s, governments moved to monopolise the parliamentary agenda, dramatically curtailing the scope for private members’ bills and allowing cabinet to set and enforce legislative priorities.

That control greatly increased the importance both of the ministry as a whole and of individual ministers, giving the prime minister, who determined cabinet appointments, vast patronage powers that could be used to impose party discipline.

And in turn, party discipline, centred on the collective commitment to a party program, reshaped political competition, reducing parliament to a rubberstamp while making general elections fought between competing national parties the linchpin of political accountability.

The result, Bagehot wrote, was “the nearly complete fusion of the executive and legislative powers”, which he famously dubbed the “efficient secret” at the heart of the British constitution. And once that fusion was complete, the role of prorogation as a vital stabiliser withered, although it remained in the government’s toolkit.

However, the fallout from Brexit shattered that structure, eliminating cabinet’s control over parliamentary business and destroying party discipline.

As that process played itself out, the House of Commons reverted, in almost every respect, to the disarray that characterised it two centuries ago.

It was therefore entirely unsurprising that Johnson, who knows British history better than most, turned to the instrument his predecessors had so frequently relied on in similar cases — only to have that instrument snatched away.

In deciding to prohibit its use, the court paid no attention whatsoever to the precedents, although it was undoubtedly aware of their extent and significance.

Perhaps that too is unsurprising: had it acknowledged their existence it would have had to recognise that it was making law, rather than merely interpreting it.

That, it could rightly be said, is itself scarcely unprecedented. After all, the perpetual, but also perpetually undeclared, war between the courts and the executive, in which each pledges eternal allegiance to other while snapping at its heels, is as British as warm beer and as ancient as the idyll of the sceptred isle.

But it is hardly without risks. Parliament now faces a choice between degenerating into a disgrace and an election Labour and the Remainers seem desperate to avoid. And, much as one hopes an election is called, it would be foolhardy to assume that it will yield a clear-cut result.

Ultimately, like Humpty-Dumpty, the “efficient secret” has fallen off the wall and not even the Supreme Court can put it back together again, much less wish away the dilemmas that creates.

Instead, in choosing to set Britain on a long march out of history, it has worsened today’s problems and compounded tomorrow’s.

Henry Ergas AO is an economist who spent many years at the OECD in Paris before returning to Australia. He has taught at a number of universities, including Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, the Universit… Read more

Alan Burdon

29th September 2019 at 11:11 am

I have attempted to post the text of an erudite piece in The Australian by Henry Ergas, which may be moderated out.
In essence, he examines the history of proroguation and lists the many instances of it being used, often for six months or so, to overcome a chaotic parliamentiary session.
He observes that prior to around 1820 parliament was fractured and riddled with patronage and corruption. When the executive gained the upper hand the parliament evolved swiftly into the party based system we have known and which oversaw the greatest days of Britain.
The perfidy of the speaker and the self-serving actions of Remainer MPs have sent parliament back into those chaotic and corrupt days of the 1700s and a long proroguation is just the tool to deal with the impasse currently in hand.
The Supreme Court have either not understood or have chosen to ignore the many precedents to hand and have cherry picked a couple of others to suit their own preconceived bias.
This judgement is flawed and an outrage to our democracy.

Sandy Robertson

24th September 2019 at 6:21 pm

Actually, there’s one silver lining. Remainers like to say the referendum was only advisory so the result can be ignored. But the judges today said while it was technically advisory, the government promised to abide by the result and successive governments have proceeded on that basis. Be careful what you wish for, remainers, because the courts have ruled that the referendum is not advisory and must be respected. Once the proroguing spat is out of the way, Gina Miller and co will have a hard time ever again saying the referendum was advisory – or will they defy the courts?

Sasha Marchant

24th September 2019 at 10:06 pm

Dear Sandy, the court did not rule that the referendum was valid. it merely observed that notwithstanding that legally it was non-binding, successive governments have decided to give it legal effect. Try reading the judgment again.

Alessandro De Sando

25th September 2019 at 4:53 am

The judges have never said that the referendum was not advisory cos it was and therefore it was not binding. A referendum based on Leave lies, I recall when they said that they were getting an agreement in 24 hrs.

Dominic Straiton

24th September 2019 at 5:40 pm

At long last I can lend my name to the longest non science word in the English dictionary. I believe in antidisestablishmentarianism.

Dominic Straiton

24th September 2019 at 5:41 pm

Time for a longer word

William Jones

24th September 2019 at 5:39 pm

An unfortunate situation that can have unfortunate consequences!
The UK Supreme Court stated today (24th Sept. 2019) that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of the parliamentary process was unlawful; and, therefore, the PM’s action should be immediately reversed.
Laws are not an irrevocable imposition of nature, they are just an expression of whims and opinions stated by people at any particular time. In that respect, they can be modified, reversed and even abandoned in accordance with changing dispositions.
This is why laws have to be interpreted to form an “opinion” of what their original formulation intended (a lucrative arena for lawyers). It is also why laws have an aspect that fall within the scope of the time-honored adage: “Rules (laws) are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.“
Different questions directed towards an interpretation can produce different conclusions. For instance, if the Supreme Court asked the crucial “why” the PM acted the way he did, they would have needed to concluded the following:
The PM’s actions were a response to the intentions of a parliamentary group whose main inclination was to reverse the supreme democratic vote of the electorate – expressed in the decisive 2016 referendum that resulted in a majority decision to leave the EU. Therefore, the PM’s actions was directed towards honoring the result of the referendum by whatever means were forced upon him. He recognized that the action of the parliamentary group contained the implicit and sometimes explicit attitude that the people’s wish could (if the parliamentary group so decided) be overturned as being not in accordance with the parliamentary group’s considerations. In other words: the parliamentary body was the sovereign entity and not the people – as their actions implied.
So, the Supreme court, in not asking the right question, has sanctioned the actions of the undemocratic parliamentary body – and – in doing so – have become part of a now established Parliamentary Dictatorship.

