tv BBC News at Six BBC News September 24, 2019 6:00pm-6:31pm BST
a unanimous and damning verdict from the 11 judges of the supreme court — they say the government acted unlawfully when it suspended parliament. the prime minister's advice to her majesty was unlawful, void, and of no effect. mps celebrate outside court and will go back to parliament tomorrow. boris johnson says he'll abide by the ruling but he's not happy about it. i have the highest respect, of course, for ourjudiciary and for the independence of our courts but i must say i strongly disagree with thisjudgment. at the labour conference, jeremy corbyn joins other opposition leaders in calling for the prime minister to quit.
borisjohnson has been found to have misled the country. this unelected prime minister should now resign. away from the drama at westminster, what do voters make of it all? you just don't mess with parliament, straight forward. at least boris johnson is trying to get something done. the question now begs where do we go from here? well, that's the question many would like answered. we'll bring you the latest on this developing story and what it means for brexit. and in sport... major changes for england's second rugby world cup game — only five of the players who started the win over tonga will begin against the usa.
good evening and welcome to the bbc news at six. in a momentous ruling, the supreme court has ruled that the government acted unlawfully when it suspended parliament. in a strongly worded and unanimous verdict, the 11 most seniorjudges in the uk concluded that the decision to prorogue parliament for five weeks was unlawful. the president of the supreme court lady hale said it had the effect of "frustrating or preventing" parliament from carrying out its constitutional functions. and that, because it happened in the run up to the brexit deadline on october 31st, it had an "extreme effect" on our democracy. the prime minister says while he disagrees with the ruling, he will abide by it but opposition leaders are calling on him to resign. our political editor laura kuenssberg has this report on the supreme court's dramatic ruling and what it could mean for brexit.
the storm burst, well and truly. campaigners and lawyers gathering at the highest court in the land... ready to pass judgment on the prime minister. when it came, the ruling was polite but devastating too. borisjohnson broke the law. was polite but devastating too. boris johnson broke the law. the decision to advise her majesty to prorogue parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification. jubilation outside in the rain. it restores some kind of hope, doesn't it? who needs hard booze when you have judgment like that. suspicious he
had prorogue parliament to close bait on brexit which he denied. the effect on the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme. no justification for taking action with such an extreme effect has been put before the court. the conclusion... it was illegal, so it never happened at all. the prime minister's advice to her majesty was unlawful, void and of no effect, parliament has not been prorogued. the courts traditionally allergic to politics and stay well away, but the other side's legal dream came true. the ruling today speaks volumes. this prime minister must open the doors of parliament tomorrow. mps must get back and be brave and bold in holding this unscrupulous government
to account. thank you. so what next? immediate calls to new york at 3000 miles away, for the prime minister's audacious move condemned by the court to be a reason to resign. for some of his allies though it is no emergency. there has been a court case in our country this morning which i think some of you may have picked up on. another chance to suggest the establishment is trying to stop him. i have the highest respect of course for ourjudiciary and the independence of our courts, but i must say i strongly disagree with thisjudgment, but i must say i strongly disagree with this judgment, and we but i must say i strongly disagree with thisjudgment, and we in but i must say i strongly disagree with this judgment, and we in the but i must say i strongly disagree with thisjudgment, and we in the uk will not be deterred from getting on and delivering on the will of the people to come out of the eu on 0ctober people to come out of the eu on october the 31st.
