Thursday, 20 February, 2020

United Kingdom court rules Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament unlawful

147;Operation Yellowhammer” assumptions prepared six weeks ago days after Boris Johnson became prime minister form the basis of government no-deal planning United Kingdom court rules Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament unlawful
Deanna Wagner | 12 September, 2019, 02:42

Last week, between returning from their summer holidays and parliament's suspension, MPs passed a law to force Johnson to delay Brexit if he does not get a new deal by an European Union summit on October 17-18.

"This is a valid ruling today by the court", Paul Sweeney, one of the politicians who had put their name to the legal challenge, told Al Jazeera.

The judges were unanimous in their belief the shutting down of Parliament was "motivated by the improper objective of stymying Parliament and that it, and what has followed it, is unlawful".

In a ruling released Wednesday a panel of three judges found that "the Prime Minister's advice to HM the Queen that the United Kingdom parliament should be prorogued from a day between 9 and 12 September until 14 October was unlawful because it had the goal of stymying parliament".

Boris Johnson suffered another setback today as Scottish judges ruled his suspension of Parliament is unlawful.

While the Court of Session judges seemed to stop short of affirming that power, they said they can still rule on the advice's effect.

The government immediately appealed, with the case set to be heard in the Supreme Court next Tuesday, and parliament set to remain shut in the meantime. That contradicts the prime minister's stated motive for the move - that his new government needs the time to lay out its agenda in a speech in the middle of next month. The implications of this decision made by the Scottish courts should not be underestimated - the shutdown of Parliament has been found unlawful and the government must now act accordingly.

Mr Johnson has previously insisted that it was normal practice for a new government to prorogue Parliament, and that it was "nonsense" to suggest he was attempting to undermine democracy.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Scottish National Party (S.N.P.), Ian Blackford, has written to Prime Minister Johnson demanding that he recall parliament in light of the ruling in Scotland.

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However, it is a highly visible sign of the constitutional crisis that the United Kingdom has slid into, and the ruling also has the potential to be hugely politically damaging for Boris Johnson, a Prime Minister who has had his honesty and integrity questioned more than any other premier a few weeks into the job.

Reacting to the news at the TUC congress this morning, Starmer said: "This is really important".

Mr Grieve said: "He will find himself in an untenable position in Parliament".

Legal expert David Allen Green said the court had effectively ruled the PM had deceived the Queen.

The Scottish court agreed with the MPs.

Independent former Welsh Conservative MP Guto Bebb said Boris Johnson should resign if he has misled the Queen.

A full hearing is scheduled at the Supreme Court on September 17.

In essence, the court said Johnson intentionally misled the monarch, an official ruling that was the first in British history.

"What this has flagged up is the importance of the rule of law and the sovereignty of Parliament, which are the foundations of British democracy", said European Union supporter Pia.