Boris Johnson's lawyer tells Supreme Court judges that PM will ask Queen to recall Parliament if he loses Brexit case but cannot rule out a new move to prorogue AGAIN

  • Supreme Court in London will spend three days reconciling judgments issued by English and Scottish courts
  • Last week judges in Edinburgh ruled Parliament was suspended illegally by PM to avoid scrutiny of Brexit
  • But High Court judges in London decided that decision was 'purely political' and not a matter for the courts
  • Gina Miller's QC says PM shut Parliament because 'he sees Parliament as an obstacle to his political aims' 
  • Lord Keen QC, Advocate General for Scotland, refused to rule out PM proroguing Parliament for second time 
  • BBC star David Dimbleby interviewed crowds saying case is 'big potatoes' and Britain 'never been so divided'

Advertisement

Boris Johnson (pictured today) will comply with the law if the Supreme Court rules against him in the landmark case on his decision to prorogue Parliament - but could try to shut down the Commons again with the law if he loses

Boris Johnson (pictured leaving the rear door of Downing Street today) will comply with the law if the Supreme Court rules against him in the landmark case on his decision to prorogue Parliament - but could try again before Brexit

Boris Johnson will go the Queen and ask her to recall MPs if the Supreme Court rules he illegally shut down Parliament - but the Prime Minister could still ask Her Majesty to prorogue again before Brexit, it was revealed today.

Lord Keen QC, representing the Government, refused to rule out another shutdown while being grilled by the 11 senior judges who will have the final say on whether Mr Johnson broke the law and misled the Queen by closing the Commons for five weeks until October 14.   

The Prime Minister has hinted he could ignore any ruling from the courts claiming it was 'claptrap' and 'mumbo jumbo' that he has stopped MPs having their say on leaving the EU.     

Today Advocate General for Scotland Lord Keen gave an undertaking that Mr Johnson will comply with the Supreme Court's final ruling expected next week - but he refused to rule out the possibility the Prime Minister would then advise the Queen to prorogue Parliament for a second time.

He said: 'If this court finds that the advice of the Prime Minister was unlawful, the Prime Minister will take all necessary steps to comply with any declaration made by the court. The consequence could be that he goes to the Queen and seeks the recall of Parliament.' 

Supreme Court justice Lord Kerr then asked him: 'Would he prorogue Parliament again?' but Lord Keen wouldn't be drawn and replied: 'I'm not in a position to comment on that. That will have to be addressed by the decision maker [Boris Johnson]'.

Lord Keen then urged the court to side with Mr Johnson claiming it was his right to prorogue Parliament and suggested MPs could have held a vote of no confidence if they had wanted to stop it.

He added: 'The history of the power to prorogue Parliament supports the fact that it has been used for political purposes' adding it has been used previously when a Government 'lacked a majority in the House of Commons'. 

For the next three days the Supreme Court is hearing two appeals brought in England and Scotland over the legality of the prorogation - which resulted in different outcomes.

The High Court in London dismissed arch-remainer Gina Miller's case finding that the length of the prorogation was 'purely political' and not a matter for the courts. But in Edinburgh, the Court of Session concluded Mr Johnson's decision was unlawful because it was 'motivated by the improper purpose' of frustrating Parliament.

The Supreme Court, which was surrounded by anti-Brexit protesters today chanting Ms Miller's name, is expected to rule next week - the judgment would carry full political and legal weight over both the cases in London and Edinburgh. 

Mr Johnson's lawyer Lord Keen QC (right of picture), Advocate General for Scotland, would not rule out the PM trying to shut down the Commons again

Mr Johnson's lawyer Lord Keen QC (right of picture), Advocate General for Scotland, would not rule out the PM trying to shut down the Commons again

Gina Miller leaves the Supreme Court at the end of the first day of the landmark Brexit legal battle this afternoon where her lawyers accused the PM of abusing his power

Gina Miller leaves the Supreme Court at the end of the first day of the landmark Brexit legal battle this afternoon where her lawyers accused the PM of abusing his power

Large numbers of people who want the proroguing of Parliament reversed were outside the Supreme Court en masse today

Large numbers of people who want the proroguing of Parliament reversed were outside the Supreme Court en masse today 

A protester dressed as the Incredible Hulk paced outside the Supreme Court - wearing a Boris Johnson wig and clutching a placard with the words 'Incredible Sulk'

A group of pro-Brexit supporters gathered outside the court today but they were heavily outnumbered by remainers

A group of pro-Brexit supporters gathered outside the court today but they were heavily outnumbered by remainers

brexit countdown_bgCreated with Sketch.

