Last week, Boris Johnson lost six House of Commons votes in as many days. He then ripped up the rule book and shut Parliament down – all to avoid scrutiny and give himself maximum freedom to force through a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
Yet just days later, in an extraordinary and unprecedented turn of events, the ‘prorogation’ of parliament was ruled by Scotland’s highest civil court to be unlawful.
Make no mistake, this ruling by the Court of Session is of enormous constitutional significance – though, on one level, it should not come as too much of a shock that we have ended up here.
It should be of little surprise that the man who led the Leave campaign – a campaign which the Electoral Commission said had broken electoral law – has evolved into a Prime Minister who seems quite content to act unlawfully and who won’t commit to abiding by the law in future.
For all the constitutional significance of the court ruling, the political consequence should be simple. Parliament should be immediately recalled so that MPs can get on with the job of holding this Prime Minister to account.
The importance of that was underlined later last week, when the hard truths of a Tory Brexit were laid bare for all to see with the publication of the infamous ‘Operation Yellowhammer’ paper.
This shocking document outlines the real horrors of Brexit if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal – food shortages and price rises, reduced medicine supplies, significant hikes in energy costs, possible water shortages and low income families disproportionately hit.
What’s even more outrageous is that this is the UK Government’s own analysis, and yet they plough on with no regard for the welfare of the people they are meant to serve.
Instead it is the SNP, working with other opposition parties and Tory rebels, who are working to stop the threat of a no-deal Brexit. Over the past couple of weeks, we have worked together to secure legislation that will force Boris Johnson to request an extension to Article 50.
Judging by his flagrant disregard for all other rules, it remains to be seen whether Boris Johnson will abide by this law or seek to break it in an attempt to satisfy his fellow extreme Brexiteers, who now seem to include the group of Scottish Tories too.
Indeed, it is beyond comprehension that not one Scottish Tory MP voted to protect Scotland and the UK from the catastrophic consequences revealed in ‘Yellowhammer’.
Their colleagues in the Scottish Parliament also proved themselves to be fully complicit in this unfolding disaster as they refused to reject a no-deal Brexit, despite MSPs from all other parties joining together to send a clear message from Scotland to the UK Government.
Every one of the areas that Scottish Tories represent voted to remain in the EU. That they are prepared to work against the interests of their constituents in a desperate bid to save their party is nothing short of scandalous.
Whilst they stand firmly behind a Prime Minister who has no majority, no mandate, and no right to pursue his reckless plans to impose an extreme Brexit on the country, the SNP will continue to fight to protect Scotland from the unmitigated disasters of Tory obsessions.
For, whilst they’ve not yet been able to drag Scotland out of the EU, the Tories’ other policies are already inflicting serious damage on families across the country.
On Friday last week, as Boris Johnson was in Doncaster and being held to account by the public on his claim that ‘austerity is over’, the Scottish Government’s Annual Welfare Report revealed the latest impact of Tory welfare cuts.
It shows that UK Government welfare changes are pushing thousands of families, including children, into poverty.
A staggering 91 per cent of Scottish households affected by the benefit cap have children, and that cap has impacted on more than 3,000 households – on average, they are losing upwards of £3,000 per year.
8,500 families have already had their income cut by the Universal Credit two-child cap and that figure will rise to 40,000 upon full rollout – pushing up to 20,000 children into poverty.
It is utterly contemptable that this Tory UK Government is pushing ahead with these cuts knowing the effect they are having on children and families across the country.
The SNP Government is spending at least £100 million each year to mitigate the worst effects of these cuts as part of the £1.4 billion we spent last year to support low income households.
We should be using that money to help lift people out of poverty – but instead we are having to protect people from the worst of Tory policies because we do not have full welfare powers at our disposal.
That is why, as soon as we are confident a no-deal Brexit is off the table, the SNP will seek to force an early election.
It is time to get rid of Boris Johnson and his irresponsible Government once and for all. It is time to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.