Boris suspension of Parliament is illegal, rules UK’s Supreme Courthttps://indianexpress.com/article/world/boris-suspension-of-parliament-is-illegal-rules-uks-supreme-court-6026129/

Boris suspension of Parliament is illegal, rules UK’s Supreme Court

The historic move by Britain’s Supreme Court offered a ringing endorsement of Parliament’s sovereignty and slapped down what it viewed as Johnson’s attempt to use executive power to silence the legislature.

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The court said Johnson’s suspension of Parliament never formally took effect (Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

IN A decision that badly undermines Boris Johnson’s authority, Britain’s highest court ruled unanimously Tuesday that the Prime Minister broke the law by suspending Parliament in a way that squelched legitimate scrutiny of his Brexit plan.

The historic move by Britain’s Supreme Court offered a ringing endorsement of Parliament’s sovereignty and slapped down what it viewed as Johnson’s attempt to use executive power to silence the legislature.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow welcomed the decision, saying citizens are “entitled” to have Parliament in session to review the government and enact laws. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and other Opposition leaders from a wide array of parties called for Johnson to step down.

Explained

Defining the balance of power

the UK SC has underlined the supremacy of Parliament over the Executive, and the authority of the Judiciary to rule on the lawfulness of government action.

The court said Johnson’s suspension of Parliament never formally took effect, opening the door for Parliament to resume its duties Wednesday morning as if nothing had happened. It also established that Johnson had involved Queen Elizabeth II by giving her improper advice when he sought her permission to shutter Parliament for five weeks.

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Johnson said he objected to the ruling but will comply. “I have the upmost respect for our judiciary. I don’t think this was the right decision,’’ Johnson said in New York, where he is attending the UN General Assembly. The suspension of Parliament “has been used for centuries without this kind of challenge”.

The ruling could not have been clearer. Reading a unanimous decision by the 11 highest judges in the land, Supreme Court President Brenda Hale said the Prime Minister had acted illegally.

“It is 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,’’ she said. “We cannot speculate, in the absence of further evidence, upon what such reasons might have been. It follows that the decision was unlawful.”

The suspension “had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification”, Hale said.

The judges made clear that they were criticising Johnson, not the queen, who as a Constitutional monarch was required to approve his request.
The ruling forced a chastened Johnson to cut short his trip to New York to fly home overnight in time for Parliament’s unexpected session, where he will undoubtedly face a crescendo of calls to resign after his judicial humiliation.

Corbyn told his party conference that the court decision shows Johnson’s “contempt’’ for democracy and rule of law. He said Johnson should resign “and become the shortest-serving Prime Minister there’s ever been”.

The Prime Minister remains on a collision course with Parliament over his determination to sever Britain from the European Union on October 31 even if no divorce deal is reached. Parliament has passed a law requiring him to seek an extension if there is no deal, but Johnson says he will not do that under any circumstances.

Johnson strode to power in late July after easily winning a Conservative Party leadership race to succeed Theresa May. He boldly promised Britain would leave the European Union by the deadline and dominated the news in his first weeks at 10 Downing Street while Parliament was on its summer break.