Supreme Court: Government QC 'won't comment' on whether parliament could be prorogued again

PUBLISHED: 14:43 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:13 17 September 2019

Government QC Lord Keen. Photograph: Supreme Court.

Government QC Lord Keen. Photograph: Supreme Court.

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The government's advocate general has refused to comment on whether the government could prorogue parliament straight after it is recalled.

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Protesters outside the Supreme Court in London where judges are due to consider legal challenges to Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA WireProtesters outside the Supreme Court in London where judges are due to consider legal challenges to Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

While Lord Keen gave an undertaking to the court that Johnson will comply with the Supreme Court's declaration in the event it concludes the five-week suspension was unlawful he refused to rule out the possibility the prime minister would advise the Queen to prorogue parliament for a second time.

After being asked by Lord Kerr, one of the 11 justices, what would happen in the event the court does decide prorogation was unlawful and whether parliament would be recalled, he replied: "It will be then for the prime minister to address the consequences of that declaration."

He added: "I have given a very clear undertaking that the prime minister will respond by all necessary means to any declaration that the... prorogation was effected by any unlawful advice that he may have given."

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Lord Kerr then asked if it could be taken that the prorogation decision could not be made a second time, to which Lord Keen replied: "I'm not in a position to comment on that.

"That will have to be addressed by the decision maker."

Lord Carnwath said it would be helpful for the undertaking on behalf of the Prime Minister to be given to the court in writing.

Lord Keen also says the power to prorogue parliament is also not just there to allow a Queen's Speech, and there has been other instances where prorogation has taken place for political purposes.

It follows a Radio 4 interview earlier where the justice secretary also refused to quash rumours on a second prorogation.

The rumours started after the Sunday Times and the Mail on Sunday similarly reported that Dominic Cummings had told a meeting of ministerial aides that the government "could just prorogue again".

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