Brexit: Boris Johnson denies lying to the Queen over Parliament suspension

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday denied lying to the Queen regarding the advice he gave her over the suspension of Parliament.

The prime minister was speaking after Scotland's highest civil court ruled that the five-week prorogation, which Johnson initiated on Monday, was unlawful.

"The High Court in England plainly agrees with us, but the Supreme Court will have to decide," Johnson said on Thursday. The Supreme Court now has to rule on the decision made by the Scottish court.

Johnson said he suspended parliament in order to present his program of improvements to healthcare, policing and other "people's priorities" in a new parliamentary session.

The main opposition Labour party's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said on Wednesday that "no one in their right mind believed Boris Johnson's reasons for shutting down Parliament."

Parliamentary sessions normally last one year in the UK, but the current one has run non-stop since 2017 amid concerns over Brexit legislation.

'Recall parliament'

Johnson is under increased pressure from lawmakers and the public to recall Parliament. Some MPs have staged a sit-in at the House of Commons, claiming that Johnson's suspension was proven "unlawful" by the Scottish court.

Johnson reiterated that he was "working very hard" to strike a new deal with the EU before October 31. If no deal is reached, he said he remained confident the UK would be adequately prepared for a no-deal Brexit.

This comes one day after the forced publication of "Operation Yellowhammer" documents, the government file which prepared for the "worst-case scenario" of a no-deal Brexit and listed such potential problems as protests on the streets and traffic logjams at the borders.

Johnson described this document as "just the sensible preparations that you'd expect any government to do."

Northern Irish Brexit challenge rejected

Meanwhile, a court in Northern Ireland ruled on Thursday that a separate case relating to Brexit was unlawful. The case argued that an exit from the EU would have a detrimental effect on the Northern Irish peace agreements.

At least one of the three claimaints plans to appeal the ruling, meaning this case will be heard by the Supreme Court next week along with the Scottish court ruling.

The fate of the border between Northern Ireland, a part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, a member of the EU, remains one of the most controversial aspects of any Brexit agreement. The Irish foreign minister, Simon Coveney, announced on Thursday that the EU is still in talks about "minimal checks possible" after a no-deal Brexit.

ed/sms (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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