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Legal Advice: Prorogation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:37 am on 25th September 2019.

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Photo of Geoffrey Cox Geoffrey Cox The Attorney-General 11:37 am, 25th September 2019

The hon. Gentleman asks why Ministers might contest parts of the judgment. There is nothing wrong with the Government, the hon. Gentleman or any member of the public seeking to argue that parts of the judgment were either mistaken or poorly reasoned. I would not necessarily agree with that, but there is no harm in people doing it, because that is part of democratic debate. What is wrong, and what I deplore and urge all Members of this House not to do, is to impugn the motives of those who make the decisions. These are fine judges who reach their decisions impartially on what they think is the best view of the law. I have no doubt that that is what the Supreme Court did in this case.

I am not going to go into all the areas of the judgment that are fragile or vulnerable to alternative arguments. The arguments of the Government were set out in writing. The judgment of the Lord Chief Justice in the divisional court was brilliantly reasoned and was, in the Government’s view, entirely right, but the Supreme Court chose to disagree with it.