UK Supreme Court Rules BoJo’s Suspension Of Parliament Was Unlawful; Pound Climbs
In a landmark ruling that delivers an unprecedented defeat for Boris Johnson and his Brexit strategy, Britain’s Supreme Court has ruled on Tuesday that the prime minister’s decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Now, the Speakers of the Commons and Lords simply need to summon ministers and peers to order and Parliament will be back in session as if it had never been suspended. The Speaker of the Commons is still John Bercow, though he recently announced his plans to resign.
“This was not a normal prorogation in the runup to a Queen’s speech,” said Lady Brenda Hale, the president of the Supreme Court of the UK. The decision did prevent Parliament from carrying out its duties, the court decided. Hale also found that Johnson hasn’t furnished “an explanation” for such extreme action.
Hale added that “the effect on the function of our democracy” from Johnson’s decision “was extreme.”
Here’s the key excerpt from the court’s judgment, courtesy of the FT:
This Court has already concluded that the Prime Minister’s advice to Her Majesty was unlawful, void and of no effect. This means that the Order in Council to which it led was also unlawful, void and of no effect and should be quashed. This means that when the Royal Commissioners walked into the House of Lords it was as if they walked in with a blank sheet of paper. The prorogation was also void and of no effect. Parliament has not been prorogued. This is the unanimous judgment of all 11 Justices.
It is for Parliament, and in particular the Speaker and the Lord Speaker to decide what to do next. Unless there is some Parliamentary rule of which we are unaware, they can take immediate steps to enable each House to meet as soon as possible. It is not clear to us that any step is needed from the Prime Minister, but if it is, the court is pleased that his counsel have told the court that he will take all necessary steps to comply with the terms of any declaration made by this court.
Johnson insisted that he had every right to prorogue Parliament for the five weeks before a speech from the Queen on Oct. 14.
It’s unclear what Johnson plans to do once Parliament is recalled – proroguing parliament for five weeks was a desperate gambit to try and strongarm the UK into a ‘no deal’ exit on Oct. 31. But with Parliament back in session, it’s looking very likely that opponents of a no-deal exit will succeed in forestalling a ‘no deal’ Brexit if Johnson can’t negotiate some kind of breakthrough deal with the EU. With the Tories in chaos following a welter of defections and expulsions, it’s looking like a general election might be the only way forward, though it might not deliver the results Johnson hopes.
And as the odds of ‘no deal’ are once again dimming, the pound is on an upswing.
Tue, 09/24/2019 – 05:52
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