LONDON - The government acted in "good faith" when it suspended Parliament, according to its chief legal adviser.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox told MPs he was "disappointed" at the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court that the suspension was unlawful, but respected the judgement.

He then launched a blistering attack on MPs for being "too cowardly" to hold an election, calling them a "disgrace".

MPs returned to work on Wednesday morning as a result of the ruling.

The SNP's Joanna Cherry urged Mr Cox to publish the legal advice he gave the government ahead of the suspension.

Ms Cherry - who was one of the lawyers who led the court challenge against the suspension or "prorogation" - said Mr Cox was being "offered up as a fall guy for the government's plans".

The attorney general said the government believed its approach had been "both lawful and constitutional", but he would "consider over the coming days whether the public interest may require a greater disclosure" of his advice.

Boris Johnson, who has flown back from a UN summit in New York to address MPs, has said he "profoundly disagrees" with the decision of the Supreme Court, but he would respect it.

He is due to give a statement to the Commons later, along with one from the Leader of the House, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Opposition parties, meanwhile, are demanding that the prime minister resign.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the court's decision had left Mr Johnson "badly wanting", while the SNP said the country now had "a zombie prime minister and a zombie government" and both must be removed "in a timely manner".

The prime minister could be ousted via a vote of no confidence - potentially triggering a general election - but Mr Corbyn said he would not seek one until it was "very clear" Mr Johnson would seek an extension to Brexit to prevent no deal and the EU had agreed to it.

Mr Johnson has said Brexit will happen with or without a deal on 31 October.

But MPs passed a law - the so-called Benn bill - to force him to ask for an extension from the EU if a deal - or approval for no deal - was not voted for by the Commons by 19 October.

The Supreme Court ruled it was impossible to conclude there had been any reason - "let alone a good reason" - to advise the Queen to prorogue Parliament for five weeks in the run-up to the Brexit deadline of 31 October.

Supreme Court president Lady Hale emphasised, though, that the case was "not about when and on what terms" the UK left the EU.

The PM insisted the suspension of Parliament had been necessary in order for him to bring forward a Queen's Speech on 14 October outlining his government's policies.

But the court found that the effect of such a move was to stop MPs scrutinising the government.

Back in the Commons on Wednesday after the ruling, MPs called for Mr Cox to distance himself from criticism of the judges.

Labour's Hilary Benn asked whether he agreed with reported comments by Mr Rees-Mogg, who is said to have referred to the court's actions as a "constitutional coup".

The attorney general said things were sometimes said "in the heat of the rhetorical and poetic licence", but added: "We are proud we have a country capable of giving independent judgements of this kind.

"With the judgements we can be robustly critical, with the motives we cannot."

Exchanges in the Commons became more heated when Mr Cox hit out at MPs on the opposition benches for criticising the government, but not being willing to hold an election.(FA)