In response to a question from Dominic Grieve, a former Tory who now sits as an independent, Cox says he would not have been able to support a decision to prorogue parliament until the end of October. If the PM had proposed that, Cox would have resigned, he suggests.
Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow solicitor general, says the supreme court judgment amounts to “the most damning judicial indictment of a government in modern times”.
He says the government “stands shamed – tendering illegal advice to Her Majesty”.
He says the legal advice should be published in full.
And he points out that, although Cox is saying he accepts the supreme court judgment, Michael Gove told the BBC this morning that the government still thought it had done nothing wrong. (See 8.09am.)
He says the government has already been found in contempt of parliament. Now it has been found in contempt of law.
Cox says there is nothing unusual about a lawyer having his opinion rejected by a court.
He says courts in Scotland and in England backed his view. If people think Cox should resign, should the lord chief justice and the master of the rolls (who both said prorogation was lawful) resign too?
He accuses Thomas-Symonds of a “shameless piece of cynical opportunism”.
He says his advice was sound at the time. The supreme court took a different view, he says. He says it was entitled to do that. But it was making new law.
Varadkar says EU wants to see UK’s alternative backstop plan by end of next week
The UK must table written proposals to solve the Irish border Brexit question within the next week, Leo Varadkar and Donald Tusk have said.
The taoiseach revealed the details of his conversation with Tusk on Monday in New York in remarks after his meeting with Boris Johnson last night. He said:
We have working methods and I know that President Tusk and other EU heads of government would like to see British proposals in writing really in the first week of October, otherwise it is very hard to see how we could agree something at the summit in the middle of October.
He also signalled a significant shift on the EU’s opposition to re-opening the withdrawal agreement by noting it could not be changed at the last minute because of its treaty status.
The withdrawal agreement is actually an international treaty. It’s not the kind of thing that can be amended or cobbled together late at night at the European council meeting on 17th of October. So if the UK does have meaningful proposals, changes that they would like to suggest to the withdrawal agreement or to the joint political declaration more particularly, we really need to see them in advance so that they can be worked through and worked up in advance of the EU summit.
Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem leader, is speaking to the media outside Westminster now.
She says the Lib Dems want parliament to bring forward a mechanism that would stop the government trying to bypass the Benn Act, which is designed to stop the UK leaving the EU on 31 October without a deal.
Although the government says it will obey the law, Johnson also says repeatedly – as he did again yesterday – that the UK will definitely leave the EU on 31 October, implying that in the event of no deal he wants to ignore the act.
Labour has also said it wants to get further assurances to ensure that the Benn Act achieves what it is supposed to achieve. Both Labour and the Lib Dems are saying that, once they get those absolute guarantees, they will back a general election. But they have not said yet what parliament could do to make the act watertight.
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