Ramsay macdonald

24th September 2019 at 5:23 pm

Not much to add really. All been said. Politics as we knew it is basically dead.

What we have now is a political class consisting of an amalgam of a centre-left and centre-right ideological blob to be found in the political parties, HOC, Judiciary, media. They defer to an anti-sovereignist, cosmopolitan, uber-liberal worldview with a profound distrust, often amounting to a violent hatred of the sans culottes. This venomous bile is palpable.

Please tell me why has there been any dispute over the outcome of the Brexit referendum. It was all done properly with no hanky-panky at the polling booths or any other legal shortcomings. But now the outcome is being disputed. Why? We have now reached the stage where outcomes of elections/referenda are now merely provisional. They may now be contested. But, hey, I wonder if the remainers win a subsequent reversal of Brexit that will be contestable. No way!

Just remember next time you vote it can be annulled by the powers that be who regard it as being, invalid. Your vote won’t count.

All of which reduces, free and fair ballots, universal suffrage, and democracy to a sham, a farce. Still feel like voting?

I get the feeling we’re back in 1641

Tinfoil Hat

24th September 2019 at 5:18 pm

I now feel I need legal confirmation as to who controls our armed forces.
Much of the law that was used to reach the Supreme Court’s decision was made before we were a democracy. Now that’s a shame.

Puddy Cat

24th September 2019 at 4:58 pm

Pyrrhic victory. The Brussels Parliament will be plagued by Brexit wielding MPs and our own Parliament will be repossessed by the people at the next election. It is all quite fascinating and much needed. Britain has become a feather bed of intellectual thought where the romancers hold sway. The desire to win votes has led to too many concessions to activism and is an inevitable outcome of too much politics and not enough government. Already we see the Labour Party strewing give-away’s in front of an electorate that they, on the other hand, deny the vote to. in a ridiculous display of what must now be regarded as old style politics; still trying to own the working class and to entice them with illusory promises.

A fascinating time in our history made all the more interesting by the stance taken by the judiciary. It was once the case that they enacted statutes handed to them by Parliament. They now seem to have aggrandised themselves and set themselves up as a competing legislation. This judgement is just for now. The reckoning will come later. It’s a bit like Round-heads and Cavaliers. Those for Parliament and those for the elites. A defining time which we must take advantage of for the good of the country as a whole.

Jane 70

24th September 2019 at 5:10 pm

To quote Cromwell:

“you have been sat to long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, i say, and let us have done with you. In the name of god, go!.”

John Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 5:30 pm

Yes, and that bit of our history went well, didn’t it? Whenever the head of the executive pitches himself as the Voice of the People against the people’s own elected representatives, we know we’re in trouble!

Chris Peacock

25th September 2019 at 7:07 am

They can only hide for so long. Whatever happens, nothing is going to be the same again. Once again Britain stands to create history, no, I am not some nostalgic asshole, but I do have faith in the everyday man of Britain, and their sense of right and wrong. We are seeing a concerted effort by parliament to push through remain, the irony of this ruling is that parliament is deliberately removing power from the people, and ‘we’ the people have no power to do anything about it ( we can’t take them to court), if that isn’t a beautiful irony I don’t know what is. All we can do is wait and wait, eventually, they will have to show themselves and then, then we will have our revenge. Is this Shakespeare or what?
On a less dramatic note:
1. How is Gina Miller able to get her cases heard so quickly?
2. The reason this is unprecedented is that NO ONE takes parliament to court, it is accepted that ‘battle’ must be done in the HoC
3. Why aren’t judges alarmed by the fact that ‘money’ talks, and that those with money get heard and the rest of us, well tough poop, these are wealthy people interfering with politics, this for me is unacceptable, for eg, Jon Bercow has clearly broken rules, could I file a case? I don’t have any money, plus would the courts even accept the case? No, they wouldn’t because politics and the judiciary are separate. All of this stinks.

Richard Lutz

24th September 2019 at 4:57 pm

It is clear to me that a ‘British Spring’ is required to renew democracy in the UK, whereby a formal constitution is introduced which can be amended by binding citizen initiated referendums as in Switzerland so the People can have the final say in all matters. This should of course be done peacefully and legally, and would ideally involve general strikes and mass protests as was the case during the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in 1989.

Ray Cendon

24th September 2019 at 4:56 pm

They do know they’re almost daring the British public to revolution and a hot civil war?

Winston Stanley

24th September 2019 at 4:17 pm

We could still elect a Brexit government and have Brexit whatever happens during this parliament. If parliament says Remain then we elect another and say Leave. The platform should then be to simply leave 9 am the next morning with no discussions or agreements with EU whatsoever – which is what we should have done in the first place. TP needs to make an election pact with the Brexit Party and to get the job done. If TP refuses to stand on that platform then we all vote BP.

The entire three years since the referendum have been one long drawn out drama by the state, HOC, HOL, BBC, CBI, BCC, B of E, courts etc. to overthrow the Brexit result and the verdict of the demos. EU designed its WA process that way and for that purpose. That lesson has been learnt and next time, we just leave. The same goes for any other country that wants to leave the EU, you just leave, you do not make any withdrawal agreement with the EU.

This Remainer parliament is illegitimate and any future parliament would be illegitimate until Brexit is enacted. The state has no pretence of democratic legitimacy until Brexit is enacted. We have no parliament and we will not have one until Brexit is enacted. UK is no longer a democracy until democracy has been done.

John Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 6:17 pm

Oh right, so Parliament is ‘illegitimate’ until it delivers your preferred Brexit outcome, after which it magically becomes legitimate again. Interesting theory.

Hugh Bryant

24th September 2019 at 6:59 pm

This Parliament is illegitimate because most of the people in it are pursuing policies that are in outright opposition to those laid out in the manifestos upon which they were elected. Let’s not even talk about those who are now acting on behalf of parties that their constituents have actively rejected.

