Day of drama expected at Westminster as MPs return to House of Commons

MPs have returned to the house. Picture: TSPL
MPs have returned to the house. Picture: TSPL
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MPs have been summoned back to parliament following yesterday's shock ruling from the Supreme Court that Boris Johnson’s prorogation was unlawful.

A day of drama will culminate in a statement to MPs by the Prime Minister on the damning judgement, with Mr Johnson having flown overnight from New York to return to Westminster.

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Commons Speaker John Bercow will set the tone with his remarks at the opening of the sitting - he stretched the convention of the Speaker’s neutrality by protesting the prorogation when it was announced.

And SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who led the successful legal action at the Supreme Court, will get the first go at holding ministers to account, with an urgent question to Attorney General Geoffrey Cox about the legal advice he gave to the Prime Minister, which informed the decision to suspend parliament.

Opposition parties are also likely to lodge a request for an urgent debate under Standing Order 24 to demand the publication of that legal advice. If it is approved by Speaker Bercow, that debate could take place as early as this afternoon.

Opposition MPs are also set to embarrass the government by refusing a short recess to allow the Conservative Party conference, which is due to begin in Manchester on Sunday, to go ahead.

Labour says it will not vote for a recess unless Mr Johnson goes to Brussels to request a delay to Brexit; without approval from parliament, ministers and MPs will be forced to shuttle back and forth between London and Manchester to avoid missing key votes.

READ MORE: Joanna Cherry: ‘Now we must make sure Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans fail’

Over the next few days, the government is likely to hold another vote requesting a snap election, which Labour says it will resist until a Brexit delay is “locked in”.

And with Downing Street insisting it will press ahead with a Queen’s Speech, allowing it to set out a new legislative agenda ahead of a snap election. That will mean another prorogation - this time a short one to close the parliamentary session

MPs will seek to hold ministers to account not just on Brexit, but on other issues as well - there will be five oral ministerial statements, including on the collapse of Thomas Cook and the security situation in Iran.

Michael Gove is also set to update MPs on ‘Operation Yellowhammer’, the government’s no-deal Brexit preparations. The government faces the threat of being held in contempt of parliament over what opposition MPs claim was only a partial response to a demand for the publication of Operation Yellowhammer documents before prorogation.