The UK's 11 most senior judges have been asked to have the final say in a ruling that could influence whether Britain leaves the EU.

Boris Johnson will be under huge pressure to resign as Prime Minister if the Supreme Court decides he lied to Her Majesty about the reasons for suspending Parliament until October 14.  His pledge to deliver Brexit by Halloween would also suffer a sledgehammer blow. 

Until the end of Thursday the Supreme Court is hearing an appeal case launched by arch-remainers including Gina Miller and former Tory prime minister Sir John Major after the High Court in London rejected their claims that the PM is trying to 'stymy' scrutiny of his Brexit policy to force through No Deal. 

The 11 judges will also rule on an appeal by the Government against a decision by Scottish justices in Edinburgh who decided that shutting down Parliament until mid-October is unlawful.  

Lord Keen told the court this afternoon the judges should overturn the Scottish court's decision. He said the different conclusions reached by the High Court in London and the Scottish Court of Session did not arise from any difference between English and Scottish law.

Almost 5m people log on to watch crunch Supreme Court battle over Brexit

The Supreme Court hearing over the prorogation of Parliament is being live streamed on the court's website.

During the first morning of the hearing on Tuesday, the live stream was accessed 4.4 million times - with 2.8 million stream requests being logged in the hour before the 1pm break for lunch.

Typically, the live streaming service is accessed about 20,000 times a month.

The proceedings are also being broadcast live on the BBC and Sky news channels

He said: 'Insofar as the Inner House has sought to declare the prorogation unlawful, I will take no issue with their order.

'But, insofar as they purport to declare that the prorogation is null and of no effect, I submit that they have simply gone where the court could not go.'

He said: 'If this court finds that the advice of the Prime Minister was unlawful, the Prime Minister will take all necessary steps to comply with any declaration made by the court and that is the appropriate way that this matter should be addressed.' 

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

Earlier arch-remainer Gina Miller's QC told the Supreme Court Mr Johnson 'abused' his power more than any other Prime Minister for more than 50 years in an attempt to force through Brexit on October 31.

Opening the case her barrister Lord Pannick QC alleged today that the PM's aim was 'to silence Parliament for that period' rather than hold a Queen's Speech.

He said: 'The exceptional length of the prorogation in this case is strong evidence that the Prime Minister's motive was to silence Parliament for that (five-week) period because he sees Parliament as an obstacle to the furtherance of his political aims'.

He added: 'No Prime Minister has abused his power in the manner in which we allege in at least the last 50 years'. 

But judges asked him why Parliament had not held the Government to account by holding a no confidence vote before Parliament shut down last week.

Constitutional QC Lord Pannick, who is representing Gina Miller (pictured left behind him), has accused Boris Johnson of abusing his power as Prime Minister to try to force Brexit

Constitutional QC Lord Pannick, who is representing Gina Miller (pictured left behind him), has accused Boris Johnson of abusing his power as Prime Minister to try to force Brexit

The 11 judges of the Supreme Court file at the start of the first of three days of evidence that will have a huge impact on Brexit

The 11 judges of the Supreme Court file at the start of the first of three days of evidence that will have a huge impact on Brexit

Boris Johnson's Brexit strategy could be saved or completely unravel if the Supreme Court sides with remainers including Gina Miller who say prorogation of Parliament was unlawful
Joanna Cherry, the Scottish National Party's Justice and Home Affairs spokesperson, arrives at the Supreme Court

Boris Johnson's Brexit strategy could be saved or completely unravel if the Supreme Court sides with remainers including Gina Miller (left today) and SNP MP Joanna Cherry (right today) who say prorogation of Parliament was unlawful

Lord Pannick emphasised that he was 'making no criticism of Her Majesty in these proceedings - Her Majesty acted on the advice of her Prime Minister' - but suggested that the Queen had been misled by the Government and said Boris Johnson's refusal to give evidence to the court should be held against him by the judges. 

PM's decision not to give evidence should be held against him, says Gina Miller's QC

Gina Miller's QC today urged Supreme Court judges to punish Boris Johnson for refusing to give evidence about why he shut down Parliament.

Lord Pannick claimed the ploy was so the Prime Minister could avoid cross-examination.

He said: 'The production of a witness statement from the Prime Minister, or indeed anyone else, setting out the reasons for advising on a prorogation as long as five weeks would have had legal consequences.

'The legal consequences of such a witness statement would have been, almost inevitably, an application to cross examine.

'The legal consequences would be that it would be a contempt of court, of course, for such a witness statement not to tell the truth.