a number ten source told me the supreme court has made a serious mistake extending its reach into political matters. attacking the judiciary, when downing street and him are under attack themselves. across the atlantic every politician is trying to peer into the future. the opposition sniff opportunity. the opposition sniff opportunity. the supreme court has just announced its decision. the labour leader's conference in brighton disrupted and delighted by the news. and it shows that the prime minister has acted wrongly in shutting down parliament. it demonstrates a contempt for democracy and an abuse of power by him, andi democracy and an abuse of power by him, and i invite borisjohnson in the historic words to consider his
position. johnson out, they chanted. 0ne position. johnson out, they chanted. one member of the government told the bbc the prime minister should quit, but that is far from widespread in tory circles at this stage. instead, mps replacing the tourists in the house of commons, taking their seats on the green benches themselves. there are still quite a few tourists in the chamber, i'm just talking to colleagues and trying to find out what we are doing but we need to go back to holding the government to account.|j but we need to go back to holding the government to account. i am in a taxi going back to parliament, which should never have been suspended, it was not suspended so we should be backin was not suspended so we should be back in there doing ourjobs. the official invitation on this crazy day was issued with customary formality. last—minute pump in the rain. i have instructed the house authorities to prepare not for the recall the prorogation was unlawful and is void, to prepare for the
resumption of the business of the house of commons. the house of commons sits tomorrow, and that it does so at 11:30am. once mps have raced back here tomorrow, what will they do? the alliance of former tories might try to take control again after the government's approach went so wrong. that advice was poor and i think some of his advisers will have to leave. they are still coordinating with the opposition parties. he does not want to be held to account, he doesn't wa nt to to be held to account, he doesn't want to have to answer questions about his disastrous brexit policy, and in doing so he was prepared to mislead the queen and indeed the whole country. if boris johnson won't do the decent thing, i think parliament has a duty to come together to force him out of office through a vote of confidence. there is no sign of labour doing that
quite yet, and look who is in boris johnson's corner. he's not going anywhere. a place in power he might have dreamt of for years but after only two months it is proving harder thanit only two months it is proving harder than it looked. laura joins us now from inside the houses of parliament. you called it a crazy day, where does this leave borisjohnson, the government and what about brexit? there is certainly never anything like the kind of surprises on this political process at the moment, things seem to be getting more dramatic and serious. the court stopped short of accusing boris johnson of misleading the queen, calling him a liar, but other than that thisjudgment calling him a liar, but other than that this judgment was about as bad for the government as they could have dreamt in their worst nightmare. by any normal comparison, this is a terrible defeat for the prime minister, really bruising event that could do great damage to
his reputation. certainly lots of mps in his own party are extremely worried about the message this sends. we are not living a normal political times and people inside boris johnson's bunker political times and people inside borisjohnson‘s bunker believe this could in time help them make the case they are trying to put to the country at large, which is that borisjohnson, they claim, is the only person determined to get brexit done whatever the cost. that is what he said that got him into number ten, elected by the tory membership, and that is how he will be true to the promise he made. anyone standing in their way, whether it is opposition mps, everyone in this building, or thejudges in the supreme court, they only add to that impression of him battling these obstacles impression of him battling these o bsta cles to impression of him battling these obstacles to try to keep his promise. but to say that is a gamble, that strategy, is a serious understatement. it is ruthless
perhaps, risky certainly, but don't rule out more audacious moves. mps will be back here tomorrow morning and no doubt they will be asking more questions and trying to put him under pressure over his brexit strategy. just as boris johnson's tea m strategy. just as boris johnson's team is determined to carry on like this, plenty of people will be back here determined to make life is hard for him as they possibly can. laura kuenssberg in westminster, thank you. the decision by the supreme court is not only something of a bombshell for the government, it's also more strongly worded than many expected. so, what does it mean for the relationship between the courts and the government, and what impact could it have in the future? our home editor mark easton reports. what you're watching never happened. it may look as though in the small hours of september the 10th, the royal commissioners attended the house of lords to suspend or prorogue parliament, but today the most senior judges in the land said the ceremony was void and had no effect. ..to prorogue this present parliament.
