Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has branded Parliament ‘dead’ and a ‘disgrace’ as he hit back during a stormy session in the House of Commons when it returned today (Wednesday, September 25) after the supreme court ruling.
The Torridge and West Devon MP warned MPs they 'have no right' to sit in parliament and accused the opposition of being 'too cowardly' to put the government to a vote of no confidence and force a General Election.
Mr Cox was being quizzed by MPs about his legal opinion of the advice given to the Queen to prorogue Parliament.
The Supreme Court ruled yesterday the decision by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to temporarily suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
In a statement earlier today Mr Cox said the Government acted in good faith and in the belief that its approach was both lawful and constitutional.
Today he faced a barrage of questions - MPs wanted to know why the Government gave no witness statement to the court to justify the action and there were calls for his advice to the Government to be published.
As the debate grew more heated, he told them: "This Parliament is a dead Parliament, it should no longer sit. It has no moral right to sit on these green benches."
After Speaker John Bercow intervened to request order be restored, Mr Cox continued: "They don't like to hear it, Mr Speaker. Twice they have been asked to make the electorate decide upon whether they should continue to sit in their seats while they block 17.4 million people's vote. This is a disgrace.
"Let me tell them the truth, they can vote no confidence at any time but they are too cowardly, they could agree to a motion to allow this House to dissolve but they are too cowardly.
"This Parliament should have the courage to face the electorate, but it won't, because so many of them are really all about preventing us leaving the European Union - but the time is coming, the time is coming, Mr Speaker, when even these turkeys won't be able to prevent Christmas."
He later said: "If the opposition does not wish to allow (the Government) to govern, then it's morally correct thing to do is to seek to have an election.
"What I object to here is that this party, and this side of the House has repeatedly sought to block that and to prevent the electorate from having its say when this Parliament is as dead as dead can be."
Former Cabinet minister Amber Rudd urged Mr Cox to find a Brexit compromise and to "cease this language of pitting Parliament against the people".
She said: "I must raise my concerns about the Attorney General constantly saying that this Parliament is dead.
"This Parliament was elected in 2017, it reflects the divisions in this country, the divisions in our communities and the divisions in our families.
"The failure is that we have not yet reached a compromise, many of us long to leave the EU as we set out in the referendum but are frustrated by the fact that we have not been able to find a consensus amongst the different factions."