The PM is taking a hammer and sickle to politics, warns former supreme court judge

PUBLISHED: 08:25 17 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:39 17 September 2019

Lord Sumption on Newsnight. Photograph: BBC.

Lord Sumption on Newsnight. Photograph: BBC.

Archant

Lord Sumption, a former UK Supreme Court judge, has claimed that Boris Johnson is taking a 'hammer and sickle' to our political culture.

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Speaking on BBC Newsnight, Sumption said he could not see how the prime minister "can leave without a deal on October 31st." He said the Benn Act is "a very tightly drafted bit of legislation."

The judge fell short of saying that Boris Johnson was lying by making the claims but said it was an "absurdity".

The Supreme Court in London will hear appeals from two separate challenges brought in England and Scotland to the prorogation of parliament over three days, starting on Tuesday.

Former judge Sumption was damning about the way the government is acting.

He added that it would be odd if the Supreme Court ruled differently to Scotland, pointing out: "The law is exactly the same in both Scotland and England, there may be a difference opinions in the Scottish courts to the English courts as to what it is.

"We have the same parliament and the same monarch for 300 years and there can't be a different law in Scotland and in England about what the relations between them are."

He said: "One of the two courts is wrong.

"The orthodox opinion is the one given by the English courts but, one has to accept if you behave outrageously and defy the political culture on which our constitution depends, a lot of judges are going to be tempted to push the limits there.

"The problem is Boris Johnson has taken a 'hammer and sickle' to our political culture, in a way that's profoundly provocative to people who believe there ought to be solutions consistent with our traditions."

He added: "Undoubtedly the government has behaved disgracefully and that is a situation in which it's going to be very difficult to predict what happens."

He said that "if the government loses it serves you right" but making political decisions puts the judges in a tricky position.

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