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Supreme Court Judgment (Response)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 24th September 2019.

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Photo of Jackson Carlaw Jackson Carlaw Conservative

Today’s judgment by the Supreme Court is as profound as any made by any court in my political lifetime. I start by saying that the rule of law is the foundation of our system of government. The judgment of the courts must be respected by Government, all the more so when it may not like the result. The judgment clearly upholds the principle that Government is subject to the will of Parliament and that Parliament is therefore not subject to the will of Government. That is an important consideration for each of us in every Parliament.

The Prime Minister has stated that the House of Commons and the House of Lords will now return, as confirmed by the Speakers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and that, in consequence, Westminster will now have further opportunities to continue the debate on Brexit and other business. In a parliamentary democracy—and, not least, in light of the court’s judgment—it is right that our Westminster Parliament will now determine what comes next. That overall priority is unchanged: the possibility of a deal to leave the EU on 31 October in an orderly way is still there. Members of Parliament must redouble their efforts to find that resolution and support a fresh arrangement if that is achieved with our European partners.

In the first instance, I ask the First Minister whether, if a deal with our European partners emerges, Scottish National Party MPs will vote for it. If that cannot happen, does the First Minister not agree that it is clear that a House of Commons that is unable to determine progress in any way must make way for a new Parliament that can, and that there must be, as the Prime Minister sought to achieve, a general election?