The United Kingdom Supreme Court on Tuesday said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson acted “unlawfully” when he advised Queen Elizabeth to suspend parliament weeks ahead of Brexit.
The 11-judge panel of the UK Supreme Court said, “The decision to advise her to discontinue 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.”
During the hearing, the UK Supreme Court primarily dealt with three questions. First, Can Supreme Court rule on the lawfulness of prorogation of parliament. Second, if PM Johnson unlawfully called for five-week suspension; third, if he misled the Queen on the matter.
On the first question, the UK Supreme Court said that court can rule on matters of propagation. Regarding the second question, the 11-judge panel unanimously ruled that the parliament was suspended unlawfully.
To the third question, the UK Supreme Court’s statements indicated that Johnson had misled the Queen by advising her to suspend parliament session.
“Parliament has not been prorogued and this is the unanimous decision of all the 11 judges,” the SC judgement said.
“MP’s should return to parliament and it’s up to the speaker to decide the next steps,” it added.
Earlier, UK PM Jonhson avoided questions on the matter and said he would accept the apex court’s decision. In an interview to the BBC, Johnson said, “I’m going to wait and see what the judgement is,” adding that the government “fully respects the law and judiciary”.
This is a crucial moment in British politics and speculations have already surfaced on what could happen next if Boris Johnson does not accept the decision or decided to circumvent it and prorogue the parliament again.
Speaking to India Today TV, Prof. Tony Travers from School of Public Policy, LSE, said, “This is a remarkable judgment. It will allow parliament to be reconvened against the government’s will. It would render a further immediate prorogation difficult as such a step could be constructed as contempt of court. A constitutional moment for the UK.”
As of now, UK is supposed to leave the European Union (EU) on the October 31 and Queen Elizabeth’s speech is scheduled for the October 14, which is supposed to start the new session of the parliament.