Jerry Owen

24th September 2019 at 7:37 pm

J Hamilton
..’ preferred Brexit out come’ . What a hilariously stupid phrase.

John Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 7:43 pm

>This Parliament is illegitimate because most of the people in it are pursuing policies that are in outright opposition to those laid out in the manifestos upon which they were elected. Let’s not even talk about those who are now acting on behalf of parties that their constituents have actively rejected.<

On the first point, although MPs are expected to agree in general with the Party manifesto, they can, if they so please, communicate their individual views through campaign literature, including areas where they may not agree 100% with the official line. I don't know what percentage of MPs dissent from some aspect of their 2017 manifesto, or what percentage of these did in fact use campaign material to make clear where they themselves stood on a particular issue. Nor is it necessarily wrong for an MP to change his mind – it is then incumbent on him to explain his change of mind at the next election, and for his constituents to decide whether they agree.

On the second point, we don't elect parties to represent us, we elect individuals. No doubt those who have left their parties will maintain that they haven't changed their stance at all, but that their party has. Again, it is up to their constituents to decide the issue at a subsequent election. And the rebel Tory MPs didn't even leave their parties – they were kicked out precisely for standing up for what they have always believed in and consistently voted for.

Carlo Guli

25th September 2019 at 12:30 am

You and me, we have the right to change our minds as much as we like as we represent ourseleves. MPs too can change their minds of course, it is usually a sign of mental honesty and intelligence. However, they represent you and me in Parliament not themselves, so if they change their mind they should come back to their electors in a by-election, now, not at the next GE. If they don’t they sit there illegitimately in my view and whatever law gets passed with their votes is null and void and the so called Benn act is one of them.

John Hamilton

25th September 2019 at 2:44 pm

>However, they represent you and me in Parliament not themselves, so if they change their mind they should come back to their electors in a by-election, now, not at the next GE. If they don’t they sit there illegitimately in my view and whatever law gets passed with their votes is null and void and the so called Benn act is one of them.<

This assumes that MPs are simply mandated delegates, which is not true in our constitution. As it stands, they represent the interests of their constituents, but are not bound to agree with their constituents' opinions. Their constituents have the right to throw them out every five years. You may prefer a system of mandated delegates, which is fair enough, but it isn't what we have now.

Jamie Spary

24th September 2019 at 4:08 pm

Emperor Juncker and darth Verhofstadt have almost won the war. They were never going to let us leave. Maybe Remainers can pay a higher tax rate to pay for the 39 billion gbp?

John Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 5:39 pm

>Emperor Juncker and darth Verhofstadt have almost won the war. They were never going to let us leave.<

They agreed a Withdrawal Agreement with the UK government. It was an alliance of Remainers and the ERG group in Parliament that sabotaged it, not the EU. It is up to the UK to decide what it wants – to leave with a deal or to walk away without one. I believe that a no deal should not be foisted on the people without the agreement of their elected representatives in the Commons, but that's just my opinion. In any case, I don't see how the EU has somehow prevented us from leaving. In fact, I imagine they're jolly sick of us by now.

Jamie Spary

25th September 2019 at 12:29 pm

Elected representatives, are you Kidding me? 400 remainers to 200 Brexiteers (approx.) is not a 48:52 ratio.

John Hamilton

25th September 2019 at 2:40 pm

>Elected representatives, are you Kidding me? 400 remainers to 200 Brexiteers (approx.) is not a 48:52 ratio.<

But they are still elected. (Our MPs are not mandated delegates, by the way – they represent the interests of their constituents; they are not bound to reflect their constituents' opinions.) Actually, you're making the point for me, that it is the UK that has prevented Brexit from being enacted, not the EU.

Jane 70

24th September 2019 at 4:07 pm

Guy Verhofstadt
At least one big relief in the Brexit saga: the rule of law in the UK is alive & kicking. Parliaments should never be silenced in a real democracy.

I never want to hear Boris Johnson or any other Brexiteer say again that the European Union is undemocratic.

Verhofstadt has spoken and given us his thoughts on a real democracy!

James Knight

24th September 2019 at 6:03 pm

All that is proven is that the UK is undemocratic as MPs want or permanently prorogue parliament by staying in the EU. It is Brexiters who want sovereignty returned to parliament.

The fact the judges are also on the side of permanently proroguing parliament is hardly surprising.

Bob Builder

24th September 2019 at 3:57 pm

Sorry Brendan but you haven’t thought this one through.

Let’s leave aside the possibility of the Supreme Court probably knowing more about British Rule Of Law than you, or that suspending Parliament unlawfully is inherently undemocratic for a second…

The SC ruling Johnson’s proroguing of Parliament as unlawful is based on the fact that Johnson claimed that he was doing so to bring an overly long Parliamentary session to an end and allowing for a Queen’s Speech to open a new one. These are perfectly lawful, legal reasons to prorogue Parliament. What is not lawful is proroguing Parliament for political reasons – ie to stifle debate and oversight to pursue an agenda and achieve political ends.

The SC would be wrong in it’s ruling if they had found that Johnson had *not* done the latter ie prorogued Parliament to achieve his Brexit. But you are complaining that they have overturned the prorogation in order to frustrate ‘the will of the people’, or to put it another way, to prevent Brexit.

But you can only protest that if Johnson *did* prorogue Parliament to do that. And if he did, then he his guilty of acting unlawfully.

You can’t have it both ways. If Johnson only prorogued Parliament to have a Queen’s Speech then there’s a case to be outraged about. If he did it to further Brexit, and so overturning it thwarts Brexit (which it doesn’t) then the SC has a locktight case.

Not only that, but it means Boris lied to the Queen.

So you have a problem Brendan. You are confirming that Johnson used the prorogation as a political weapon to get Brexit. That’s unlawful. You have no case.

You should really have thought it through before tossing off another diatribe.

Amanda Rubenstein

24th September 2019 at 5:00 pm

“What is not lawful is proroguing Parliament for political reasons – ie to stifle debate and oversight to pursue an agenda and achieve political ends.”

