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Friday, April 23, 2021

PM Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was illegal, rules UK’s Supreme Court

The apex court's ruling declared the order to suspend Parliament "void and of no effect."

By: Express Web Desk | London |
Updated: September 24, 2019 6:35:30 pm
Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on terrorism Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Reuters)

In a major blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Britain’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that his decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks in the crucial countdown to the country’s Brexit deadline was illegal, reported AP.

The apex court’s ruling declared the order to suspend Parliament “void and of no effect”.

Supreme Court President Brenda Hale observed that the suspension was “unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.”

This case, in a way, is perceived as a rare confrontation between the PM, the Parliament and courts over their rights and responsibilities. The larger meaning behind this case revolved around whether Johnson acted lawfully when he advised the queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks during a crucial time frame before the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline when Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union.

Meanwhile, PM Johnson said he disagreed with but would respect the Supreme Court ruling. “I have to say that I strongly disagree with what the justices have found. I don’t think that it’s right but we will go ahead and of course parliament will come back,” he told British broadcasters during a visit to New York.

Following the verdict, British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded that Boris Johnson call a new election. During Labour Party’s annual conference in Brighton, Corbyn was quoted as saying by Reuters, “I invite Boris Johnson, in the historic words, to ‘consider his position’.”

Reacting to the apex court’s decision, Speaker of Parliament John Bercow, in a statement released by his office, said, “As the embodiment of our parliamentary democracy, the House of Commons must convene without delay. To this end, I will now consult the party leaders as a matter of urgency.”

She further said, “I have instructed the House authorities to undertake such steps as are necessary to ensure that the House of Commons sits tomorrow and that it does so at 11:30am (1030 GMT).”

Ian Blackford, Scottish National Party’s Westminster leader, called for Johnson to resign while acknowledging that it was a ‘stunning judgment’. “This is an absolutely stunning judgment by the Supreme Court today, none of us anticipated that we would have a result such as this,” he said. “We must be back in parliament immediately, I know the speaker is going to be talking with all the party leaders, we want to get back to work and quite frankly on the back of this Boris Johnson must resign.”

(with inputs from agencies)

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