'Our submission is that the documents (before the court) pose more questions than they answer, as the Inner House has pointed out, and in any event the production of those documents is no substitute for evidence from the Prime Minister or someone on his behalf stating to the court in terms why he thought prorogation for the exceptionally long period of five weeks.'

He added that the documents before the court and Mr Johnson's public statements were 'at best from the Prime Minister's view ambiguous' about his motives for proroguing Parliament.

Lord Pannick said: 'This case cries out for an answer in a witness statement to the allegation that was made against the Prime Minister and, in the absence of such a witness statement and the willingness of the Prime Minister to submit to potential cross examination, we say the court should infer that there is no answer.'

This morning his client Ms Miller was clapped and cheered by fans chanting 'Gina, Gina, Gina' as the landmark Brexit legal battle started.  

On the steps of the court the millionaire businesswoman said her legal team would do their 'best' to win and when asked if the courts should intervene in political decisions she added: 'If there is an overarching [misuse] of power, yes'.   

Supreme Court President Lady Hale made an opening statement at the start of the case and said their ruling would be 'without fear or favour' and 'will not determine when and how the UK leaves the EU.' 

She added: 'This is a serious and difficult question and is demonstrated by three senior judges in Scotland reaching a different conclusion to three senior judges in London. This is what the Supreme Court is for'.   

One Miller supporter wore a Boris Johnson-style wig and an Incredible Hulk costume while carrying an 'Incredible Sulk' placard to lampoon the PM's claim he will channel the superhero to ensure Brexit happens in 44 days' time. He was later arrested by another remainer protester dressed as RoboCop.

On the day of the landmark Supreme Court hearing that could change the direction of Brexit, it emerged: 

  • Boris Johnson had 'improper motive' for proroguing Parliament until October 14 and lied to the Queen to do it because he sees MPs as an 'obstacle' to Brexit, Gina Miller's QC has said;
  • Lord Pannick says that Boris Johnson's decision not to give evidence in crunch case should be held against him by the 11 judges;
  • President of the Supreme Court Lady Hale insists their crucial ruling 'will not determine when and how the UK leaves the EU';
  • The Supreme Court would carry full political and legal weight over the High Court case in London and the Scottish case in Edinburgh;
  • Robert Buckland, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, and Lord Keen QC, Advocate General for Scotland, refuse to rule out a second bid to prorogue Parliament; 

The Prime Minister said last night it was 'claptrap' that he had stopped MPs having their say on Brexit and said a Queen's Speech was required to end the longest Parliamentary session since the English civil war ended in 1651. 

What the 11 Supreme Court judges finally decide will have huge implications for Boris Johnson's premiership. 

If they rule against him he could be forced to recall Parliament where MPs will try to take complete control of Brexit and some critics have said that Mr Johnson would have to resign if it was found that he had misled the Queen about the reasons for suspending Parliament.

If he wins MPs will not return to the House of Commons until October 14 - 17 days before Britain is due to leave the EU. 

Over the next three days the Supreme Court in London will hear appeals from two separate challenges brought in England and Scotland to the prorogation of Parliament and will return verdicts on both by next week.

On the same day last week an Edinburgh court ruled it was unlawful while the High Court in London disagreed and said the decision was 'purely political'. 

The justices, led by president Lady Hale, will grapple with whether the PM's decision about the length of the prorogation is not a matter for the courts - or unlawful.

At the start of today's hearing Lady Hale emphasised that the case is only about whether the Prime Minister's advice to the Queen was lawful.

She said: 'That this is a serious and difficult question of law is amply demonstrated by the fact that three senior judges in Scotland have reached a different conclusion from three senior judges in England and Wales.

'The Supreme Court exists to decide such difficult questions of law and we shall do so in accordance with our judicial oaths - to do right by all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will.

'It is important to emphasise that we are not concerned with the wider political issues which form the context for this legal issue.

'As will be apparent when we hear the legal arguments, the determination of this legal issue will not determine when and how the UK leaves the European Union.'  

There was a huge crowd of media and protesters outside the usually quiet Supreme Court. 4.4m logged on online to watch proceedings

There was a huge crowd of media and protesters outside the usually quiet Supreme Court. 4.4m logged on online to watch proceedings

Protesters claiming they are 'defending democracy' outside the Supreme Court today where the three-day hearing is due to begin at 10.30am

Protesters claiming they are 'defending democracy' outside the Supreme Court today where the three-day hearing is due to begin at 10.30am

Members of the public queue to enter the court along with one woman who has gagged herself and carried a sign reading 'No Parliament, no voice'

Members of the public queue to enter the court along with one woman who has gagged herself and carried a sign reading 'No Parliament, no voice'

Lord Pannick argued that the Scottish Court of Session reached the 'correct' conclusion as to Mr Johnson's motive for proroguing Parliament.