Can you show us the evidence for your claim that proroguing Parliament for political reasons is unlawful?

“But you can only protest that if Johnson *did* prorogue Parliament to do that. And if he did, then he his guilty of acting unlawfully.”

Can you show us the evidence for your claim that proroguing Parliament for political reasons is unlawful?

“If he did it to further Brexit, and so overturning it thwarts Brexit (which it doesn’t) then the SC has a locktight case.”

Can you show us the evidence for your claim that proroguing Parliament for political reasons is unlawful?

“Not only that, but it means Boris lied to the Queen.”

Can you show us in the judgement where they claimed he lied to the Queen?

“So you have a problem Brendan. You are confirming that Johnson used the prorogation as a political weapon to get Brexit. That’s unlawful. You have no case.”

Can you show us the evidence for your claim that proroguing Parliament for political reasons is unlawful?

“You should really have thought it through before tossing off another diatribe.”

Take your time so you’re not guilty of something you claim of others.
Thanks in advance x

Jerry Owen

24th September 2019 at 10:29 pm

What a perfect response !

Jane 70

24th September 2019 at 3:53 pm

Copied from another thread today: Gina Miller appears now to be governing the UK by proxy.

This amounts to parliament in open opposition to the Leave supporting electorate.

The panjandrums in Brussels must be overjoyed.

And I’d still like to know how Major could justify his role in this affair, since his own prorogation was apparently not a matter for the courts to decide.

Markk Phillips

25th September 2019 at 7:44 am

John Major can claim it wasn’t for the courts to decide, because back then there wasn’t a Supreme Court with the powers it has now. The supreme court was a Blair project created after Major’s government. Had there been a supreme court back then I assume anyone with enough money would have been able to mount a challenge.

Geoff Cox

24th September 2019 at 3:44 pm

How about Gina Miller take someone to court for the thoroughly undemocratic nature of Parliament at the moment? Members changing parties without seeking a new mandate from their electorate, MPs ignoring their manifestos and all the “opposition” now refusing us a general election.

Jane 70

24th September 2019 at 4:14 pm

How about a legal challenge to the Fixed Term Parliament act? We are in limbo with no prospect of a GE,.

Dominic Straiton

24th September 2019 at 4:20 pm

How about Bercow being Damnatio memoriae

Jane 70

24th September 2019 at 5:06 pm

To Dominic Straiton: I can think of a few more to add to damnatio memoriae.
As to Bercow, he thinks he is primus inter pares.
Inclinata res est.

Rap scallion

24th September 2019 at 3:28 pm

This decision is going to backfire very badly. If the SC can overturn any government decisions then there is no point at all in having a parliament, and in that case the electorate, sorry, ex-electorate are now unrepresented. In that case “No taxation without representation” must be the cry.

Their ruling inter alia also states that if the PM lied then the Queen accepted the lie (which makes her an accessory) OR she did not know what she was approving.

We are in very dangerous territory indeed.

Jonathan Hetherington

24th September 2019 at 3:05 pm

Well said

a watson

24th September 2019 at 3:05 pm

An arrogant and exclusive self-perpetuating elite with a cynical contempt for democracy and fear of a free media. Attributes of all deeply hypocritical dictatorships.

Ray Cendon

24th September 2019 at 4:58 pm

The future is Bercow and his ilk forever laughing in our faces.

Neil McCaughan

24th September 2019 at 2:51 pm

Britain is now officially a pornocracy.

John Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 2:50 pm

What a lot of predictable authoritarian nonsense from Brendan.

>This instantly weakens any future government’s claim to moral and political authority and their basic ability to relate to parliament, to negotiate treaties, and to act on the will of the people.<

Exactly, because we do not elect 'the government' in this country – it is the Commons that is elected, and the government is responsible to it, so the government can never override the People's elected representatives by claiming to be 'the will of the people'.

No one voted for no deal and no one knows how many people would vote for no deal if this specific option were put to the people. Brendan's claim to speak for 'the will of the people', like Johnson's, is completely bogus, and represents a slide into authoritarianism.

Jerry Owen

24th September 2019 at 4:09 pm

The commons are elected by the people, the government is made up of the elected commons, thus the people elect the government and the government is answerable to the commons if the majority of the commons lose confidence in the government.
BTW you say ‘no one voted for no deal’.. do you ever tire of sounding like a parrot ?
We were told repeatedly for months what ‘no deal’ was, and we voted in our millions for it.
You lost , move on.

John Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 5:23 pm

>do you ever tire of sounding like a parrot ?We were told repeatedly for months what ‘no deal’ was, and we voted in our millions for it.<

Strange, I don't recall 'Leave Without a Deal' being on the ballot paper. And the Leave campaign maintained that a free trade agreement with the EU would be the easiest trade deal ever. Turns out they were either woefully ignorant or telling porkies.

Sorry, but I find I am unable to embrace the cognitive dissonance involved in saying that we should leave the EU to give back control to the British Parliament and British courts – and then attacking those very institutions.

John Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 5:25 pm

>do you ever tire of sounding like a parrot ?<

In other words, you can't think of a logical rebuttal to my argument.

Dominic Straiton

24th September 2019 at 4:17 pm

“no deal” is just a code invented like “soft Brexit” to stop Brexit. Leaving is just leaving all of the eu.

John Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 5:26 pm

Which shows that you don’t remotely understand the issues.

Eric Praline

24th September 2019 at 6:10 pm

@John Hamilton – would you care to enlighten us then? Currently leaving without a deal is the only option on the table actually involving leaving.

John Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 6:35 pm

>@John Hamilton – would you care to enlighten us then? Currently leaving without a deal is the only option on the table actually involving leaving.<

On the first point, experience has shown that trying to 'enlighten' Brexit fanatics who can't be bothered to find out about the issues themselves is pretty pointless. I'd rather entertain my cat, who doesn't spout ignorant tosh but just meiows occasionally.

