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Brexit

Johnson denies lying to the Queen over suspension of Parliament

Yui Mok/PA Wire

By Gavin Cordon and Harriet Line, PA Political Staff

Boris Johnson has denied lying to the Queen in order to secure the suspension of Parliament.

Scotland's highest civil court ruled on Wednesday that the five-week prorogation was unlawful because it was obtained for the "improper purpose of stymying Parliament".

However, the Prime Minister insisted he had sought the suspension so that the Government could set out a new legislative programme in a Queen's Speech on October 14.

Opposition MPs have argued that the real reason was to stop Parliament holding the Government to account over its Brexit plans.

But, asked during a visit to mark London International Shipping Week whether he had lied to the monarch in order to obtain the prorogation, Mr Johnson replied: "Absolutely not."

He said the High Court in England had taken the opposite view to the Court of Session in Edinburgh and that the case would now be decided in the Supreme Court.

"The High Court in England plainly agrees with us but the Supreme Court will have to decide. We need a Queen's Speech, we need to get on and do all sorts of things at a national level," he said.

Opposition parties fear Mr Johnson is determined to take Britain out of the EU on October 31, despite the Benn Act, which says the Government must seek a further delay if there is no agreement on a deal with the EU.

The Prime Minister insisted he remained confident that it would be possible to reach a deal in time for it to be agreed at the EU summit on October 17 and 18.

"I'm very hopeful that we will get a deal, as I say, at that crucial summit. We're working very hard - I've been around the European capitals talking to our friends," he said.

"I think we can see the rough area of a landing space, of how you can do it - it will be tough, it will be hard, but I think we can get there."

However, the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said they were still waiting to see proposals from the UK side to resolve the fraught issue of the Northern Ireland backstop.

"We are still ready to examine objectively any concrete and legally operational proposals from the UK," he told reporters in Brussels.