John Major will take to the stand to give evidence

John Major will take the stand in the case against Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament, it emerged last night.

In an unprecedented development, the former Conservative leader will appear at the Supreme Court on Thursday in a case which will decide whether Mr Johnson acted illegally by proroguing Parliament earlier this month.

Sir John will be a lynchpin in the case brought by pro-Remain businesswoman Gina Miller, who said the Prime Minister may have breached 'the legal principle of Parliamentary sovereignty' and that the act represented an 'abuse of power'.

Yesterday, another former Tory prime minister, David Cameron, accused Mr Johnson of 'sharp practice' for proroguing Parliament.

But Mr Johnson said it was 'claptrap' for people to say he had stopped MPs having their say on Brexit.

He told the BBC: 'All this mumbo jumbo about how Parliament is being deprived of the opportunity to scrutinise Brexit.

'What a load of claptrap. Actually, Parliament I think has lost about four or five days.'

He told the court: 'Their conclusions, we say, are supported by the Prime Minister's own public statements as to his concerns as to what Parliament may do and the courts in addition should be prepared in the circumstances to draw an inference from the absence of any evidence on the Government's side by way of a witness statement.

'We submit that on all the material the court should conclude that, but for the Prime Minister's wish to avoid Parliamentary control, he would not have recommended to Her Majesty a prorogation for a period of longer than five weeks, but he would have recommended a substantially shorter period ... as had occurred on every occasion ... in the last 40 years.'

Lord Pannick added that, if the court accepts the Prime Minister had an 'improper motive' for proroguing Parliament, it would be for Mr Johnson to provide evidence that it was 'not material' to his decision - which he would be unable to do in the absence of a statement.   

He added: 'The point I emphasise is that Parliament is prevented from responding to whatever developments there may be, and it is not difficult to see that there are and will be developments as from September 9.'

Outside court an outnumbered pro-Brexit supporter shouting 'we voted to leave' was ushered away from anti-Brexit protesters outside the court.

As he walked away, the man shouted 'we want our country back' and 'democracy deniers' at the crowd.

Later a group of around 20 pro-Brexit supporters gathered.

One man asked anti-Brexit demonstrators: 'The EU is not a democracy - are you stupid?' A woman held a handmade cardboard sign with the words: 'Never surrender. Traitors must go.'

Victims' campaigner Raymond McCord - who is intervening in the Supreme Court case - arrived at the court to cheers from EU supporters and boos from the counter-demo.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said the Supreme Court case was mentioned by Boris Johnson during Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.

'He mentioned the fact that the court case was ongoing and that we are confident in our arguments,' the spokesman said.

Asked whether Mr Johnson should either give evidence or submit an affidavit to the court, the Prime Minister's spokesman said: 'I am not going to comment on an ongoing court case.

'The way court cases begin is that one side will set out their position and then there will be a response for the Government.

'The court is the right forum for this to take place.' 

Ms Miller was flanked by security as she arrived at the court on Parliament Square but received a warm welcome from supporters

Ms Miller was flanked by security as she arrived at the court on Parliament Square but received a warm welcome from supporters

A gagged woman protests outside the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to prorogue Parliament
Demonstrators insist that Boris Johnson misled the Queen

A gagged woman protests outside the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to prorogue Parliament. Demonstrators insist that Boris Johnson misled the Queen

The Prime Minister has refused to deny that he could ignore any ruling from the courts to force through Brexit.

Lord Chancellor refuses to rule out second prorogation before Brexit deadline 

As judges at the Supreme Court were set to consider whether Mr Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks is lawful, the Justice Secretary also refused to rule out a second temporary shutdown.

Asked whether it was remotely conceivable that Mr Johnson could suspend Parliament again, Mr Buckland told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'Harold Wilson said a week is a long time in politics, it seems like an hour is a long time in politics at the moment, and for me to sit here and imagine what might happen at the end of October, I think is idle.

'What I do know is if we are able to, we will have a Queen's Speech in October, there will be debate during that time and a vote as well, perhaps a series of votes, and I think Parliament has already shown its power.'

He told the BBC last night he had the 'greatest respect for the judiciary' and asked if he would recall MPs if he lost the case he added: 'I think the best thing I could do is wait and see what the judges say.' 

Mr Johnson says the five-week suspension is to allow the Government to set out a new legislative agenda in a Queen's Speech when MPs return to Parliament on October 14.

But those who brought legal challenges against the Prime Minister's decision argue the prorogation is designed to prevent parliamentary scrutiny of the UK's impending exit from the EU on October 31.

