AN ASTONISHING attack on the UK's "dead" Parliament was unleashed by Attorney General Geoffrey Cox in response to a question from Penrith & the Border MP Rory Stewart.

For almost five minutes, amid rowdy scenes in the House of Commons, Geoffrey Cox tore into the government's opponents, declaring: "This Parliament is a dead Parliament.

"It has no moral right to sit on these green benches. Twice they have been asked to let the electorate decide whether they should sit in their seats while they block 17.4 million votes. This Parliament is a disgrace."

The impassioned - at times angry - tirade came after Mr Stewart spoke, asking the Attorney General to agree with his analysis of Tuesday's historic ruling from the Supreme Court that the government's decision to prorogue Parliament was unlawful.

Mr Stewart had asked: "Would my Right Honourable and learned friend agree that rather than a new-fangled, innovative decision, this was a profoundly conservative decision by the Supreme Court, asserting the ancient sovereignty of Parliament?"

Mr Stewart - one of 21 Conservative rebels thrown out of the Parliamentary party for backing legislation to block a no-deal Brexit - said that while the decision to leave the EU was made by voters it was for MPs - their only directly elected representatives - to determine the form of Brexit.

After the dramatic exchange, Mr Stewart said: "I am an old-fashioned conservative, and one of the reasons I am a conservative is that I believe very strongly in rule of law and the sovereignty of Parliament."

He wanted his party - which he loves and respects - to show respect for Parliament and the Supreme Court in how it responded to this week's ruling. He added: "The Supreme Court has reasserted the ancient principle of the sovereignty of Parliament."

He was shocked to hear the Attorney General call Parliament a disgrace, and say MPs had no right to sit in the House of Commons. Government exists through the direct consent of elected MPs, said the MP.

He described the Supreme Court ruling as moderate and closely argued.

Mr Stewart went on to heap criticism on Boris Jonhson's government, saying it had played so many tricks that Parliament can no longer trust it to abide by the spirit of the law. It had sought to find loopholes so it could get round the law.

Carlisle MP John Stevenson was scathing about the forced reconvening of Parliament, asking: "For what reason? Parliament's return is an unnecessary distraction from what is going on, with the government being involved in [Brexit] negotiations.

"We have a dysfunctional Parliament. It needs to be dissolved so that we can have a general election and that is what the Attorney General was saying. I completely agree with him." Labour refuses to trigger an election unless Boris Johnson rules out a no-deal Brexit on October 31, a promise he refuses to make.