Published: Thu, September 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Parliament suspension 'unlawful', court rules

Parliament suspension 'unlawful', court rules

Boris Johnson's decision to suspend parliament has been ruled "improper" and "unlawful" by three senior Scottish judges, who concluded it had been done with "the objective of stymying Parliament".

Judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh said the government's action was illegal "because it had the objective of stymieing Parliament".

They stated the "improper goal of stymying Parliament" was behind Johnson's decision - not the stated motivation of introducing a new domestic legislative agenda.

Johnson, a leading figure in the 2016 referendum campaign for Brexit, took office in July promising to finally take Britain out of the European Union on October 31, no matter what. Although a London court ruled last week that the suspension was constitutional, Scottish judges reversed that decision.

The ruling overturned an earlier decision that the courts did not have the power to interfere with Boris Johnson's order to prorogue parliament.

"I urge the prime minister to immediately recall parliament so we can debate this judgement and decide what happens next".

The administration suffered another blow on Wednesday when a Scottish court ruled Mr Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful, setting up a showdown in the Supreme Court next week.

He noted a separate legal challenge to prorogation brought at the high court in London last week had failed.

The former Tory MP, who was sacked by the PM when he went against him on a Brexit vote, was joined by Labour's David Lammy in demanding he leaves should he lose an appeal over a decision made by three senior Scottish judges on Wednesday.

Plaid Cymru's Hywel Williams, one of the petitions to the case, said: "Boris Johnson has now broken the law".

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Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said the court's ruling was "very rare and it's very strong".

A lawyer involved in the Scottish case against the government, Jolyon Maugham, tweeted that it would be considered in Britain's Supreme Court starting on Tuesday.

Johnson should be anxious about the ruling, but also the British society at large, Donald insisted, because the "democratic process is being ripped up in front of our eyes." .

The judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh said the prorogation was therefore "null and of no effect".

The paper, dated Aug 2, sets out the government's "reasonable worst-case planning assumption" for a no-deal Brexit and describes major disruption for travelers between Britain and the European Union, uncertainty for United Kingdom citizens living in Europe, and says attempts to maintain an open border between Ireland and Northern Ireland would probably fail.

It was not immediately clear what effect the ruling would have.

He said: "We must back the judges in this country to uphold the rule of law".

After three years of tortuous Brexit crisis, British politics is in turmoil, with the prime minister blocked by parliament and an election or even a second referendum on the cards.

In contrast, the High Court judges - issuing the reasons for their ruling in the case brought by businesswoman Gina Miller - said on Wednesday that it was "not a matter for the courts".

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