Boris Johnson's suspension of UK Parliament unlawful, Scottish court rules

By Peter Wilkinson, Ivana Kottasová and Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 5:19 p.m. ET, September 13, 2019
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1:08 p.m. ET, September 11, 2019

We're closing our live coverage

In his so-called "People's PMQs," Boris Johnson failed to directly mention the big news of the day -- that Scotland's highest court had ruled his prorogation of Parliament unlawful. You can read more about that here.

The shock ruling sets up a showdown at the UK's Supreme Court on Tuesday, where judges will decide whether to uphold or overrule the Scottish decision.

It's a twist befitting of Britain's chaotic Brexit saga, which has now spilled into the courts in dramatic fashion.

For now, we're bringing our live coverage to an end. Thanks for following along today.

1:07 p.m. ET, September 11, 2019

If Boris Johnson misled the Queen, it would be a new low. Even for him

Analysis by CNN's Luke McGee

Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Boris Johnson is having a rough old time. The man who pledged to clean up the UK's Brexit mess and finally leave the European Union -- do or die, remember -- has instead spent his first weeks in office being humiliated.

The decision by Scotland's highest civil court is the latest disaster, even leading to accusations that his government deliberately misled the Queen.

That in itself might not be illegal. But lying to one of the most loved people in the country is hardly a great look for a Prime Minister already up to his neck.

The ruling itself doesn't mean that Parliament will immediately be recalled. The UK's Supreme Court will hear a final appeal next week that will resolve the issue.

But it turns up the heat in the pressure cooker -- and provides Johnson's opponents with more evidence of his weakness and vulnerability.

Read more of Luke McGee's analysis here.

12:40 p.m. ET, September 11, 2019

Johnson says he's not seeking Northern Ireland-only backstop

Johnson also answered a question on the current state of the Irish border backstop in Brexit negotiations with the EU.

"The backstop is going to be removed, I very much hope. Or, I insist," Johnson said. "Because that's then only way to get a deal."

There's "no way" Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement will be brought back, he added.

And he addressed reporting in the British press that his government could be considering a Northern Ireland-only backstop, saying: "We will not accept, either, a Northern Ireland only backstop."

To a person who said they felt disenfranchised by the lack of progress over Brexit, Johnson said: "I'm on your side.

"We will work very hard for a deal .. we're making great progress," he added, citing talks with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar this week.

"The mood is changing .. there is movement under the keel of these talks," he added.

And that's it -- Johnson took a few more questions on domestic policy, and then signed off.

12:59 p.m. ET, September 11, 2019

Johnson rejects claim that he is anti-democratic

UK Prime Minister/Facebook
UK Prime Minister/Facebook

Boris Johnson is answering questions on his Facebook page, but he's so far avoided the elephant in the room: the Scottish court's decision on Wednesday that his prorogation of Parliament was unlawful.

His first question was on homelessness, with Johnson pledging to make the issue "one of the priorities of my government."

The next query Johnson picked was about the NHS -- giving him the chance to talk about another promised policy of his young government.

Then, Johnson turned to Brexit. He read out a question that asked: "Are you anti-democratic? ... how do you explain to the British people that you are now the leader of an authoritarian regime."

"I must respectfully disagree with you," he said, adding he is trying to implement the result of the Brexit vote.

"The politicians, us, Parliament, has so far failed to implement the people's will," Johnson said. He called that the "real failure" of Britain's democracy.

He adds that a Queen's Speech is needed to "push on" with his domestic agenda. "That's what the public, I think, want us to do.

"If opposition members of Parliament disagree with our approach then it is always open to them to take up the offer I made twice now ... that we should have an election," he added. He said they declined "for mysterious reasons" of their own.

12:04 p.m. ET, September 11, 2019

HAPPENING NOW: Boris Johnson hosting Facebook Live video

Boris Johnson is answering questions on a Facebook Live video. You can watch it here or follow on this page.

11:35 a.m. ET, September 11, 2019

Boris Johnson to hold a "People's PMQs" shortly

Boris Johnson will be hosting a "People's PMQs" Facebook Live video in the next hour, his official page has confirmed.

The Prime Minister used social media to answer questions from followers last month, and this is the second instalment.

The appearance will be especially interesting, given that Johnson could decide to discuss the Scottish courts' decision that found his prorogation of Parliament was unlawful.

We'll be watching along in just under half an hour.

11:19 a.m. ET, September 11, 2019

Labour's divisions over Brexit are only deepening

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday. BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Boris Johnson's bullish Brexit strategy has already led to a civil war within his Conservative Party, from which nearly two dozen more moderate MPs have quit or been expelled in a matter of days.

But things aren't much rosier in the opposition. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has long struggled to appease the Remain-backing will of most of his membership and lawmakers without causing fury in many of the party's Brexit-voting heartlands.

Those divisions were laid bare on Wednesday, when Corbyn's deputy, Tom Watson, said a second Brexit referendum should be held before a general election.

"Boris Johnson has already conceded that the Brexit crisis can only be solved by the British people," Watson said in a speech to the Creative Industries Federation.

"But the only way to break the Brexit deadlock once and for all is a public vote in a referendum. A general election could fail to solve Brexit chaos," he added.

That flies in direct conflict with Corbyn's message that there should be a general election as soon as a no-deal Brexit is taken off the table.

The position Labour would take in any second referendum is also anything but clear. Watson said the party should commit "unambiguously and unequivocally" to backing Remain, and several frontbenchers in the party have also made clear they would take that stance.

But Corbyn himself has not confirmed if he personally will campaign to remain, and confirmed in a speech on Tuesday that a Labour-forced second referendum would include a "credible" option for Leave on the ballot paper.

That credible option would likely be a Labour-negotiated deal, if the party were to win a snap election.

Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary, Keir Starmer, attempted to downplay the divisions after Watson's comment. "At the moment there is a good discussion going on but we are very united having that discussion; we don't want to shut down discussion in our party," he said, according to Britain's PA news agency.

But it is difficult to ignore the bizarre optics that would likely unfold if Labour were to win a snap election: a Corbyn-led government agreeing a withdrawal deal with the EU, and then seeing several of its Cabinet members encouraging the public to reject that deal in a referendum in favor of the status quo.

10:34 a.m. ET, September 11, 2019

More MPs show up at empty Parliament

A handful of opposition MPs are making their views clear on the closure of Parliament, by showing up to the empty chamber anyway.

Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds said he was "reporting for duty" in the House of Commons.

Earlier, his fellow backbencher Luke Pollard said he was making "a quiet statement about our democracy" by sitting in the Commons.

10:29 a.m. ET, September 11, 2019

Downing Street rejects Farage's offer of election pact

Nigel Farage at a Brexit Party rally last week.
Nigel Farage at a Brexit Party rally last week. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Downing Street has dismissed speculation Boris Johnson could strike a non-aggression pact with the Brexit Party at the next general election.

Johnson “will not be doing a deal with Nigel Farage," the leader of the Euroskeptic group, his spokesman told reporters on Wednesday.

Farage had offered not to stand Brexit Party candidates in seats held by Conservative MPs who had voted against Theresa May's Brexit deal three times, and who back a no-deal split.

In return, he wanted Johnson's party not to field candidates where they would be unlikely to win, but where the Brexit Party performed well at this year's European elections.

Farage claimed the deal would prevent a "Remain Alliance" from keeping the Conservatives out of government.

But it would be extremely unusual for either of Britain's two major parties -- the ruling Conservatives or opposition Labour -- to not stand candidates in virtually every seat at an election.