The Speaker has issued a stinging rebuke to those who support the idea of the prime minister, Boris Johnson, refusing to ask Brussels for a delay to Brexit – as the law requires.
Not obeying the law must surely be a non-starter. Period. Surely, in 2019, in modern Britain, in a parliamentary democracy, we – parliamentarians, legislators – cannot in all conscience be conducting a debate as to whether adherence to the law is or isn’t required.
What conceivable moral force do the public’s elected representatives have in seeking to tackle antisocial behaviour, in prosecuting with greater vigour and imagination and relentlessness the fight against knife crime, in arguing that the state must protect itself against all sorts of nefarious illegality, if we are to treat for a moment with the proposition that it might be in order, in the name of some higher cause, to disregard a law enacted by parliament?
It is astonishing that anyone has even entertained the notion … It would be the most terrible example to set to the rest of society.
One should no more refuse to request an extension of article 50 because of what one might regard as the noble end of departing from the EU as soon as possible than one could possibly excuse robbing a bank on the basis that the cash stolen would be donated to a charitable cause immediately afterwards.