UK Supreme Court rules decision to suspend Parliament Unlawful

UK Supreme Court rules decision to suspend Parliament Unlawful

The UK Supreme Court has today ruled the prorogue of  UK Parliament on the advice of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as unlawful.

Mr. Johnson advised the Queen that Parliament should be suspended for 5 weeks, on August 28th. As a result, Parliament was prorogued on September 9th until October 14th.

The reason cited for the suspension was to allow Government time to work on the details of a new legislative agenda.

The agenda was due to be laid on in a Queen’s Speech when Parliament returned.

The decision was met with resistance among opposition MPs who claimed it was an attempt to avoid adequate consideration of Government plans to exit the EU on October 31st.

Separate legal challenges were mounted in the UK and Scotland and heard over three days in the Supreme Court.

The appeal from the High Court of England and Wales brought by businesswoman and campaigner Gina Miller was rejected on the grounds that it was ‘purely political’ and not a matter for the courts.

The appeal from the Inner House of the Court of Session in Scotland, brought by a group of cross-party MPs, was successful, with a ruling that the decision was unlawful.

On delivering the conclusion today, Supreme Court President, Lady Hale said, ‘This was not a normal prorogation in the run-up to a Queen’s Speech. It prevented Parliament from carrying out its constitutional role for five out of the possible eight weeks between the end of the summer recess and exit day on 31st October.’

She went on to say, ’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.’

Lady Hale concluded that the Speaker and the Lord Speaker ‘can take immediate steps to enable each House to meet as soon as possible.’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently in the United States attending the United Nations General Assembly.

A statement from Downing Street said, ‘We are considering the implications of the Supreme Court’s judgment for Parliament and will provide further information as soon as we can.’

John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons said that Parliament must reconvene ‘without delay.’

Reacting to the ruling, Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn said it showed that the Prime Minister, ‘acted wrongly in shutting down parliament and demonstrates a contempt for democracy and an abuse of power.’

Photo by Tim Rawle/CreativeCommons.org (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) 

 

 

Antoinette Tyrrell is a writer and journalist who started her career in print and broadcast journalism in Ireland. An English and History graduate of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, she worked for 11 years in corporate public relations for Irish Government bodies in the Foreign Direct Investment and Energy sectors.

She is the founder of GoWrite, a business writing and public relations consultancy. Her work has appeared in a range of national and international media and trade publications. She is also a traditionally published novelist of commercial fiction.

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