Dominic Grieve claims Boris Johnson will be SACKED by the QUEEN if he refuses to ask the EU for a Brexit delay
- Former Tory attorney general said PM will be ‘out in five minutes’ if he breaks law
- He said courts will move ‘very quickly’ if PM fails to comply with anti-No Deal law
- Mr Grieve said the Queen would sack Mr Johnson if he refused to delay Brexit
Dominic Grieve today claimed Boris Johnson will be sacked by the Queen if he refuses to comply with an anti-No Deal law.
The former Tory attorney general said the courts would move ‘very quickly’ if Mr Johnson tried to ignore rebel legislation forcing him to ask the EU for a Brexit delay if the two sides have not struck an accord in the run up to October 31.
Mr Grieve said that if the PM then tried to disregard instructions from the courts the monarch would be forced to step in and dismiss him.
Mr Johnson and his allies have long insisted that the government will comply with what is on the UK statute book.
But the Prime Minister has also repeatedly said that he still intends to deliver on his ‘do or die’ pledge to take Britain out of the EU by Halloween, with or without a deal.
The fact that Mr Johnson’s two positions appear to be at odds with each other has led many critics to conclude that the PM could try to find a way around the rebel legislation.
Mr Grieve told Sky News that the consequences of taking such a course of action would be swift and dramatic.
Dominic Grieve, pictured in Manchester today, said the Queen would sack Boris Johnson if he failed to comply with an anti-No Deal law
Mr Johnson, pictured today, said said the government will comply with the law but he has also insisted he still intends to deliver on his pledge to deliver Brexit by October 31 ‘do or die’ and with or without a deal
How could the PM try to bypass the Remainer rebel Brexit law?
The Remainer rebel law obliges Boris Johnson to ask the EU for an extension if no agreement has been reached by October 19.
Various ways have been suggested for getting around the provisions – but they all appear fairly far-fetched.
Send two letters
The legislation dictates that the PM must send a letter to Brussels asking for an extension until January 31.
But Boris Johnson could opt to send two letters – one saying what Parliament had ordered him to do, and another stating why he did not believe the EU should grant a delay.
In reality, EU leaders already know the premier does not want more time, so it might to little to sway their decision.
Get MPs to vote for a deal
One of the more far-fetched ideas has been to propose a spurious deal to Parliament. If it was voted through, that would technically fulfil the terms of the legislation, although there would be no actual agreement with the EU.
However, Mr Johnson has a majority of minus 43 – and it is hard to see Remainers being tricked by the ploy.
Declare an emergency
The Civil Contingencies Act has provisions for ministers to get sweeping powers to deal with crises.
There have been claims Mr Johnson could use it to suspend the Benn Act until after October 31, allowing the UK to crash out with No Deal.
But lawyers have derided this scheme, saying the definition of an emergency is not met and courts would simply strike the move down.
Ignore the law
Mr Johnson could just disobey the law, and refuse to ask for an extension.
However, he would face resignations from – at the very least – Justice Secretary Robert Buckland.
The courts would step in and order him to comply, and could empower the Cabinet Secretary or – under one bizarre scenario – Speaker John Bercow – to send the letter on behalf of the government.
Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve says that if it came to it, the Queen would sack the PM and replace him with someone who would obey the law.
The law, known as the Benn Act, will require the PM to write a letter to the EU on October 19 seeking a Brexit delay if No Deal looks likely.
Asked what would happen if Mr Johnson simply refused to write that letter, Mr Grieve said: ‘He would be taken to court and a writ of mandamus would be issued against him and he would be told that he has, as a matter of law, to write the letter.
‘The case could go to the Supreme Court and I suspect the courts could deal with it very quickly.’
Mr Grieve, one of 21 Tory MPs who were stripped of the Conservative whip after backing the bid to block No Deal, said it ‘doesn’t matter’ even if Mr Johnson said he was willing to go to prison to stick to his ‘do or die’ promise.
He said: ‘At that stage the Cabinet Secretary and the Civil Service would refuse to work for him.
‘I assume the Attorney General and the Lord Chancellor will have resigned because it is such a flagrant breach of the law.’
He continued: ‘There is no question of putting the Prime Minister on trial. It is a question of the court ordering the Prime Minister to do something as a matter of law.
‘The Supreme Court, Her Majesty’s judges, telling the Prime Minister that as a matter of law he has to do something.’
Asked what would happen if Mr Johnson refused to bow to the court’s order, Mr Grieve said: ‘He will be out in five minutes. He will be dismissed.’
Asked if that meant the Queen would step in, the former Tory Cabinet minister replied: ‘Yes. I think it is a rather hypothetical position.
‘If he intends to continue behaving in his completely ludicrous fashion, yes perhaps, but I think that quite a few things will happen between now and then which would prevent it from happening.’
Mr Grieve suggested there was ultimately no way for the government to avoid complying with the Benn Act.
‘There will be a prime minister in place to be able to request that extension,’ he said.
‘If it is not the present Prime Minister who ought to do it then it will have to be somebody else.’
Sajid Javid today suggested the government does have a plan to try to bypass the Remainer legislation against No Deal.
The Chancellor said it is still ‘possible’ to honour the PM’s ‘do or die’ vow but he refused to give details of how Mr Johnson proposed to get around the law.
Mr Javid told ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme: ‘It’s part of our strategy to leave on October 31st – we are clear we will be leaving. It’s our policy.’
Does the Queen have the power to sack a prime minister?
British politics is currently in uncharted territory with nobody in Westminster 100 per cent certain what will happen in the run up to the October 31 Brexit deadline.
Much of the current debate centres on what will happen if Boris Johnson defies an anti-No Deal law in order to fulfil his ‘do or die’ pledge.
Dominic Grieve today claimed the Queen would ultimately step in and sack the PM if Mr Johnson refused to comply with what is on the UK statute book.
But constitutional experts are split on what the Queen’s precise powers would be in such a scenario, mainly because such an eventuality has never previously been considered.
Some experts believe the Queen does have the ability to sack a premier but Buckingham Palace would be incredibly reluctant to ever get to that position – and for obvious reasons.
The more likely route to ousting a PM in such circumstances would start with Parliament.
If Mr Johnson refused to ask the EU for a Brexit delay and then refused an instruction from the courts to comply with the so-called Benn Act, MPs could try to oust the PM with a vote of no confidence.
Assuming that vote succeeded, Mr Johnson would then be expected to quit as PM.
If he still refused to walk away, it would be up to MPs to show that there was an alternative government capable of commanding a majority in the House of Commons waiting in the wings.
If an MP emerged who was able to demonstrate that they could form a government it is thought at that point the Queen could step in and tell Mr Johnson to make way for a successor.