Judges accused of bias by pro-Brexit newspapers and cabinet ministers after prorogation ruling

Daily Mail coverage of the 'unlawful' ruling from three Scottish judges. Photograph: Jonathon Read.

Daily Mail coverage of the 'unlawful' ruling from three Scottish judges. Photograph: Jonathon Read. - Credit: Archant

Cabinet ministers and pro-Brexit newspapers have been criticised for suggesting that judges are biased in relation to Brexit.

Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng claimed that: "Many people are saying - I'm not saying this - but, many people... are saying that the judges are biased.

"The judges are getting involved in politics.

"I think that they are impartial, but I'm saying that many people, many Leave voters, many people up and down the country, are beginning to question the partiality of the judges.

"That's just a fact."

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He made the remarks after judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh branded the suspension of parliament as "unlawful".

The Daily Mail also criticised the judges, accusing them of "ruling in favour of Europe" with one judge having a "passion for France".

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It reports that Lord Brodie "promotes strong relations between Scotland and France as head of the Franco-Scottish Society."

It says Lord Drummond Young "wanted to give judges of the EU Court of Justice a say over whether Article 50, Britain's formal declaration of Brexit, could be revoked."

Another, a "jazz lover" according to the newspaper, reportedly gave a speech in March 2017 where he said "Brexit was 'likely to be a very onerous task'."

The Telegraph meanwhile called for judges at the Supreme Court to overrule the decision.

"We are getting into murky constitutional waters when the courts seek to strike down a Crown decision to prorogue parliament through the exercise of a prerogative power that the judiciary in the past would have considered beyond their purview," the paper said in its editorial.

"This is a matter of fundamental importance that goes far beyond the politics of Brexit and has significant implications for the future constitutional relationships between the institutions of the state.

"The Supreme Court must strike down the Court of Session ruling ... if this age-old balance is not to be dangerously upset."

The Telegraph also carries a column by the Lawyers for Britain group's vice-chairman, Clive Thorne, saying the best check on a government is that which comes at election time.

"Enoch Powell once admonished that the people should not leave to judges what they themselves can dispose of at the ballot box," he writes. "The current litigation relating to the legality of the advice to the Sovereign to prorogue Parliament is evidence of the wisdom of Powell's dictum."

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said he would distance himself from ministers' 'bias' comments when asked on ITV's Peston.

He told the programme: "We must back the judges in this country to uphold the rule of law.

"I would go back to, though, the comment that was made by the High Court which said I think that the words they used were, 'You have to be very cautious before you intrude into debates between the executive and Parliament'.

"And, so, obviously this will be a matter that will now be decided by the Supreme Court but I suspect they will be mulling over those issues."

The Court of Session in Edinburgh found ministers had stopped MPs from sitting for the "improper purpose of stymying Parliament".

It said advice given by ministers to the Queen which led to the five-week prorogation was therefore "unlawful and is thus null and of no effect".

The Government immediately announced it was lodging an appeal against the ruling with the Supreme Court, with a hearing set for Tuesday.

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