Boris Johnson denies lying to the queen about Brexit, decision to suspend parliament

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday denied lying to Queen Elizabeth II as he continues to face pressure over his decision to suspend Parliament in the midst of the ongoing Brexit crisis.

Johnson suspended Parliament from Tuesday until mid-October, something he claims is necessary to prepare for a new parliamentary session and a new legislative agenda.

Because of an archaic quirk of Britain’s constitutional monarchy, to do this he needed to ask foe the queen’s permission and explain his reasons for the suspension — the longest since World War II.

On Wednesday, the highest civil court in Scotland ruled that this advice and the suspension were unlawful because it was clearly designed to “stymie parliamentary scrutiny” of the government.

Asked in a BBC interview, “Did you lie to the queen when you asked her to [suspend] Parliament?” Johnson said, “Absolutely not.”

RELATED: Queen Elizabeth meets Boris Johnson


LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 24: Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government in Buckingham Palace on July 24, 2019 in London, England. The British monarch remains politically neutral and the incoming Prime Minister visits the Palace to satisfy the Queen that they can form her government by being able to command a majority, holding the greater number of seats, in Parliament. Then the Court Circular records that a new Prime Minister has been appointed.(Photo by Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 24: Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government in Buckingham Palace on July 24, 2019 in London, England. The British monarch remains politically neutral and the incoming Prime Minister visits the Palace to satisfy the Queen that they can form her government by being able to command a majority, holding the greater number of seats, in Parliament. Then the Court Circular records that a new Prime Minister has been appointed.(Photo by Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London on July 24, 2019, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government. – Boris Johnson took over as Britain’s prime minister Wednesday, promising to pull his country out of the European Union on October 31 by any means necessary. (Photo by Victoria Jones / POOL / AFP)(Photo credit should read VICTORIA JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London on July 24, 2019, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government. – Boris Johnson took over as Britain’s prime minister Wednesday, promising to pull his country out of the European Union on October 31 by any means necessary. (Photo by Victoria Jones / POOL / AFP)(Photo credit should read VICTORIA JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 24: Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government in Buckingham Palace on July 24, 2019 in London, England. The British monarch remains politically neutral and the incoming Prime Minister visits the Palace to satisfy the Queen that they can form her government by being able to command a majority, holding the greater number of seats, in Parliament. Then the Court Circular records that a new Prime Minister has been appointed.(Photo by Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 24: Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government in Buckingham Palace on July 24, 2019 in London, England. The British monarch remains politically neutral and the incoming Prime Minister visits the Palace to satisfy the Queen that they can form her government by being able to command a majority, holding the greater number of seats, in Parliament. Then the Court Circular records that a new Prime Minister has been appointed.(Photo by Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 24: Newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson leaves Buckingham Palace after an audience with Queen Elizabeth II where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government in Buckingham Palace on July 24, 2019 in London, England. The British monarch remains politically neutral and the incoming Prime Minister visits the Palace to satisfy the Queen that they can form her government by being able to command a majority, holding the greater number of seats, in Parliament. Then the Court Circular records that a new Prime Minister has been appointed.(Photo by Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 24: Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government in Buckingham Palace on July 24, 2019 in London, England. The British monarch remains politically neutral and the incoming Prime Minister visits the Palace to satisfy the Queen that they can form her government by being able to command a majority, holding the greater number of seats, in Parliament. Then the Court Circular records that a new Prime Minister has been appointed.(Photo by Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London ON jULY 24, 2019, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government. – Theresa May is set to formally resign on July 24 after taking her final PMQs in the House of Commons with Boris Johnson taking charge at 10 Downing Street on a mission to deliver Brexit by October 31 with or without a deal. (Photo by Victoria Jones / POOL / AFP)(Photo credit should read VICTORIA JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain’s former Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip are greeted by Hon Edward Young, private secretary to the Queen, and Major Nana Twumasi-Ankrah, Household Cavalry Regiment, as she arrives at Buckingham Palace in London for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II to formally resign as Prime Minister, at Buckingham Palace in central London onJuly 24, 2019. – Theresa May is set to formally resign on July 24 after taking her final PMQs in the House of Commons with Boris Johnson taking charge at 10 Downing Street on a mission to deliver Brexit by October 31 with or without a deal. (Photo by Yui Mok / POOL / AFP)(Photo credit should read YUI MOK/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain’s former Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip are greeted are greeted by Major Nana Twumasi-Ankrah, Household Cavalry Regiment (L) and Lady Susan Hussey, the Queen’s lady in waiting, (R), as she arrives at Buckingham Palace in London for an audience with Queen Elizabeth II to formally resign as Prime Minister, at Buckingham Palace in central London onJuly 24, 2019. – Theresa May is set to formally resign on July 24 after taking her final PMQs in the House of Commons with Boris Johnson taking charge at 10 Downing Street on a mission to deliver Brexit by October 31 with or without a deal. (Photo by Yui Mok / POOL / AFP)(Photo credit should read YUI MOK/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London on July 24, 2019, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government. – Theresa May is set to formally resign on July 24 after taking her final PMQs in the House of Commons with Boris Johnson taking charge at 10 Downing Street on a mission to deliver Brexit by October 31 with or without a deal. (Photo by Victoria Jones / POOL / AFP)(Photo credit should read VICTORIA JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

TOPSHOT – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II welcomes newly elected leader of the Conservative party, Boris Johnson during an audience in Buckingham Palace, London ON jULY 24, 2019, where she invited him to become Prime Minister and form a new government. – Theresa May is set to formally resign on July 24 after taking her final PMQs in the House of Commons with Boris Johnson taking charge at 10 Downing Street on a mission to deliver Brexit by October 31 with or without a deal. (Photo by Victoria Jones / POOL / AFP)(Photo credit should read VICTORIA JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

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The comments put the prime minister at odds with three senior judges at Scotland’s Court of Session, where the case was heard.

The court ruled that the true motive for suspending Parliament was not, as Johnson told the queen, to pave the way for new legislation, but in fact designed to stop lawmakers scrutinizing his Brexit plans, which include the possibility of a highly controversial “no deal” scenario where the U.K. leaves with no divorce agreement.

“This was an egregious case of a clear failure to comply with generally accepted standards of behavior of public authorities,” the court’s summary said.

Defending himself Thursday, the prime minister noted that a parallel court case was rejected by England’s High Court. This and the Scottish case will be heard at the U.K.’s Supreme Court on Tuesday. Meanwhile on Thursday, a separate legal challenge to a no-deal Brexit was rejected in Northern Ireland.

Ministers and advisers in Johnson’s government have received criticism for suggesting the Scottish court’s decision was politically motivated. Johnson said this wasn’t his view, saying the U.K. legal system was “one of the great glories of our constitution. They are independent.”

Johnson says he wants to negotiate a new Brexit deal with Europe but claims he will willing to leave without a deal on Oct. 31 if necessary. This is despite the government’s own worst-case-scenario forecast — which it was forced to publish Wednesday — saying it could bring economic pain, civil unrest and shortages of food.

The legal cases have been launched by those determined to stop the prime minister continue with what they see as a reckless course of action.

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