when the royal commissioners walked into the house of lords, it was as if they'd walked in with a blank sheet of paper. parliament has not been prorogued. this is the unanimous judgment of all 11 justices. this was a constitutional thwack on the nose of government delivered by the judiciary on behalf of the uk parliament. thejustices made it clear this judgment was a one—off, but its implications will echo down british history. around parliament square in westminster, there are hidden power lines, a triangle of authorityjoining the houses of parliament, the government, focused on 10 downing steet, and thejudiciary and the supreme court. today the justices explained that a fundamental principle of british democracy is that the prime minister is accountable to parliament. they also stated that the courts had supervised the lawfulness of government for centuries. established in 2009 to replace
the law lords as the uk's most seniorjudicial body, today saw the supreme court beginning to flex its constitutional muscles. this is probably the biggest day in the history of the supreme court so far. with this unanimous judgment, the judges have really sat down a marker about their role as a constitutional court, as a check on government and a defender of parliamentary sovereignty. and although this will have profound repercussions for brexit, it's really much bigger than that. this is about how our parliamentary democracy works. booing traitor! the supreme court is crossing the line, meddling in politics, downing street suggested, but the justices were adamant that they had a responsibility to question the motives of the prime minister, pointing out he'd failed to submit a witness statement to explain under oath his reasons for suspending parliament. the only evidence the supreme court says it's had is this memo sent by nikki da costa, boris johnson's legal adviser,
recommending suspension. borisjohnson ticked "yes." this was not a normal prorogation in the run—up to the queen's speech. this is a completely proper constitutional procedure. whenjacob rees—mogg, as leader of the house of commons, went to balmoral to advise the queen to suspend parliament, advice she was bound to accept, the process was unlawful, the justices said. and in a direct criticism of boris johnson, the judgment suggested he'd ignored constitutional responsibilities in favour of party political interest. nowhere is there a hint that the prime minister, in giving advice to her majesty, is more than simply the leader of the government, seeking to promote its own policies, the justices said. it is not clear to us that any step is needed from the prime minister, but if it is, the court is pleased that his counsel have told the court that he will take all necessary steps to comply with the terms of any declaration made by this court. tomorrow morning, parliament
will sit once more, sovereign place in our democracy restored and enhanced. but it won't be a fresh dawn. today's judgment means it opens its doors as though the prime minster had never closed them. mark easton, bbc news, parliament square. so what happens next? well we do know that parliament will now resume tomorrow. the queen is then due to set out the government's future plans in a queen's speech on 0ctober14th. there are just three weeks before the prime minister is due to go to brussels for a summit on october 17th. in that time, he hopes he'll be able to negotiate a new brexit deal with the eu. the prime minister is still insisting we'll then leave the eu two weeks later on october 31st — come what may. but at the moment, if he doesn't get a brexit deal approved by parliament — by law, the government has to ask the eu for another brexit extension. but a lot could change between now and then, none of this is certain. in a moment, we'll
speak to our scotland correspondent lorna gordon, who's at the queen's balmoral residence, but first let's speak to our legal correspondent clive coleman, who is outside the supreme court. this unanimous decision was stronger than many expected. absolutely. let's pause and think of the enormity of what has happened here. a prime minister of the united kingdom has been found unanimously, by the highest court in the land, to have unlawfully advised the monarch of the realm to suspend the sovereign body in our constitution, that being parliament, with the effect that parliamentary business cannot take place. that points out the latest example of something called judicial review. a process whereby any of us can go in front of a court and ask independentjudges to review the decision of a public authority, it could be a minister, it could be the prime minister, and rule on whether or not that is lawful. and that points out arguably
one of the great constitutional clashes of our times between a powerful government, an executive on the one hand used to getting its way, and on the other, independent judges who threw the mechanism of judicial review can halt the juggernaut of government in its tracks if what ministers have done is unlawful. judges making political decisions, some will think so, but a firm reminder that nobody is above the rule of law. the queen has been pulled into this legal bombshell, since the court ruled the advice given to the queen by the prime minister was unlawful. there has been no comment or official reaction from the palace today on the supreme court ruling. remember, it is under a month since the three privy counsellors headed byjacob rees—mogg the three privy counsellors headed by jacob rees—mogg headed the three privy counsellors headed byjacob rees—mogg headed up to her summer byjacob rees—mogg headed up to her summer residence at del moral to adviser to prorogue parliament and while the queen has no leeway in prorogation, she has to follow the
advice of her ministers, her prime minister, the whole system of a constitutional monarchy is predicated on politicians not doing things that expose the queen to criticism or even question. and while the supreme court ruling did not go as far as the court of session ruling which suggested the prime minister had an improper purpose when he advised the queen to prorogue parliament, they stop short in affect of saying that boris johnson misled the queen. these will be uncomfortable days for the relationship between the government and the monarchy. we have looked ha rd and the monarchy. we have looked hard and we can find no precedent foran hard and we can find no precedent for an order hard and we can find no precedent foran order in hard and we can find no precedent for an order in council being declared unlawful, void and of no effect and it seems very unlikely that the queen would ever expect the order in council, the mechanism which suspended parliament, to be shut down. lorna, thank you. so away from the drama in westminster, what do the voters,
