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Brexit: John Major tells supreme court it would be 'naive' to believe Boris Johnson on prorogation -

World news | The Guardian

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including the final day of the supreme court hearing to determine if Boris Johnson’s five-week suspension of parliament was lawful

Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, has said Brussels needs to show more flexibility in its approach to Brexit negotiations. Speaking to business leaders while on a visit to Spain, he said:

A rigid approach now at this point is no way to progress a deal and the responsibility sits with both sides to find a solution.

We are committed to carving out a landing zone and we stand ready to share relevant texts. But it must be in the spirit of negotiation with flexibility and with a negotiating partner that itself is willing to compromise.

As a Daily Telegraph columnist in the 1990s Boris Johnson was one of the many journalists on the Tory right who used to treat the then prime minister, John Major, with scorn. More than 20 years on Major finally has the chance to get his own back because we are going to witness the extraordinary spectacle of a former Conservative prime minister going to court to argue that the current Conservative prime minister has not been telling the truth. The word extraordinary is cropping up rather frequently in Brexit coverage at the moment, but it is very hard to think of a precedent for this.

Major will not actually be addressing the court himself. The supreme court is an appeal court, and it does not take evidence from witnesses. But Edward Garnier QC, now Lord Garnier, a former Tory solicitor general, will be making a submission on his behalf. It is not clear yet whether or not Major himself will be in court to listen to the proceedings.

The current factual picture, on the material which is available and with regard to the absence of evidence which ought to be available but has not been provided, is deeply concerning. The court is under no obligation to approach this case on the artificially naïve basis that the handful of disclosed documents, the contents of which nobody has been prepared to verify with a statement of truth, should nevertheless be assumed to be entirely accurate and complete when even members of the cabinet do not appear to believe them ... It would also be wrong to proceed on that basis, because it would mean that the real issue that has arisen on the facts would not be resolved.

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September 19th 2019, 4:59 am
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