The Supreme Court, which will sit as a panel of 11 justices for only the second time in its 10-year history, must reconcile contradictory judgments issued by the English and Scottish courts.

Robert Buckland, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, failed to rule out a second bid to prorogue Parliament in October.

Asked whether it was remotely conceivable that Mr Johnson could suspend Parliament again, Mr Buckland told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'Harold Wilson said a week is a long time in politics, it seems like an hour is a long time in politics at the moment, and for me to sit here and imagine what might happen at the end of October, I think is idle.

'What I do know is if we are able to, we will have a Queen's Speech in October, there will be debate during that time and a vote as well, perhaps a series of votes, and I think Parliament has already shown its power.'    

Robocop arrests the Incredible Hulk outside the entrance to the court ahead of the biggest Brexit case for years

Robocop arrests the Incredible Hulk outside the entrance to the court ahead of the biggest Brexit case for years

What are the two Brexit cases the Supreme Court will rule on this week?

Gina Miller v The Prime Minister 

Gina Miller is appealing against a ruling at the High Court in London where she lost last week. 

Leading English judges declared that the courts have no right to interfere with Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament. 

They said the Prime Minister's decision to prorogue Parliament is a political matter and nothing to do with the law.

The High Court judges, led by Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, said the bid to overrule Mr Johnson by anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, backed by former prime minister Sir John Major, relied on a 'hitherto unidentified power' of the law and would wreck the balance between politicians and the courts.

'This is territory into which the courts should be slow indeed to intrude by recognising an expanded concept of Parliamentary Sovereignty,' the three judges ruled. 

Joanna Cherry v Advocate General for Scotland 

The Government is appealing against a ruling made at the Court of Session in Edinburgh that declared Boris Johnson has acted unlawfully in shutting down Parliament for five weeks. 

Scotland's highest civil court said the Prime Minister had ordered parliament to be prorogued for five weeks in order to 'stymie parliamentary scrutiny' of Brexit.

The court said the prorogation was 'unlawful', and suggested the PM had misled the Queen over the reasons for the suspension when she was asked to sign it off earlier this month. 

Critics, including former Tory attorney general Dominic Grieve, said Mr Johnson would have to resign if it was found that he had 'misled the Queen about the reasons for suspending parliament'.

Downing Street said it was 'disappointed' with the verdict and lodged an immediate appeal with the Supreme Court. 

SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC, who led the cross-party group in the action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, said she is 'cautiously optimistic' that the ruling by the Scottish judges will stand.

She told BBC Radio Scotland: 'I think that Scotland's supreme court reached the right decision here for the right reasons and I'm cautiously optimistic that at least a majority of the UK Supreme Court justices will follow.'  

Last week the High Court in London dismissed the case brought by businesswoman and campaigner Gina Miller - who previously brought a successful legal challenge against the Government over the triggering of the Article 50 process to start the Brexit countdown - finding that the length of the prorogation was 'purely political'.

Giving reasons for their ruling on September 11, three of the most senior judges in England and Wales said: 'We concluded that the decision of the Prime Minister was not justiciable (capable of challenge). It is not a matter for the courts.'

But, on the same day, the Inner House of the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled that Mr Johnson's decision was unlawful because 'it was motivated by the improper purpose of stymying Parliament'.

Lord Carloway, Scotland's most senior judge, said: 'The circumstances demonstrate that the true reason for the prorogation is to reduce the time available for parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit at a time when such scrutiny would appear to be a matter of considerable importance, given the issues at stake.'

Following that ruling, a Downing Street source suggested the MPs and peers who brought the legal challenge 'chose the Scottish courts for a reason' - prompting criticism from Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who branded the comments 'deeply dangerous', as well as Justice Secretary Robert Buckland.

Mrs Miller's challenge was supported by former prime minister Sir John Major, shadow attorney general Baroness Chakrabarti and the Scottish and Welsh governments, who are all interveners in the Supreme Court case. 

A cross-party group of around 75 MPs and peers, led by SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC, was responsible for the Scottish challenge and the appeal against the Court of Session's decision is being brought by the Advocate General for Scotland, on behalf of the Westminster Government. 

Lawyers wheels box-after-box of evidence and files into the court for three days of arguments over Boris Johnson's decision to prorogue

Lawyers wheels box-after-box of evidence and files into the court for three days of arguments over Boris Johnson's decision to prorogue

The Supreme Court, which will sit as a panel of 11 justices for only the second time in its 10-year history, must reconcile contradictory judgments issued by the English and Scottish courts

11 judges to rule in case for just the second time in British history

11 judges will make the Brexit ruling - just the second time this has happened in its ten year history.