On the second point, I admit the impasse, but have just a tiny hope that the Withdrawal Agreement might be passed (clutching at straws, I know). Failing that, though, there is still no mandate for a no deal Brexit. It's my least preferred option.

Here's how I see it: the country is terribly split down the middle with high passions on both sides. In such a situation, the only sane approach is a compromise, i.e. the Norway option. Unfortunately, both sides dug in their heals and insisted on getting 100% of what they wanted. As a result this issue will not go away for years, probably decades. If the UK leaves, half the country will want to apply to rejoin at the earliest opportunity. If Article 50 is revoked, a considerable portion of the country will feel angry and betrayed, and will only vote for hard Brexit parties. Neither side is looking at the long term damage that their fanaticism is going to cause this country. I can't see any hope at all. But a no deal Brexit will cause long term economic damage that will ultimately leave people feeling even more angry and betrayed than not leaving at all. And then what will politics be like? Given the ease with which intelligent people like Brendan trash the judiciary, Parliament, the constitution and the rule of law, I think things can only get very much worse.

Neil McCaughan

24th September 2019 at 2:43 pm

I don’t recall voting for any of these preening buffoons. The only option now is for all of these incompetent and biased clowns to be dismissed fro the judiciary. My patience with the corruption of the EU and its friends is at an end.

John Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 6:49 pm

>I don’t recall voting for any of these preening buffoons.<

And I don't recall the preening buffon who is our current PM being elected either (except by the 0.36% of the electorate who constitute the Tory Party membership).

Judges aren't elected. In this case, they acted to prevent an overmighty executive using prerogative powers to stymie our elected representatives.

Jerry Owen

24th September 2019 at 7:34 pm

J Hamilton
The country is split because whingers like you refuse to accept a democratic vote which you lost.
Leave means leave .. not part in part out .. you know that but cannot admit it as you have to cling on to something to justify your constant whining.

Neil McCaughan

24th September 2019 at 7:46 pm

If all you can do is regurgitate remaintard lies, perhaps you could do it elsewhere. You’re adding nothing to the conversation here.

John Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 9:34 pm

>The country is split because whingers like you refuse to accept a democratic vote which you lost.<

I accept the vote, and wanted Parliament to pass the Withdrawal Agreement, so that the UK leaves the EU in an orderly way, as was promised by the Leave campaign. The Norway option would have respected the result 100%, since the only thing that was voted on was whether Britain should leave the EU, not the nature of the post-Brexit relationship. 'Leave means Leave' is a slogan, not an argument.

John Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 9:35 pm

>If all you can do is regurgitate remaintard lies, perhaps you could do it elsewhere. You’re adding nothing to the conversation here.<

I'm exercising the same right to freedom of speech on this site as you are exercising. Sorry if this offends you.

Jerry Owen

25th September 2019 at 11:19 am

John Hamilton
You accept the result .. yet you freely admitted you went to a remain rally !
Pull the other one, at least try and be honest about your hypocrisy.

John Hamilton

25th September 2019 at 2:47 pm

>You accept the result .. yet you freely admitted you went to a remain rally !<

Eh??!!! Where did I say that???? I have never attended any 'remain rally'!!! Now you're just making stuff up!

Outrajious Citron

24th September 2019 at 2:37 pm

The Crones of Court have silenced all future discourse..

Steve James

24th September 2019 at 2:37 pm

We are in a new era of politics in the UK. Not only do we need to overhaul parliament and the house of lords, we now also need to overhaul the supreme court.

Neil McCaughan

24th September 2019 at 2:49 pm

We can abolish the Lords. The judges must be brought to heel – no more interference in politics, no more judicial review, no more “activism”, no more judge-made law. And extend the jury principle to more courts.

John Millson

24th September 2019 at 2:23 pm

‘Ignore the utterly unconvincing pleas of the Remainer fanatics who brought this case, all of whom robotically insist that this is not a political decision, just a legal, constitutional one. No one is buying that’.
Indeed. Or, ‘Ignore the utterly unconvincing pleas of the… [government], all of whom robotically insist that this is not a political decision, just a legal, constitutional one. No one is buying that.’

An overreaction to a profoundly undemocratic act by the PM. Moot maybe? Ultimately we must respect our laws and uncodified constitution

For sure, were it another issue we could expect sp!ked to be out on the streets protesting against such a prorogation, couldn’t we?

Stephen J

24th September 2019 at 2:12 pm

I wonder if Doris could appeal to the ECJ?

Geoff Cox

24th September 2019 at 2:12 pm

A remain dominated parliament gets another leg up.

We now have a Parliament that has seized power from the elected Government. They have done it without any mandate from the people and are using their power in direct opposition to an actual mandate from the people ie the referendum.

Moreover, the parliamentary majority is made up of MPs who have crossed the floor and now stand for different parties in direct opposition to how their constituents voted and many others who have been elected on manifestos that they had no intention of abiding by.

I never thought parliament could sink so low.

Chris Peacock

24th September 2019 at 1:53 pm

Can someone who knows about how these things work explain to me ‘How these anti-Brexiters’ get their cases heard so quickly? I am curious, If I. a poor pleb was to file a ‘whatever’ against the government or Gina Miller, what chances would I have of getting it heard by the supreme court (assuming I got as far as having an initial hearing and then appealing to the supreme court) it was my understanding that they only pick a certain number of cases a year, and getting to the supreme court is like gold dust?

Noggin The nog

24th September 2019 at 3:48 pm

Excellent point! I would also add the question “who precisely is funding Miller”? She is a failed law student from North East London Poly (not Yale or Oxford) who finally completed a PR degree. Any thoughts on who the funders actually are….a prize should be offered for the first correct answer. Follow the money.

