MP brands the government a ‘disgrace’ as attorney general says MPs have ‘no moral right’ to sit in parliament
- Credit: Archant
A Labour MP has said the government is a 'disgrace' for 'obfuscating the truth' about the prorogation of parliament, after Geoffrey Cox told MPs they had 'no moral right' to sit in parliament.
Angered opposition MPs lined up to say that Geoffrey Cox had "no shame" and that the government was a "disgrace".
One was Labour MP Barry Sheerman who said: "The fact that this government cynically manipulated the prorogation to shut down this house so it couldn't work as a democratically assembly. He knows that is the truth and to come here with his barrister's bluster to obfuscate the truth, for him to come here and talk about morals and morality is a disgrace!
"For a man like him, a party like this, and a leader like this to talk about morals and morality is a disgrace!"
It followed the attorney general telling MPs they had "no moral right" to remain sitting in the House of Commons, comments SNP MPs called to be retracted.
You may also want to watch:
"This parliament is a dead parliament. It has no right to sit and has no moral right to sit on these green benches."
He said opposition parties were blocking an election and also blocking 17.4 million votes that wanted to Leave.
- 1 Could Mexican Coke spark a new Coca-Cola cold war?
- 2 A view from inside the Heathrow petri dish
- 3 The truth about 'buy British'
- 4 Liz Truss accused of freeports 'catastrophic blunder' following Brexit deals
- 5 The man the Soviet Union left in space
- 6 Downing Street announces plans to change English voting system following string of Labour victories
- 7 Why can't the English see what the Scots and Welsh can?
- 8 Labour should never have swallowed the Brexit pill
- 9 Tories could push for 2023 general election after axing key legislation
- 10 Sadiq Khan re-elected as London mayor as Laurence Fox loses £10k deposit
"This parliament is a disgrace!"
He added: "The time is coming when even the turkeys won't be able to prevent Christmas."
Falling short of an apology Cox, however, defended High Court judges saying that while it is acceptable to be "robustly critical" of their decision, and that it is not acceptable to question whether they had any "improper" motives.
He said: "There is nothing wrong at all in any member of the public, be it a Member of Parliament or otherwise, in criticising a court judgment. But what is wrong is that motives of an improper kind should be imputed to any judge in this country.
"We are defenders of the entire democratic constitution and we must be sure in everything we say."
He added: "With the judgments, we can be robustly critical, with the motives we can not."
Labour MP Hilary Benn stood up to ask Cox if he still thought the Supreme Court judgement amounted to a "constitutional coup".
Cox said: "I do not believe that anybody does. These things can be said in the heat of rhetorical and poetical licence."
Former attorney general Dominic Grieve similarly asked about his previous statements.
Grieve said: "I was struck by the fact in the leaked document that his opinion is referred to as believing it is constitutional when I'd understood from comments he made as far back as July when prorogation was first being mooted, in order to achieve a no-deal Brexit on October 31, that he considered that such an act would be unconstitutional.
"I wondered, therefore, if this isn't one issue which he ought not to clarify?"
Cox replied: "Let me say this, just some weeks ago it was being mooted that parliament might be prorogued from the beginning of September or even earlier until October 31.
"I say straight away to my right honourable friend, if that had been the proposition, I could not have stayed in the cabinet whilst it was done."
Former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas described the response to the Supreme Court ruling as "depressing".
"So parliament has started sitting again - but government attitude so far doesn't bode well," she tweeted.
"Depressing to see the attorney general to treat the issue of the #SupremeCourt ruling on the unlawfulness of prorogation with such levity and lack of humility."
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.