what do you make of what's happened? in stoke on trent, 70% of voters voted to leave in the referendum — 0ur political correspondent alex forsyth has spent the day there. bbc radio stoke. wherever the phone in, it seems there is a prevalent view. leave or remain, people are simply fed up with how brexit been handled. ijust don't know any more, i've lost the will to live. i can't be bothered with it. local electrician gary is a regular radio caller who doesn't think today's ruling will change many minds. i don't think tojoe public it will make one iota of difference. the same people backing boris will back him now. ijust think they should get on with it like most people. in stoke, such frustration is rife. more people voted here to leave than any other city in the uk, and there's as much anger at the slow wrangling westminster as there is at borisjohnson‘s actions. at least boris johnson's trying to get something
done. i think it's disgusting, what they're doing to him. i think he's a good prime minister. they should just back him and let him get on with it. even though the court said it's unlawful, he's effectively gone against the law? what he's done, they've said is unlawful but i think the guy has got the country at heart. he is trying to get us a deal and get us out of what we voted for. that's exactly the view number ten is counting on. they're strategy is to win support in areas that voted leave, like here in the midlands and the north, places the tories will target if there's an election, and where they hope boris johnson's do or die brexit attitude, even the fact he's pitting himself against parliament, will play well with voters. but that doesn't work everywhere. in altrincham, most people voted to remain and the prime minister's approach hasn't gone down well with with some. i'm a conservative, lifelong, and i haven't trusted the man for ever. so what we are getting is exactly what we deserved. we don't have the law in this country for nothing, you know? if he's done wrong,
he should be punished for it. exactly, he definitely should reconsider his position and change his tactics at little bit. back in stoke, these students attend staffordshire uni from across the country, all welcoming today's court ruling but knowing parliament won't provide simple answers. parliament is splitjust like the country, split down the middle. we are in this situation. we need to come up with a solid solution that everyone's going to agree on. we need everyone across—the—board to work together. that's hard at the moment with everybody at each other's necks but again, what brexit is doing, it's tearing communities apart. split views on the government's actions don't, of course, depend on location but frustration at the whole brexit process seems to be cross—country. alex forsyth, bbc news, stoke—on—trent. let's speak to our europe editor katya adler who's in brussels. what does the eu make of what's happened in court and what impact could it have on brexit? the ruling today raises all sorts of
questions for the eu. will boris johnson, their brexit negotiating partner stay in hisjob johnson, their brexit negotiating partner stay in his job and when might there be a general election, but what i've seen mainly today is the eu trying to put its hands over its ears and block out the noise. why is that? it sees today's ruling on what happens next in the uk as a domestic political matter. that's why the european commission did not wa nt to why the european commission did not want to comment on it today. the eu prefers to concentrate on where it does have a role to play, and that is in negotiations. today's ruling doesn't change very much. under eu law the eu negotiating partner is her majesties government, and boris johnson is still the head of that. eu leaders still want a brexit deal and would love it signed, sealed and delivered by the middle of next month as borisjohnson once as well, but they remain highly sceptical as we heard again today from the eu chief brexit negotiator. simply put, the two sides are still very far apart in talks and today's ruling by
the supreme court did nothing, of course, to change that. thank you. the labour leader jeremy corbyn addressed his party's conference this afternoon, a day earlier than scheduled following this morning's supreme court ruling against the government. criticising the prime minister over the unlawful suspension of parliament, mr corbyn called on the pm to resign before outlining his plans for a future labour government. 0ur chief political correspondent vicki young has more. he wants to be prime minister. they are desperate for him to be prime minister. and many here think that day has just come closer. it's been a difficult conference forjeremy corbyn but today he got plenty of new material for his hastily rescheduled speech. tomorrow, parliament will return. cheering the government will be held to account for what it has done. borisjohnson has been found
to have misled the country. this unelected prime minister should now resign. cheering and there was more. he thinks he's above us all. he's part of an elite that disdains democracy. i will tell you this, i don't think he is fit to be prime minister. applause so, what is mr corbyn going to do next? he could hold a vote of no confidence in boris johnson but for now he is reluctant to act. this crisis can only be settled with a general election. that election needs to take place as soon as this government's threat of a disastrous no deal is taken off the table. cheering
labour's disagreements over brexit have been on full display at this conference. they agree they want a second referendum but corbyn‘s top team is split over whether they should say now that they will campaign for remain. labour will end the brexit crisis by taking the decision back to the people with a choice, a credible leave alongside remain. that is not complicated. labour is a democratic party that trusts the people. but it's policies mr corbyn wants to focus on. labour would scrap prescription charges and introduce free personal care in england. there would be a £10 living wage and a huge renationalisation programme, plus a new system to provide affordable drugs for the nhs. we will create a new, publicly—owned generic drugs manufacturer to supply cheaper medicines to our nhs. mr corbyn said he wanted to put government on the side of the people. go forward to win an election for the people of this country.
