It’s all out war in the Conservative party this morning, after the former Tory Prime Minister John Major announced that he was joining a legal action (started by the Remain campaigner Gina Miller) which will argue that Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament was unlawful.
In his statement Major grandly stated that:
‘I promised to that, if the Prime Minister prorogued parliament in order to prevent Members from opposing his Brexit plans, I would seek judicial review of his action.’
And went on to add that his experience of having ‘served in government as a minister and prime minister’ would allow him to assist the legal action.
That’s certainly one way to put it, though Mr Steerpike isn’t sure Major’s own experience as PM will exactly strengthen the Remain campaigners’ claim that Boris Johnson is acting out of turn…
Back in 1997, John Major came under intense criticism after he called for the prorogation of parliament, which conveniently buried a report about to be published on the ‘cash for questions’ scandal. According to the Guardian at the time, Major was warned by Paddy Ashdown that it would be ‘deeply damaging to the reputation of the Government if people thought parliament had been sent away 19 days early in order to prevent the report being published.’
Perhaps Major can explain to the courts why it was fine for him to prorogue parliament back then, but it’s not fine for Boris Johnson to do so now?