ON Monday evening (well it was actually early Tuesday morning), parliament was prorogued for five weeks in advance of the Queen’s speech on October 14. 

It is the longest prorogation since 1930. 

That means parliament is suspended, so MPs are prevented from holding the Government to account at a time of national crisis. 

We live in a democracy that separates the Government from the legal system. 
That allows any member of the public to challenge the Government in court if they feel it has acted unlawfully. That is why I, and over 70 of my MP and peer colleagues, took the Prime Minister to Scotland’s Court of Session. 

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The legal action came about in the wake of a successful court case, led by the Good Law Project, that confirmed the UK could unilaterally revoke Article 50. 

My colleague Catherine Stihler, then an MEP, was instrumental in that case and following her decision to stand down I took on the Labour mantle in this case. 
I encouraged other Labour parliamentarians to join what was very much a cross-party effort that no single party can take credit for. It took teamwork. 

We felt that it was important to uphold the conventions of our unwritten constitution and hold the Government to account for its actions. 

We also wanted to shine a light on what the disingenuous Prime Minister was saying in public, as opposed to what he was deciding in private. 

We all knew that he wanted to shut down parliament for the purposes of forcing through a no deal Brexit

Hiding behind Her Majesty the Queen was both cowardly and inappropriate. If elected Members of Parliament can’t hold the Government to account then the courts can, will and should. 

The unanimous decision yesterday by three of Scotland’s top judges was devastating for the Government. The use of the word “stymie” is as devastating as it is accurate.

It is an unprecedented rebuff to the PM. 

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If the Government has any belief in the rule of law, then Parliament must be recalled immediately. Sadly, I do not believe the government will do so, although I hope I am wrong. More likely, it will demonstrate its continued contempt for anyone or any institution which does not share its blinkered view. 

Boris Johnson has form. He was untruthful to the country about the benefits of Brexit.

He has politicised the police, shut down parliament, derided the judges, and threatened to disregard the law. He has lied too many times and that is why parliament didn’t vote for an early General Election on his terms. 

We don’t trust him, and the country shouldn’t either. 

It is clear from the response of the PM that he would rather just do away with inconvenient courts which don’t back him. We live in a democracy with an independent judiciary, thank goodness, but this government is moving dangerously close to creating a dictatorship and that must concern us all. 

If the decision is upheld in the UK Supreme Court next week then the Prime Minister’s position will be untenable. He will have to resign. 

In the meantime, we need Parliament up and running and to settle this issue once and for all with a People’s Vote to give you the final say. Only this can bring clarity, closure and democratic legitimacy after three years of the Government promising to deliver the undeliverable.