Jane 70

24th September 2019 at 4:08 pm


Chris Peacock

24th September 2019 at 5:00 pm

I don’t know, I wish we democrats/Brexiters were more organised, what I predict now is that somehow parliament will pass legislation to conduct a second referendum BEFORE a general election, and because the HoC is pro leave the question on the ballot will be deliberately set in favour of remain ( most likely the options will be ‘Leave on this crappy deal vs Remain (revoke art 50) my personal opinion is that you should not be allowed to have ‘remain’ on the ballot, that part of the debate has already been settled. So the question should be ‘crappy deal vs No deal. Of course. Parliament will not allow that.
I wish we could organise and prepare for this, ie have funding in place take to court the government (of national unity as I assume that maybe where we are heading ) I cannot see how it is lawful to hold a second referendum BEFORE they have implemented the first one, because as we know, the first referendum was phrased as being a once in a lifetime vote, and one that will be honoured, nowhere did it have any other provisos.

Dominic Straiton

24th September 2019 at 3:49 pm

It took months for the case that Britain had actually left the eu on march 29th. The courts and Judges are simply the establishment that refuse point blank to leave the eu.

Claire D

24th September 2019 at 1:53 pm

I am not so sure. I think this ruling can and should be separated from Brexit, to some extent at least. Considering our country’s situation which is divided, contentious, politically blocked and muddled, perhaps in the long term it will have been a good thing to have had our democracy and constitution tested in this way. When Brexit happens, and all democrats should hope that it does because that was the result of the referendum, then better that it should come about under a constitution which has been challenged (by both Boris Johnson and Gina Miller), has been victorious, and therefore strengthened.
If Johnson’s bold move had been successful and he had got away with it, our constitution would have been weakened and there might have been much more serious trouble over Brexit further down the line.

Legal Linux

24th September 2019 at 1:50 pm

Talleyrand summed it all up ‘It was worse than a crime it was a mistake’ The sad fact is that porogation was a stupid decision which the Government didn’t need to make It was obviously going to be challenged and 5 weeks was impossible to justify I can understand and sympathise with why the Government decided to porogue but it has created a predictable and unnecessary problem

Jim Lawrie

24th September 2019 at 2:25 pm

It has brought legal problems to the fore. Principally, who rules?

Prorogation, or no government, was the choice The Cabinet faced.

Do you think if Conservatives started to resign that John Bercow would authorise byelections? If not, would the courts authorise them, or agree with him to block them, in the interest of a functioning democracy?

Dominic Straiton

24th September 2019 at 1:42 pm

This “court” set up by Blair is an affront to the British constitution which is now in ruin. The Civil war of 1642 started with less. The fight for freedom always ends in an actual fight.

James E Shaw

24th September 2019 at 1:31 pm

Brendan O’Neill is having a tantrum. Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice!

Eric Blair

24th September 2019 at 1:22 pm

Calm yourself. The judiciary has done its job and found the actions of the Executive were unlawful. It says absolutely nothing about Brexit. Any other interpretation is demonstrably false.

Michael Lynch

24th September 2019 at 1:54 pm

Oh, yes? Pull the other one, mate. This is ALL about Brexit. The Political motives of the appellants was obvious. The fact that these motives weren’t even taken into consideration renders the judgement null and void. The electorate has been had over and have now been totally locked out of the democratic process. Welcome to the New Order.

Sasha Marchant

24th September 2019 at 3:32 pm

If it is indeed all about Brexit, then why did Boris argue that prorogation had nothing to do with Brexit? Our laws are quite clear, parliament is sovereign, no amount of huffing and puffing will change that.

Jerry Owen

24th September 2019 at 4:16 pm

S Marchant
Boris said prorogation wasn’t about Brexit. maybe maybe not. The salient point here is that the remainers made the prorogation about Brexit and challenged it on that principle.

Eric Blair

25th September 2019 at 10:52 am

I agree the apellants were pro-Remain, but the judgement itself was about the illegality or otherwise of the prorogation. The Supreme Court justices are not going to risk their reputations and/or the impartiality of the Court by a judgement that runs counter to the strictly legal. All this spluttering about a judicial coup is demonstarably rubbish from a logical standpoint. But there has been very little logic in this debate for many months.

michelle thomas

24th September 2019 at 2:01 pm

Laughable! You say its not about Brexit but it is exactly about stopping Brexit. You must be naïve to think otherwise. Obviously 3 years was not enough to overturn the EUref result.

Jim Lawrie

24th September 2019 at 2:14 pm

Demonstrate it then.

Neil McCaughan

24th September 2019 at 3:33 pm

The judiciary has interfered in the business of government on the basis of no law, and merely because it is biased. If that’s its job, God help us.

Jim Lawrie

24th September 2019 at 1:17 pm

” all insisted that this was a simple, non-political defence of parliamentary sovereignty against an overreaching executive. Do they really think we’re that stupid?” The online victory celebrations are entirely about deposing The Tories, Boris and Brexit, giving the lie to their intentions.

James Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 1:14 pm

“It’s bad for law because it will convince many more people that the law has become a political instrument, wielded by the wealthy to achieve openly political ends that they failed to achieve in the public, democratic sphere.”

This is the only part of this article that I agree with. The supreme court did not overstep its power, in fact they were very clear to describe the limits of their power and to explain the legal precedents which allowed them to decree that the prorogation was justiciable and illegal (see https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2019-0192-judgment.pdf) . In fact it can be very coherently argued that they protected the right of to parliament to hold the government to account (the government is accountable to parliament, the parliament is accountable to us).

This narrative of bad remainers vs good leavers is played out and it is quite irresponsible to presume that a court that decided against you falls into one camp or the other.

cliff resnick

24th September 2019 at 1:29 pm

so parliament is not sovereign the Supreme court is, because the supreme court has just said so.

Andrew Mawdsley

24th September 2019 at 2:58 pm

James. The issue isn’t whether or not the unelected judges were acting with or without precedent. The issue is that, once again the will of 17.4 million people is being overridden.
As well as this being the case, parliament is holding the people in abeyance by not granting the ruling party a general election.
Regardless of your thoughts towards the judiciary and the rights or wrongs of their arguments. Surely you can see that this is bad for democracy.

cliff resnick

24th September 2019 at 1:01 pm

Still the unintended consequences could well be a Brexit Party government.

James Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 1:15 pm

Yes, I think this is true. Remainers may rest on their laurels whilst leavers become more frustrated and energised.

Michael Lynch

24th September 2019 at 1:57 pm

Wouldn’t be so sure. If the BP won in the next GE then Miller would be straight into the Court to make that result null and void. She’d probably win too given today’s debacle.

Jim Lawrie

24th September 2019 at 1:43 pm

That will mean overcoming the argument that a vote for The Brexit Party is a wasted vote, or it is “a vote for ____ ” – fill in the blanks.
The three main parties still command 75% of the vote as in 2015, albeit more fragmented. The Brexit Party has more of the vote in the polls, than did UKIP in 2015. So the chances of seats are higher.
Boris Johnson has to immediately sort out his party and run the rule over all MP’s and candidates before he can consider a pact with The Brexit Party.

a watson

24th September 2019 at 3:21 pm

Perhaps you have highlighted the problem. The two major parties have commanded the overwhelming vote in past elections. Are these parties democratic? Do they really represent their constituents or a small elite that control the local party? The real fear is of a new more representative party. That is the sub plot – fear of the BP or any other party that can command the votes of the many of us who feel utterly unrepresented in parliament. The major parties no longer represent the majority of the British people.

Jim Lawrie

25th September 2019 at 10:07 am

A Watson I totally agree.

Boris is adamant that he will not cooperate with the Brexit Party but will be the first to claim their votes as support for his policies. More so if Conservatives vote tactically in constituencies where they have little chance of winning.

a watson

25th September 2019 at 7:45 pm

Thanks Jim. The last place to find any meaningful or informative political debate or discussion of local issues is in a local political meeting organised by one of the major parties. Especially if you are a concerned and vocal taxpayer. Any dissent is definitely frowned upon or worse. This is especially true in the wealthy Labour run councils in London. Alan.

Jim Lawrie

24th September 2019 at 12:59 pm

The Bill of Rights is now The Bill of the Rich (Bitch).

There are demands for Boris to resign, but these people do not stop to ask “Resign what?” and then “What next?”

If he does not resign, they will have to turn to the courts again to make him sign the letter.

Perhaps he could resign his seat only.

cliff resnick

24th September 2019 at 12:59 pm

I guess we have a democracy a bit like Iran’s, only our supreme leader and soveriegn is the unelected, Supreme Court, or am I missing something here?

Eric Blair

24th September 2019 at 1:23 pm


cliff resnick

24th September 2019 at 2:01 pm

yes, to both questions is that possible?

John Reic

24th September 2019 at 12:24 pm

Frank Field Ian Austin Kelvin Hopkins should all turn their backs in the speaker the way the Brexit party did when they were sworn in at the EU parliament when it comes back

Warren Alexander

24th September 2019 at 12:21 pm

I mentioned in a previous post that a number of remainers I have spoken to are quite open in their dislike of democracy (as well as the notion of a nation state and national sovereignty) so arguing that this judgement is an assault on democracy is of no importance to them. What can ordinary people do in the face of such an assault on what we thought were our democratic rights? There might be mass disobedience on the streets where vast numbers of people will walk along tutting loudly.

Bronk’s Funeral

24th September 2019 at 12:20 pm

Did it really take you an hour to crank this one out, Brandon? Brad, really, you must do better. Hooting about how this is only happening because of a wealthy woman being able to take action is so close to being almost a valid point, Brent. It’s almost as if you’re nearly self-aware!

I mean, you lost, but I’m sure you’ll get over it <3

Michael Lynch

24th September 2019 at 12:18 pm

Brexit is dead. There will be no GE now and the Remain Parliament will revoke article 50 over the next few months. Bercow has now become a Cromwell figure getting orders from Brussels. He will direct policy and debate and any MPs who resign will be replaced from within; the Public won’t even get a say on who they want to represent them. Miller has managed to buy her votes and has made a mockery of Parliamentary Sovereignty in the process. I hope they enjoy their just rewards, simply because there will be no end of future litigation by rich elites if they don’t agree with future policy or law. The will of the people is now dead as a concept in Europe. How sad for our forebears who had to die in order to hand back European democracy 75 years ago.

James Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 1:17 pm

I wouldn’t be so sure. The court was very careful to point out that this was an extraordinary and specific set of circumstances (and they also point out what those circumstances are) so I don’t think it’s going to be useful to people who want to use the court for other political considerations.

Michael Lynch

24th September 2019 at 1:49 pm

Get away with you! Lady Hale used dangerous comparisons in her delivery. Boris acted like King Charles the First according to her! Look what happened the next in that situation; we had a bloody civil war followed by the beheading of the King. All finished off by Cromwell as dictator!
The people have been beheaded today; it is they who should have asked to judge who is right or wrong here not the courts. Do you really want to live under the dictatorship of an elite cabal? Leave or Remain, no one has won today, you have been silenced and it’s as simple as that.

Sam Matthews

24th September 2019 at 3:22 pm

Oh, give over! The next time it will once again be “an extraordinary and specific set of circumstances”, and the next time, and the next…
The mere fact that the Supreme Court has chosen to determine this case means that they will accept and determine similar cases in future and concoct their justifications for doing so at the time.
You have to be staggeringly disingenuous to pretend that this decision will not have lasting ramifications, resulting in governments being challenged and overruled in parliamentary and executive matters regularly in future, with the definition of “extraordinary and specific” circumstances becoming more vague and watered down with each ruling.
But you won’t care, as long as decisions are going your way.

Adam Connolly

25th September 2019 at 12:23 am

You actually believe that now they’ve given themselves the power to interfere in the political process they’ll never use it again?

Roger Ramjet

24th September 2019 at 12:17 pm

All of which translates as “I don’t like the judgement”. Where is the evidence that this is a corrupt decision? You have none other than your own seething rage.

