Boris Johnson’s attempt to downplay fears that he misled the Queen has not gone well.
On Wednesday, a court ruling deemed Johnson’s five-week suspension of parliament “unlawful” and raised the possibility that the prime minister had lied to the Queen to convince her to agree to the prorogation of parliament.
But when asked on Thursday whether he misled the monarch, Johnson said:
Absolutely not. 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.
By the High Court, Johnson is referring to an earlier decision that ruled that the suspension was legal.
It is now up to the Supreme Court to decide whether the government’s actions were legal.
However, it hasn’t helped Johnson’s case that his denial of lying was actually misleading in itself.
When the prime minister said the High Court “plainly agrees” with him, that suggests the High Court ruled that Johnson did not lie to the Queen – but that’s not what the court ruled.
The High Court simply argued that proroguing parliament was legal and chose not to judge on whether Johnson had lied about his intentions for suspending parliament.
And as of Thursday afternoon, #BorisLiedToTheQueen was trending in the UK on Twitter.
Johnson might have a better case if he didn’t have a bad reputation for mistruths after being fired for allegedly fabricating quotes as a journalist and being caught out falsely denying an affair as a politician.
Now, Johnson’s loose relationship with the truth is dragging the UK towards a constitutional crisis.