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'This Parliament is a dead Parliament': Attorney general says MPs have no 'moral right' to be in the Commons

The attorney general has said Parliament is a "disgrace" and claimed MPs have no "moral right" to be in the Commons, after they were ordered to return by the Supreme Court in a bombshell legal ruling.

His comments come ahead of a Commons address by Boris Johnson, who was forced to fly home early from the US in order to face angry MPs.

Geoffrey Cox also faced questions about his legal advice which indicated the five-week suspension - known as prorogation - would be within the law.

Mr Cox told MPs he will consider whether the public interest might require a "greater disclosure" of advice given to the Government on the prorogation.

But he railed against the "dead Parliament" claiming MPs had no "moral right" to remain in the Commons, try to "block 17.4 million people's votes" and refuse to allow an election.

He went on: "This Parliament should have the courage to face the electorate, but it won't because so many of them, are really all about preventing us leaving the European Union.

"But the time is coming, Mr Speaker, when even these turkeys won't be able to prevent Christmas."

He suggested a third attempt by Mr Johnson to call an election "will be coming before the House shortly".

The prime minister will be greeted by a political storm when he enters the Commons, with MPs likely to demand for his resignation.

Boris Johnson flew back from New York to face MPs in Westminster. Credit: PA

Downing Street has insisted there was no question of him standing aside, despite the Supreme Court ruling which said there was no "reasonable justification" for his advice to the Queen to prorogue Parliament for five weeks.

Michael Gove, the government's lead on no-deal Brexit preparations, told ITV News Mr Johnson shouldn’t apologise to the Queen or the British people for the unlawful decision.

He told Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt the government "respects" the Supreme Court judgement but said other legal bodies disagree with it.

He said: "I don't think that Boris should apologise, I think we should just all reflect on this judgement."

He added: "I think it's also important to bear in mind that there were other senior judges... who actually said that the government's position was fine".

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland moved to defend the judiciary in the wake of the Supreme Court decision, saying personal attacks on judges are "completely unacceptable".

Attorney General Cox - who advised that prorogation was legal - said he accepts the Supreme Court judgment, but insists the government acted "in good faith".

Speaking in the Commons, he said: "If every time I lost a case, I was called upon to resign, I would probably never have had a practice."

He added he will consider whether the public interest might require a "greater disclosure" of advice given to the Government on the prorogation of Parliament.

Despite the justice secretary's warning against attacks on the judiciary, Tory MP Desmond Swayne said he thinks the Supreme Court should be abolished.

He said it "well overstepped the mark" in its prorogation judgement and said the next Conservative manifesto "should have a commitment to abolish the Supreme Court".

  • Watch live as MPs debate in the Commons after the Supreme Court said they could return:

Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn announced he would call a vote of no confidence in the government, as soon as a no-deal Brexit was taken off the table.

He says the vote will only be called after Mr Johnson has complied with the so-called Benn Bill, which demands the PM requests a Brexit extension from the EU if a deal is not agreed, or no deal is not approved by Parliament.

"Until it is very clear that the application will be made, per the legislation, to the EU to extend our membership to at least January, then we will continue pushing for that and that is our priority," Mr Corbyn told BBC.

He added: "When that has been achieved we will then be ready with a motion of no confidence."

Regarding no-deal Brexit, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Mr Gove answered questions from MPs on Operation Yellowhammer - the government's worst case contingency plan.

He was repeatedly asked for updates on the document, which was published before Parliament was suspended.

Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said: "Just before we were shut down, an order was made that the Government should produce all the documents prepared within Her Majesty's Government since July 23 relating to Operation Yellowhammer."

Mr Starmer said if there are "updated" documents, these should be disclosed.

He added: "The Government is spending a lot of money telling businesses and the country to get ready, and they want to know what they are to get ready for, and they need to know what could happen so they can prepare."

Prime Minister Johnson has insisted he will not seek another Brexit delay, meaning it's unclear what will come next.

But Mr Cox said the government will abide by the act if it can't get a deal through Parliament.

Jeremy Corbyn says he'll only trigger a no confidence vote if no deal is taken off the table. Credit: PA

As ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston says, if the prime minister shares that position, then "no-deal on October would seem to be dead 31".

But a senior source told ITV News Political Reporter Shehab Khan the UK will leave the EU, "no ifs, no buts".

The source said: "One view is that the PM will be forced to send a letter to stop us from leaving on Oct 31.

"That is not our view, we will be leaving on Oct 31st - no ifs, no buts."

The court’s ruling that the prorogation was “void and of no effect” meant there was no need for the Government to formally recall Parliament.

Instead Commons Speaker John Bercow simply announced MPs would resume sitting at 11.30am on Wednesday.

Mr Johnson spoke to the Queen after the verdict, according to a Government source who would not comment on whether he apologised to the monarch.

Meanwhile, in an unusual turn, former minister Tobias Elwood told Daniel Hewitt he believes Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement should "absolutely" be brought back before Parliament.

He said MPs should be locked inside the Commons and only let out once this is sorted, and says once a deal is done the country "will celebrate more than when England won the World Cup in 1966."