UK Supreme Court: Suspending Parliament Is Unlawful

The BBC reports:

Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful, the Supreme Court has ruled. Mr Johnson suspended – or prorogued – Parliament for five weeks earlier this month, but the court said it was wrong to stop MPs carrying out duties in the run-up to Brexit on 31 October.

Supreme Court president Lady Hale said “the effect on the fundamentals of democracy was extreme”. Downing Street said it was “currently processing the verdict”.

Mr Johnson argued he wanted to carry out the prorogation ahead of a Queen’s Speech so he could outline his government’s new policies. But critics said he was trying to stop MPs from scrutinising his Brexit plans.

The New York Times reports:

“The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue 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,” said Baroness Brenda Hale, the president of the court, speaking for the 11-judge panel that heard the case. “The prime minister’s advice to Her Majesty was unlawful, void and of no effect,” she said. “Parliament has not been prorogued.”

Legal and political analysts had speculated that the court, which has historically avoided politics, might decide that it had no authority to rule on the prime minister’s actions, or arrive at a mixed judgment. Instead, it made a landmark decision to intervene in a fierce clash between Mr. Johnson and Parliament, and delivered a resounding defeat for Mr. Johnson and an unequivocal victory to his critics.