Tuesday 15 October 2019

'This is another one of those meltdown moments for this British government' - Sinn Fein responds to prorogation ruling

Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O'Neill outside the party's headquarters in Belfast, as they react to the Supreme Court ruling that suspending Parliament was unlawful. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O'Neill outside the party's headquarters in Belfast, as they react to the Supreme Court ruling that suspending Parliament was unlawful. Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Michael McHugh

The UK Government has suffered a "meltdown" moment, Sinn Fein said, as Boris Johnson faced calls from critics across the Irish Sea to resign.

The Supreme Court's ruling that the suspension of the British parliament was unlawful shows the embattled British Prime Minister has lost control of his own agenda, Sinn Fein vice-president Michelle O'Neill said.

Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster has been one of the British premier's staunchest defenders but she said Tuesday's judgment against the suspension, or prorogation, of Parliament should be respected.

MPs are expected to return to Westminster for a sitting on Wednesday.

Mrs O'Neill reiterated calls for the Prime Minister to resign.

"What this demonstrates for me is more of the chaos, the dysfunction, the mess that is happening and unfolding day on day in Westminster.

"It clearly again demonstrates that this British Government has lost control of its own agenda.

"It is a constitutional crisis, we have been saying that for some time and I believe this is another one of those meltdown moments for this British Government."

Supreme Court president Lady Hale said the effect on democracy of the Prime Minister's suspension had been extreme.

The UK's highest court cleared the way for the speedy resumption of parliamentary business.

The ruling prompted a chorus of criticism of the Prime Minister from pro-Remain parties in Northern Ireland.

The Prime Minister's DUP allies have previously backed his position.

On Tuesday Mrs Foster said: "We have always respected the principle of the separation of powers upon which our constitutional law is founded.

"Therefore the judgment of the Supreme Court has to be respected.

"Our focus must remain: - Defend the Union - Deliver Brexit - Restore Devolution."

Nationalist SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the Prime Minister was unfit for office.

"Today's ruling at the Supreme Court confirms that he acted unlawfully to undermine the democratic accountability and scrutiny of his Government at a critical time for these islands," he said.

"Full scrutiny of this Government and its plans for a hard Brexit must now be restored and challenged immediately.

"Johnson must be removed from office and Brexit called to a halt.

"The best way to do that is through an election.

"Let people have their say on the actions of this Tory/DUP Government."

PA Media

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