UK Supreme Court: Suspending Parliament was unlawful, judges rule

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International desk, September 24: Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful, the Supreme Court has ruled.Mr Johnson suspended – or prorogued – Parliament for five weeks earlier this month, but the court said it was wrong to stop MPs carrying out duties in the run-up to Brexit on 31 October, BBC reports.

The PM said he would “respect the verdict”, but he “strongly disagrees”.

Supreme Court president Lady Hale said “the effect on the fundamentals of democracy was extreme.”

A raft of MPs have now called for the prime minister to resign – Downing Street said it was “currently processing the verdict”.

Mr Johnson argued he wanted to carry out the prorogation ahead of a Queen’s Speech so he could outline his government’s new policies.

But critics said he was trying to stop MPs from scrutinising his Brexit plans and the suspension was far longer than necessary for a Queen’s Speech.

Delivering its conclusions, the Supreme Court’s president, Lady Hale, said: “The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.”

Lady Hale said the unanimous decision of the 11 justices meant Parliament had effectively not been prorogued – the decision was null and of no effect.

Speaker of the Commons John Bercow said MPs needed to return “in light of the explicit judgement”, and he had “instructed the House of Commons authorities to prepare… for the resumption of business” from 11:30 BST on Wednesday.

He said prime minister’s questions – which normally takes place on a Wednesday – would not go ahead, though, because Mr Johnson was in New York for a UN summit.

However, Mr Bercow said there would be “full scope” for urgent questions, ministerial statements and applications for emergency debates.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the ruling showed Mr Johnson’s “contempt for democracy”, adding: “I invite Boris Johnson, in the historic words, to consider his position.”

Mr Corbyn was due to close the Labour Party conference in Brighton with a speech on Wednesday, but has brought it forward to Tuesday afternoon so he can return to Parliament.

Lawyers for the government had argued the decision to prorogue was one for Parliament, not the courts.

But the justices disagreed, unanimously deciding it was “justiciable”, and there was “no doubt that the courts have jurisdiction to decide upon the existence and limits of a prerogative power”.

The court also criticised the length of the suspension, with Lady Hale saying it was “impossible for us to conclude, on the evidence which has been put before us, that there was any reason – let alone a good reason – to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament for five weeks”.