What the British papers say: ‘The most damning verdict on Boris Johnson’s integrity’

Financial Times, Guardian and Scotsman newspapers urge Boris Johnson to resign

The UK's supreme court has ruled that prime minister Boris Johnson acted unlawfully when he advised Queen Elizabeth to suspend parliament just weeks before Brexit. Video: Reuters

 

The Scotsman

Editorial – “The first thing Boris Johnson does upon his return to the House of Commons should be to announce his immediate resignation. Yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court that his government’s decision to prorogue parliament for five weeks was unlawful is no mere scrape from which Mr Johnson should escape unscathed. Rather, it represents the most damning verdict on his integrity. In short, the unanimous verdict of 11 justices makes clear that Mr Johnson is unfit to be the prime minister of the United Kingdom. ”

The Daily Mail

“Boris Johnson declared war on the judiciary last night following a shock Supreme Court ruling that he broke the law. The UK’s highest court annulled his decision to suspend parliament for five weeks branding it ‘unlawful, void and of no effect’.

“The judgment prompted fury in the No.10 with one senior ally of the prime minister saying: ‘The effect of this is to pose the question: who rules this country? Are the courts saying they want to run the country now? it will be very interesting to see what the public makes of that’.”

I

Katy Balls“Inside No 10, there is still a fierce loyalty to [adviser Dominic] Cummings – and a sense that politically the party remains on the right track. In his first public appearance since the verdict, Johnson was keen to play down the importance of the ruling. He suggested it wouldn’t change his overall Brexit plan and that he remained committed to getting a deal – but this had made it harder.

“While things behind the scenes aren’t as rosy as the prime minister would like to suggest, there’s a view that in terms of messaging the ruling won’t be so damaging to them in the polling booth. In fact, it could even be helpful. Anything which reinforces the idea that Johnson is committed to delivering Brexit and those against him are frustrating to it is seen as useful. It will play into a people vs parliament narrative.”

Guardian

Editorial: “A prime minister with honour would tender their resignation. But Mr Johnson has no honour and no shame. The precedent such an act of defiance sets ought to be unthinkable. The sooner that Britain is rid of him the better. In office Mr Johnson has exposed voters to a level of mendacity, opportunism and belligerence that the country has rarely encountered in an occupant of Downing Street. With no legal training, the prime minister peremptorily dismissed the court for having had the temerity to upbraid him. Despite the ruling having nothing to do with Brexit, Mr Johnson blamed the decision, ridiculously, on remainers.”

The Financial Times

Editorial – “The ruling by the UK supreme court is a devastating indictment of the abuse of power by a prime minister – and of the holder of that officer Boris Johnson. Mr Johnson’s no-deal strategy lies in tatters. Prorogation, always a high-risk gambit, has galvanised MPs to use the short time they had to bind Mr Johnson’s hands with legislation, and cost him his majority. Now this ruling leaves a stain on his character and competence. Faced with such a damning judgment, any premier with a shred or respect for British democracy and the responsibilities of his office would resign.”

Daily Express

Patrick O’Flynn – “The decision of the Supreme Court that the proroguing of parliament by Boris Johnson was unlawful and must be reversed could have led to some dignified reflections by MPs as to how we have reached such a low ebb that a prime minister would feel the need to suspend parliament in order to help deliver a long-overdue democratic outcome.

“They could have said they were sorry it had come to this, but now that Mr Johnson had been suitably admonished for what the judges identified as sharp practice, they all recognised their democratic duty to come together and help arrange a smooth departure on October 31st.

“Instead what we saw was triumphalist Remainer politicos punching the air at being handed a victory in the senior court of law after so many successive defeats in the court of public opinion.

Daily Telegraph

Editorial – “For most political leaders such a litany of woes would be be fatal. Yet for Mr Johnson, seen as the champion of the people against an establishment determined to stop Brexit, it does not appear to have harmed his popularity, or at least not yet. Despite his apparent chaos, the Conservatives remain well ahead in the polls and Jeremy Corybn has the lowest ratings for an opposition leader on record and is increasingly seen as a liability by his own party.”

Times

Editorial – “The Supreme Court’s verdict could hardly be more devastating for Boris Johnson. Not only did the court find that the prime minister had acted unlawfully in his decision to suspend parliament for five weeks until October 14th, but the 11 justices did so unanimously. They concluded that Mr Johnson had set out to prevent parliament from performing its constitutional role of holding the government to account.”

Daniel Finkelstein (columnist and former Tory adviser) “There are moments when the entire political world gets excited about nothing. This isn’t one of them. The government has made a grave error. For a Conservative government to find its actions revoked and reversed by the highest court, for it to have to be reminded by judges of its constitutional and political duty and for it to have given advice to the Queen which has been found unlawful, it is a calamity. And a calamity it has brought on itself. And all for what? To achieve what? To advance what? It has combined constitutional sharp practice (or unconstitutional sharp practice, as the court has now concluded) with an unforced political error.”

Sun

“Listen to the braying Remainer clowns.
‘Boris is unfit to be PM!’
‘Boris must resign!’
‘Boris lied to the Queen!’
Boris Johnson promises we’ll leave the EU in...
Will these idiots bring a vote of no confidence in such a terrible man? Er, no. They’re STILL terrified it would trigger an election he would win. So they STILL won’t test their convictions at the ballot box? Er, no.
‘Bring it on!’ they bellow. But not yet.
They think voters are mugs, don’t they?
They have opposed any form of Brexit. They have voted to keep our Brexit-backing Government paralysed but in office. They are racing to thwart the referendum at all costs.
And now the Supreme Court has done their bidding.
Boris, victim of yesterday’s staggering legal coup, has to respect this court and its supposed impartiality. But in one unprecedented act of constitutional vandalism 11 judges became an unelected political entity, granting themselves immense power to overrule our Government and Queen.

Daily Mirror

“Boris Johnson last night faced calls to quit after judges he illegally shut down parliament as he tried to force through a no-deal Brexit. The verdict confirms he lied to the Queen over his reasons for prorogation. After just 63 days in the job, he could be the short-served PM ever if he goes.”