The only other time this has happened was in 2016 when judges ruled on Gina Miller's Article 50 case.

Experts have said that the decision to bring in 11 Supreme Court justices instead of nine shows the importance of the decision - and how finely balanced the ruling could be. 

Lord Briggs is the only Supreme Court justice not sitting to ensure there is no tie.

There are always an odd number of judges to ensure there is a majority decision. 

The decision of the Supreme Court in London would carry full political and legal weight over the High Court case in London and the Scottish case in Edinburgh.

As the court of last resort, if it upholds the ruling that Mr Johnson's advice to the Queen was unlawful it would effectively declare the shutdown null and void.

It is unclear exactly what would happen next - as Parliament would resume sitting, but the Government has not tabled any business. 

Victims' campaigner Raymond McCord - who brought separate proceedings in Belfast, arguing that a no-deal Brexit would damage the Northern Ireland peace process - has also been given permission to intervene in the Supreme Court case.

In a statement ahead of the hearing, Mrs Miller said: 'As with my first case, my Supreme Court case is about pushing back against what is clearly a dramatic overreach of executive power.

'This is an issue that cuts across the political divides - and the arguments about the EU - and it has united remainers and leavers and people of all political complexions and none in opposition to it.

'The precedent Mr Johnson will set - if this is allowed to stand - is terrifying: any prime minister trying to push through a policy that is unpopular in the House and in the country at large would from now on simply be able to resort to prorogation.

'No one could ever have envisaged it being used in this way: this is a classic power-grab.'

She added: 'The reason given for the prorogation was patently untrue and, since then, the refusal to come clean or provide any of the disclosures we have asked for has compounded the deception.

'It is my view - and the view of a great many others - that Mr Johnson has gone too far and put our parliamentary sovereignty and democracy in grave danger by his actions.'

Mr Johnson advised the Queen on August 28 to prorogue Parliament for five weeks from the week of September 9.

The Supreme Court judges will hear submissions from the parties and interveners from Tuesday to Thursday, but it is not clear when they will give a ruling.

Yesterday, another former Tory prime minister, David Cameron, accused Mr Johnson of 'sharp practice' for proroguing Parliament.

But Mr Johnson said it was 'claptrap' for people to say he had stopped MPs having their say on Brexit.

He told the BBC: 'All this mumbo jumbo about how Parliament is being deprived of the opportunity to scrutinise Brexit. What a load of claptrap. Actually, Parliament I think has lost about four or five days.'

Boris Johnson's description of former Prime Minister, David Cameron, as 'a girly swot' in unredacted cabinet papers disclosed to court. Crucially it says that Parliament sitting in September was a 'rigmarole introduced ... to show the public that MPs were earning their crust'

Boris Johnson's description of former Prime Minister, David Cameron, as 'a girly swot' in unredacted cabinet papers disclosed to court. Crucially it says that Parliament sitting in September was a 'rigmarole introduced ... to show the public that MPs were earning their crust'

And senior Tories last night claimed that the Prime Minister is ready to ignore a controversial law pushed through Parliament forcing him to seek another Brexit delay if a deal is not reached by October 19 – even if it means he is dragged to court.

Mr Johnson yesterday said another extension would be 'crackers' and insisted the law would not stop him taking the UK out of the EU next month – with or without a deal.

David Dimbleby at Supreme Court to witness 'big potatoes' Brexit case and declares: 'Britain has never been so divided' 

Veteran BBC broadcaster David Dimbleby (right today) was outside the Supreme Court to speak to those queueing to get into the hearing.

Mr Dimbleby said: 'I lived through Suez, the miners' strike, I lived through the poll tax debate and the trouble then. I lived through the Iraq demonstrations - I've never seen the country so divided as this.'

He added: 'The next six weeks are clearly critical. I've never known the country so seriously riven by argument.'

Mr Dimbleby said the case was 'not just dramatic - it's really, really important for all our futures'.

He continued: 'The Prime Minister is accused of lying to the Queen - let's put it bluntly - and getting Parliament suspended without good reason and that's big potatoes, it has to be.'

Eleven supreme court justices have started to hear the claim that Mr Johnson acted unlawfully in advising the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks in order to stifle debate over the Brexit crisis.

Documents published by the Supreme Court yesterday show how the Prime Minister's team will argue decisions to prorogue are a matter of 'high policy' and not law – meaning the courts should not intervene. They revealed Sir John will make an 'oral intervention' for up to 20 minutes on Thursday. The former prime minister is listed as an 'intervener' on Miss Miller's case, alongside Labour's Baroness Chakrabarti.

