Voters are beginning to question the impartiality of judges, cabinet minister Kwasi Kwarteng has claimed, saying Brexit has brought the courts into the political process “to a far greater extent than any of us have ever seen”.
On Wednesday, appeal judges in Scotland ruled Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament ahead of Brexit “unlawful”, saying the move “had the purpose of stymying parliament”.
The prime minister now faces calls from opposition MPs to recall the Commons.
But business minister Kwarteng suggested that “many people” believe that judges are biased.
“This Brexit process has brought the courts, has brought judges, has brought lawyers into the political process to a far greater extent than any of us have ever seen,” he told the BBC’s Andrew Neil Show.
“People contesting judgements, people contesting the right of the prime minister, or the circumstances under which he pushes a prorogation. None of us have ever seen anything like this before.”
Courts getting more involved in politics is a “detriment”, Kwarteng said, “not only to politics, but also to the courts”.
“Because, many people are saying – I’m not saying this – but, many people … are saying that the judges are biased. The judges are getting involved in politics.
“I’m just saying what people are saying. That’s what people are saying.”
However, he declined claims he was suggesting that judges were biased.
“I think that they are impartial, but I’m saying that many people, many Leave voters, many people up and down the country, are beginning to question the partiality of the judges,” he added. “That’s just a fact.”
Meanwhile, Nigel Farage used his appearance on the same show to defend his claim that the Scottish court ruling “smells of judicial interference”.
The Brexit Party leader told Neil: “We don’t have a written constitution, we have no precedent, there’s nothing by which judges could actually refer back to to make these rules, but if the High Court in London says it is okay and the Court of Session says it’s not okay, look, it’s a mess.”
He added: “I don’t accept that the establishment of this country is independent.
“It is Remain almost to the last man and woman, that is where we are.
“We see this right through government, right through the judiciary.”