Why Boris Johnson can never be trusted again – Ian Murray

The Prime Minister’s lies to the public, Parliament and his own party have finally caught up with him, says Ian Murray

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 6:00 am
Campaigners from the pro- and anti-Brexit camps were outside Parliament as MPs returned to the House of Commons. Picture: AP

It’s a very well-known phrase, but it’s more relevant this week than any other in recent political times – “a week is a long time in politics”.

Isn’t it just!

Last week I wrote that Boris Johnson was trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the public by pretending he was negotiating with the EU to get a Brexit deal when it was proved he was not.

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Ian Murray is the Labour MP for Edinburgh South. Picture: Scott Taylor

And late last month I wrote that “it’s dictators that shut down parliaments and not democrats” in response to the Prime Minister taking the unprecedented step of suspending parliament for five weeks.

Well, the events in the Supreme Court this week have proved beyond all reasonable doubt that Boris Johnson is all too economical with the truth and that our courts will always protect the public against dictatorial and powerful governments.

The thing is, Boris Johnson has constantly lied to the public, Parliament, and his own party to get his way and it has finally caught up with him. In essence, he has now been found in the highest court in the UK to have lied to the Queen.

Not only did 11 of the UK’s most senior judges rule that the suspension of Parliament was “unlawful” but the prorogation, in effect, never happened.

The result is that our courts have said that parliamentarians need to be able to do their jobs on behalf of their constituents and the Prime Minister was preventing that.

Little did I know a few weeks ago, when I signed an affidavit for the case in the Scottish Court of Session. that it would have such a profound and historic impact.

So I am now back at Parliament representing my constituents and holding this out-of-control Government to account.

All of this came about, don’t forget, from the Prime Minister trying to deliver the damaging no-deal Brexit he has always desired.

I speak to constituents every single day and when I’m knocking on doors in Edinburgh at the weekends the message is clear – Parliament is a mess. I don’t disagree with that in a general sense, but I always argue that parliament is doing its job. Brexit has split the country down the middle, so it is no surprise that parliament is also split.

Parliament is adamant that it won’t allow any Prime Minister to deliver a no-deal or bad-deal Brexit as that was not what was on offer at the EU referendum and is not in the national interest. That is why we haven’t left the EU yet. Parliament is doing its job more effectively than at any time in modern political history.

As I said at the fantastic march for Europe rally in Edinburgh on Saturday afternoon, “Let’s be positive, we haven’t left [the EU] yet, we won’t be leaving on October 31, and if I have anything to do with it we will get a final say confirmatory referendum with the option to remain and we won’t be leaving at all.”

It is Parliament that has ensured we haven’t left yet, and it is a majority of MPs in the House of Commons who will deliver that public vote.

All this comes to a key point about a general election. We simply can’t agree an election until we know a no-deal is off the table with a Brexit extension to January 31. Despite the “Benn Act” becoming law, Boris Johnson has said he may not comply. Given what has happened in court this week how can anyone trust him again?

It is because we can’t trust him that we need parliament sitting to ensure we don’t leave on October 31. That is the only way to prevent a no-deal scenario.

After that, my view is that we should have the referendum on any deal Parliament passes with the option to remain and then a general election. That way we can have a proper debate about the future direction of the country rather than an election dominated by Brexit that will become a pseudo-referendum in any case.

But who knows what will happen next week?

Ian Murray is the Labour MP for Edinburgh South