Miss Miller's written case said: 'The Prime Minister's advice to Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament for a period of five weeks is an unlawful abuse of power, because there has been no prorogation for longer than three weeks in the past 40 years and prorogation is typically for a week or less.

'To prorogue Parliament for such a lengthy period removes the ability of Parliament to take such action as it sees fit... relating to the arrangements for the UK to leave the EU when time is very much of the essence...'

It adds that Mr Johnson's reasons for advising the prorogation were 'improper' and influenced by 'his concern that Parliament might take steps which would undermine the Government's negotiating position with the EU'.

The case will be led in court by Lord Pannick, who led Miss Miller's previous successful case forcing the Government to give MPs a vote on triggering Article 50.

The documents reveal Mr Johnson's case is that the claims are 'non-justiciable' – meaning they are not within the scope of the courts.

The PM's case points out that MPs could have legislated to ensure that Parliament continued to sit during the prorogation – but it did not do so.  

And it highlighted that the Queen is under no obligation to accept the advice of the Prime Minister.

The 11 Supreme Court judges set to rule on the key Brexit case 

Lady Hale, Lord Reed, Lord Carnwath, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Hodge, Lord Wilson, Lady Arden, Lady Black, Lord Sales, Lord Kerr and Lord Kitchin will make the final ruling in the Supreme Court (pictured top left to bottom right)

These are the 11 Supreme Court judges who will consider legal challenges to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament:

- Lady Hale, 74, was appointed the first female president of the Supreme Court in 2017 after a varied career as an academic lawyer, law reformer and judge.

A long-standing champion of diversity in the judiciary, she became the first female justice of the court in October 2009, and was appointed deputy president in June 2013.

During her time as deputy president, Yorkshire-born Lady Hale ruled on numerous high-profile cases, including the Brexit appeal.

- Lord Reed, 63, was appointed deputy president of the Supreme Court in June last year and will replace Lady Hale when she retires in January.

One of the court's two Scottish justices, he previously served as a judge in Scotland and sometimes sits as a judge at the European Court of Human Rights and the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.

He was educated at the universities of Edinburgh and Oxford before qualifying as an advocate in Scotland and a barrister in England and Wales.

- Lord Kerr, 71, is the first justice of the court to come from Northern Ireland, where he served as Lord Chief Justice from 2004 to 2009.

Educated at St Colman's College, Newry, and Queen's University, Belfast, he was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 1970, and to the Bar of England and Wales in 1974.

- Lord Wilson, 74, was appointed in 2009, having previously been a judge in the High Court's family division and the Court of Appeal.

- Lord Carnwath, 74, studied at Cambridge and was called to the Bar in 1968. He served as Attorney General to the Prince of Wales from 1988 to 1994.

While a judge of the Chancery Division, he was also chairman of the Law Commission and, between 2007 and 2012, was Senior President of Tribunals.

- Lord Hodge, 66, the court's other Scottish justice, was previously the Scottish judge in Exchequer Causes, one of the Scottish intellectual property judges, a judge in the Lands Valuation Appeal Court and a commercial judge.

- Lady Black, 65, a justice since 2017, carried out a broad range of civil and criminal work during her early career as a barrister before specialising in family law.

She has served as a High Court judge and Lady Justice of Appeal.

Lady Black taught law at Leeds Polytechnic in the 1980s, was a founding author of the definitive guide to family law practice in England and Wales, and continues to serve as a consulting editor.

- Lord Lloyd-Jones, 67, was born and brought up in Pontypridd, South Wales, where his father was a school teacher, and is the court's first justice to come from Wales.

A Welsh speaker, he was appointed to the High Court in 2005, and acted as adviser to the court in the Pinochet litigation before the House of Lords.

- Lady Arden, 72, who grew up in Liverpool, began her judicial career in 1993 after working as a barrister, QC, and Attorney General of the Duchy of Lancaster.

She became a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2011, and sits as a judge of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

- Lord Kitchin, 64, was called to the Bar in 1977 and his practice covered intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, copyright, designs and trade secrets.

He has also served as a High Court judge and as a Lord Justice of Appeal.

- Lord Sales, 57, is the youngest of the court's justices and was appointed in January, having worked as a barrister and QC before his appointment to the High Court in 2008.

He was vice-president of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, served as deputy chairman of the Boundary Commission for England and was appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal.

 ...and the key players in the high profile Brexit legal battle

As the Supreme Court considers legal challenges to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to prorogue Parliament, here is a look at the key players in the case before the UK's highest court.

The court hears appeals on cases of the greatest public importance where it is considered there is an arguable point of law.

