Boris Johnson warned over threats to ignore law

Boris Johnson

A senior Conservative politician and law professor has said Prime Minister Boris Johnson must resign if he is unwilling to follow the law.

A bill to block a no-deal Brexit was passed on Friday.

Professor Adam Tomkins, a Scottish Conservative MSP and the party’s constitutional affairs spokesman, tweeted: “Irrespective of what we think about Brexit, or the PM, surely we can all agree on one fundamental principle: the Government is bound to obey the law. If the law compels the PM to act in a certain way, and if the PM refuses so to act, he has only one option: to resign. It really is as simple as that.”

Former Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord Macdonald, said Mr Johnson could go to prison if he refuses to delay Brexit.

Reports in the Daily Telegraph suggest that Mr Johnson is planning to “sabotage” Parliament’s efforts to force an extension by sending the EU a letter stating that the government does not wish to delay Brexit.

Former Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption said this would be illegal.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The bill or the act as its about to become says that he’s got to apply for an extension. Not only has he got to send the letter, he’s got to apply for an extension. And to send the letter and then try and neutralise it seems to me to be plainly a breach of the act.”

A Downing Street source said: “We intend to sabotage any extension. The ‘surrender bill’ only kicks in if an extension is offered. Once people realise our plans, there is a good chance we won’t be offered a delay. Even if we are, we intend to sabotage that too.”

Lord Sumption said that there was not “the slightest obscurity” as regards what the government was obliged to do. 

He said: “You’ve got to realise that the courts are not very fond of loopholes. They’re going to interpret this act in a way that gives effect to its obvious purpose unless there’s something in the act that makes it completely impossible to do so and there isn’t.”

Tags: Brexit

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