The Supreme Court ruling has provided Jeremy Corbyn with his most positive outing at Labour conference. On hearing the news that the Prime Minister’s prorogation of Parliament was unlawful, Corbyn took to the stage in a dramatic point of order – to rapturous applause. He called on Boris Johnson to ‘in the historic words, consider his position’.
The Labour leader said the judgment showed the Prime Minister’s contempt for Parliament and promised to get in touch with House of Commons Speaker John Bercow immediately so that Parliament could be recalled (although the ruling suggests there is no need as in effect Parliament was never prorogued).
Speaking to members and delegates, Corbyn said:
‘A Labour government would want to be held to account. We wouldn’t bypass democracy. And I invite Boris Johnson in the historic words to consider his position. And become the shortest-serving Prime Minister there’s ever been. So, obey the law, take no deal off the table, and have an election to elect a government that respects democracy, that respects the rule of law and brings power back to the people, not usurps it in the way Boris Johnson has done. Conference, I thank you.’
This year’s Labour conference has been a difficult event for Corbyn and his team. They have been besieged by reports of infighting, shadow cabinet rows and questions over Corbyn’s leadership. Today, Corbyn seemed at his most comfortable.
Corbyn’s call for ‘an election to elect a government that respects democracy’ is curious given that so far Labour have refused Johnson’s numerous calls for an early election. The Labour line has been that they want an extension to be agreed before going into any election.