Melissa Jackson

24th September 2019 at 12:57 pm

That is not how the law works.

If proroguing was illegal, show me the law.

The legal basis in the judgement is that proroguing prevented MPs holding the government to account, and this makes it invalid. But proroguing always has this effect. Always. It has done every time for centuries. You cannot prorogue, or end a session, without that effect. And as this effect has been ruled illegal, this makes every queens speech illegal.

This ruling also destroys the precedent that political decisions cannot be overruled by the courts. It is hard to find a more political decision! And yet the court has decided that they do have the authority, shocking no-one.

This places the courts above the law makers, and indeed above the government and the crown.

It’s this that makes this decision so concerning. It does not heed to the existing constitution, nor does it hark back to previous cases and precedent. It is new law, made by unelected judges on the basis of their whims.

This ruling is, in effect, that Brexit justifies the court in making whatever decision that it wishes, without the need to discuss the law or even the arguments.

In the case the government’s lawyer argued that previous proroguings have been made politically. The chief judge smugly asserted that one case was to “support democracy” whereas this case was not.

This was the judge. During the case. She said, in so many words “Brexit is not democratic”. And no-one seems to care about that utter lack of neutrality. She questioned the government on the basis that they were effectively illegitimate, as was Brexit.

And you think this is just sour grapes from leavers?

James Hamilton

24th September 2019 at 1:10 pm

I disagree. If you read the full judgement, you will see that the court refers to relevant precedent in law and carefully defines the limits of its own power in this regard. It is only allowed to rule upon whether or not a royal prerogative power undermines the constitutional principal which is exists to uphold, and on this point it was able to point to ample evidence that the government had exceeded this limit. Specifically, the process that prorogation supports – the creation of a new queen’s speech – only requires 2-3 days of work.

They noted that the prorogation only served to reduce the actual time the commons would have been open, due to conference season, by about a week, but noted that this would normally have been handled by the commons going into recess which has a quite different nature.

Jim Lawrie

24th September 2019 at 1:48 pm

James Hamilton you make not a single point. Are you aware of how paltry is your reply to Melissa Jackson? You rebutted nothing of what she said.

BTW Melissa top post.

Melissa Jackson

24th September 2019 at 2:35 pm

Mr Hamilton – Don’t you find it somewhat convenient that the Supreme Court is allowed to define the limits of their power?

Don’t you find it to be concerning, or even suspicious, that court managed to “carefully define the limits of it’s own power” in such a way that they get to rule on this specific issue, at this exact time?

Don’t you find it to be a matter of public importance that the court has completely over-turned past precedent, particularly regarding long or political proroguing?

Aren’t you even slightly concerned that their ruling is not concerning any written law, and that the “constitutional principles” involved were so flexibly interpreted as to let John Major be a witness for the plaintiff, despite him doing the exact same thing TWICE in his premiership?

As I said; the court has taken the position that Brexit is so utterly unique that previous convention shouldn’t be followed. How can this be read as anything other than judicial activism?

In a parliamentary sense; what makes Brexit so different that proroguing violates the constitution?

Outrajious Citron

24th September 2019 at 2:39 pm

well said The Crones of Court have overstepped the mark..

Neil McCaughan

24th September 2019 at 2:45 pm

A really excellent post.

a watson

24th September 2019 at 3:29 pm

Must agree. Great post.

Jane 70

24th September 2019 at 4:07 pm

Splendid; comment of the day.

James Chilton

24th September 2019 at 4:32 pm

The judgment of the Supreme Court that the recent proroguing of Parliament was illegal and is thus null and void, was based upon the claim that the royal prerogative is subject to the law. “The King hath no prerogative but that which the law of the land allows him”. – Justice Coke 1611 – was cited.

No one doubts that the law of the land is the ultimate authority, but which particular law were the Justices talking about? They didn’t refer to one so they made one up.

alex mahkrik

24th September 2019 at 4:35 pm

Melissa: ‘she said, in so many words, “brexit is not democratic”‘. perhaps we should stick to what the judgement actually said. I just read it. It is a beautifully written and reasoned document. I don’t understand how it is a comment on brexit. The judges (some of whom no doubt have leave sympathies) were unanimous and were at pains to point out that it was not a comment on brexit. Why all this ferocious, fuming reading between the lines? Brendon, I used to read you because I appreciated your different perspective on many different issues. I recommended spiked to my friends. I gave the website a big donation in the early days because I though its voice was important. I still think a pro brexit voice is vital. But you’ve gone off the deep end in your fury. You’re no longer reasoned or reasonable. You’re on a crusade, and it’s unreadable. I’m not coming back here….

Ray Cendon

24th September 2019 at 5:04 pm

Excellent and illuminating post. I’m not fulminating with rage at the British establishment without reason. 😉

Amin Readh

24th September 2019 at 6:27 pm

@ Jim Lawrie

You haven’t got a fig. You are just a busy body who pokes his nose in without much clue. Why don’t you check his post for spelling and grammar whilst you’re at it?

– –

“The legal basis in the judgement is that proroguing prevented MPs holding the government to account, and this makes it invalid.”

No correct. The actual judgement says:

“because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.”

“And as this effect has been ruled illegal, this makes every queens speech illegal.”

It clearly hasn’t been. Only this particular session has been. Boris can have another go.

a watson

24th September 2019 at 6:52 pm

Well said Jim and Melissa.

Michael Lynch

24th September 2019 at 8:51 pm

Brilliant analysis, Melissa.

Jim Lawrie

27th September 2019 at 9:40 am

Amin Readh “You haven’t got a fig. You are just a busy body who pokes his nose in … ” Didn’t read past that pal. Busybody is one word.

Thomas Swift

25th September 2019 at 3:04 am

Roger Ramject says: “All of which translates as “I don’t like the judgement” Is that anything like “I don’t like the referendum result”

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to comment. Log in or Register now.