Prime Minister Boris Johnson was planning to prorogue parliament at least two weeks before he denied he was looking at it, a series of emails and notes published in court documents have revealed.
Johnson also rubbished the period in September when MPs were due to sit as a “rigmarole”.
An email sent to the Prime Minister and his chief adviser Dominic Cummings on 15 August, entitled “Ending The Session”, said “we should prorogue” from 9 September.
On 25 August, Number 10 insisted “the claim that the government is considering proroguing parliament in September in order to stop MPs debating Brexit is entirely false”.
The heavily-redacted email chain was revealed as part of a legal hearing, challenging the decision to suspend parliament for five weeks in the run-up to the Halloween Brexit deadline.
As things stand, MPs are expected to be prorogued from next Monday until 14 October, when a Queen’s Speech will be delivered, although this could be overridden if an election is called.
Meanwhile in a handwritten note, Johnson said: “The whole September session is a rigmarole for MPs to show they’re earning their crust.”
“I don’t see anything shocking about this decision”, the Prime Minister added.
The message asked the PM if he wanted to prorogue parliament. A tick and the word “yes” was written on the document.
According to the BBC, QC Aidan O’Neill said: “One presumes this is a document which was sent in the red box to the Prime Minister for him to read at his leisure in the evening of 15 August in which he says ‘yes’ to approaching the palace with a request for prorogation.”
He added: “That appears to be developing government policy as of 15 August, but this court was told nothing of that (by UK government lawyers) and was told in fact that this judicial review is academic, hypothetical and premature.
“That is not true. This court and these petitioners were being actively misled.”
The court case in which the revelations spilled out was brought by anti-Brexiter Gina Miller, who has brought legal action in an attempt to stop Johnson suspending parliament.
The Queen approved Johnson’s dramatic and unconventional move to prorogue last week as MPs complained it would give them less time to debate Johnson’s Brexit strategy.
Read more: Goldman Sachs raises
The Prime Minister has committed to pulling the UK out of the EU with or without a deal on 31 October.
A rebel alliance of MPs are today set to force a Commons vote on blocking a no-deal Brexit. Their draft bill would compel Johnson to seek an extension to the Brexit departure deadline from the EU.