cheering things are going badly for the prime minister but it has not been plain sailing for the labour leader, either. here, the crowd absolutely adore him, but back in parliament, he's a much more divisive figure. he cannot unite the opposition parties behind him and that makes getting rid of borisjohnson a whole lot harder. and jeremy corbyn is convinced there is an appetite for change. vicki young, bbc news, brighton. holidaymakers caught up in the collapse of thomas cook have faced demands by hotels for extra money to cover the cost of their holidays. as thousands more passengers were being flown home today, there have also been reports that many have not been returned to the airports they left britain from. there are now questions being asked of thomas cook's bosses amid criticism over their salaries and their management of the company. here's our transport correspondent, tom burridge. the operation to fly thomas cook
customers home, now in full swing. this check—in in mallorca on to a flight organized by the government. hotels like this one are owed money from thomas cook bookings. last night, staff demanded that guests who'd already paid for their entire holiday, cover the unpaid bills. caught up in it all, graham and claire. it wasn't a pleasant scene. so there was a bit of aggression from one of the reception staff demanding the money. 0bviously they're quite worried about not being paid themselves. the same story at this hotel in la nza rote. thomas cook staff, out of a job, tried to help, but some guests were forced to leave. at least one customer paid up. he'll have to claim back the £1,500. really surprised and shocked. i think everybody is really, certainly that people have actually had to leave the hotel. i've just been at the reception just before this call and the reception desk was full of people
and there was actually a security guard there as well. when the company went bust, its operation ground to a halt. the crews who flew these planes home one final time on sunday night, now looking for work. a pretty bad situation for everyone to be in. i think as we walked through the airport everybody knew, and a round of applause for everyone, so it's nice, but it's heartbreaking. this year i've been there 20 years but there's a lot people have been there an awful lot longer than me. and just everything that's wrong with big businesses is here had to see. some did do very well out of thomas cook. chief executive peter fankhauser made more than £8 million in five years. there will be a probe into the company's collapse. i've written to the insolvency service yesterday, asking them to speed up their investigation into whether the actions of directors played a part in the failure of thomas cook. flying 150,000 people home is complicated, but calm at this turkish
airport, and resilience. the manchester flight‘s full, right? yeah. still in her thomas cook uniform, unsure if she'll be paid. that's just thomas cook, isn't it? tom burridge, bbc news. let's take a brief look at some of today's other news. a national crime agency investigation, into the pro—brexit campaign group leave.eu and its founder aaron banks has found no evidence of criminal offences. the agency began investigating the group's funding after it was fined by the electoral commission last may. the duke and duchess of sussex have continued their visit to south africa. 0n the second day of the tour, they visited charities dealing with anti—poaching and mental health issues. heavy rain has led to six flood warnings across england, with dozens more areas told to prepare for possible problems. transport for london said the heavy rainfall had affected a number of roads across the capital, with flooding also reported on roads in southampton, birmingham, and liverpool. time for a look at the weather. here's matt taylor.
0ne one or two 0ne ortwo did one or two did see the sunshine today, but for others, oh, boy, did the rain come down. how wet? the wettest spot was wiltshire where we saw a month of rain fall in the space of saw a month of rain fall in the s pa ce of less saw a month of rain fall in the space of less than a day, 59 millimetres there, hence we've seen lots of flooding around and lots of surface water and let me show you the radar chart. still raining persistently across northern england and increasingly into southern scotland. away from that, thunderstorms across lincolnshire and east anglia going through, and that will move to southern counties of england and wales deny and more rain in those areas but this time the strengthening wind stop away from that, the rain will be persistent across eastern parts of scotland. the winds are lightjust across parts of scotland, northern ireland and northern england so here are few midnight but there could be dense fog in the morning. the fog not as much of an issue in the south because we will have strengthening winds. tomorrow's rush hour could start with gusts in excess of 50 mph