Now the Supreme Court, which will sit as a panel of 11 justices for only the second time in its 10-year history, must reconcile contradictory judgments issued by the English and Scottish courts.

- Gina Miller

The investment fund manager and campaigner first came to public prominence in 2016 when she launched a legal challenge to then prime minister Theresa May's decision to use the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50, starting a two-year countdown to the UK's departure from the EU.

The High Court ruled that the prime minister did not have the power to trigger Article 50 without the authority of Parliament, a ruling ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court in January 2017.

- Boris Johnson

Mr Johnson was appointed Prime Minister on July 24, after refusing to rule out proroguing Parliament during the contest to succeed Mrs May as leader of the Conservative Party.

The Queen prorogued Parliament, on Mr Johnson's advice, on August 28 after Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, Lords Leader Baroness Evans and chief whip Mark Spencer flew to Balmoral for a Privy Council meeting.

A handwritten note of Mr Johnson's dated August 16, replying to advice on prorogation, said Parliament sitting in September was a 'rigmarole introduced ... to show the public that MPs were earning their crust, so I do not see anything especially shocking about this prorogation'.

An unredacted version of the note leaked to Sky News revealed Mr Johnson wrote that the 'rigmarole' had been 'introduced by girly swot (former prime minister David) Cameron'.

- Joanna Cherry QC MP and others

SNP MP Joanna Cherry, pictured at the Supreme Court today, described the ruling as 'historic' and 'fantastic'

SNP MP Joanna Cherry, pictured at the Supreme Court today, described the ruling as 'historic' and 'fantastic'

Joanna Cherry, a barrister-turned-MP and the SNP's justice and home affairs spokeswoman, is the lead claimant in the proceedings brought in Scotland.

What happens next in the Brexit crisis? 

Here is how the coming weeks could pan out: 

September 14-17: Lib Dem conference takes place in Bournemouth 

September 17: Supreme Court hears case on whether prorogation of Parliament was illegal. 

September 21-25: Labour conference in Brighton 

September 29-October 2: Tory conference takes place in Manchester, with Mr Johnson giving his first keynote speech as leader on the final day. This will be a crucial waypointer on how Brexit talks are going.

October 14: Unless it has already been recalled, Parliament is due to return with the Queen's Speech - the day before Mr Johnson had hoped to hold a snap election.

October 17-18: A crunch EU summit in Brussels, where Mr Johnson has vowed he will try to get a Brexit deal despite Remainers 'wrecking' his negotiating position. 

October 19: If there is no Brexit deal by this date Remainer legislation obliges the PM to beg the EU for an extension to avoid No Deal.

October 21: Decisive votes on the Queen's Speech, which could pave the way for a confidence vote. 

October 31: The current deadline for the UK to leave the EU. 

The case is brought by a total of 79 petitioners, including Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Plaid Cymru's Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts.

- Sir John Major

Sir John served as prime minister between 1990 and 1997, taking over from Margaret Thatcher and defeating Labour leader Neil Kinnock in the 1992 general election before losing to Tony Blair's New Labour in 1997.

In July, after Mr Johnson refused to rule out prorogation, Sir John told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that it would be 'utterly and totally unacceptable' for any British premier to shut down Parliament.

The former prime minister said he would bring a judicial review against any attempt to do so and intervened in Mrs Miller's High Court case in September. 

His lawyers have been given permission to make oral submissions at the Supreme Court hearing.

However, Sir John himself controversially prorogued Parliament ahead of the 1997 general election, which prevented a report on the cash for questions scandal being considered by MPs.

- Baroness Chakrabarti

The peer (below left) was director of civil liberties organisation Liberty from 2003 to 2016, during which time she was described by the Sun newspaper as 'the most dangerous woman in Britain'.

Following her appointment in 2016 as the chairwoman of an inquiry into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, Baroness Chakrabarti was nominated to the House of Lords and subsequently appointed Labour's shadow attorney general.

MP Shami Chakrabarti leaves the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom for a lunch break,
Northern Ireland victims' rights campaigner Raymond McCord (2nd R) leaves the Supreme Court

- Raymond McCord

The victims' rights campaigner (above, right), whose son was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries in 1997, is one of three individuals bringing a legal challenge in Belfast, arguing that a no-deal Brexit would damage the Northern Ireland peace process.

Unlike in England and Wales and Scotland, cases in Northern Ireland cannot leapfrog straight to the Supreme Court, so Mr McCord's case was heard by the Court of Appeal in Belfast on Monday - and he has also been given permission to intervene at the Supreme Court. 

Boris Johnson's lawyer says PM will ask Queen to recall Parliament if he loses Brexit case

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.