UK Supreme Court Ruling

UK Supreme Court Ruling: Prorogation Was Unlawful

#Brexit special section

This morning, the President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale announced the much anticipated UK Supreme Court Ruling. In a unanimous decision, the eleven supreme court justices have ruled that the current prorogation of parliament was “unlawful, void and of no effect.”

Since the announcement of this judgment, the Speaker of the House, John Bercow has said parliament must meet “without delay.”

According to Sky News, the reaction of Number 10 has been muted. While a spokesperson acknowledged the clarity of the judgment, Number 10 wants time to study the judgment in more detail.

Boris Johnson is in New York at the UN Climate Summit. However, some commentators now believe he will have to make an early return to the UK.

UK Supreme Court Ruling – The Details

While many legal experts anticipated that the Supreme Court would rule against the government, few expected the ruling to be unanimous and decisive.

Overturning the ruling of English high court, the supreme court ruled that the prime minister’s decision to prorogue was “justiciable”, meaning the court could indeed make a ruling on it. In doing so, the eleven justices agreed with the highest court in Scotland.

Then, Lady Hale went on to deliver the verdict on the second question of whether Boris Johnson’s advice to the Queen was lawful:

“This court has … concluded that the prime minister’s advice to Her Majesty [ to suspend parliament] 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 should be quashed.”

She explained that the government had given no reasons why a prorogation of such length was necessary. In addition, she stated that the prorogation had prevented parliament from doing its work to scrutinise the work of the government.

In conclusion, Lady Hale deemed parliament no longer prorogued and said it was up to the speakers of the two houses to take necessary steps for the reopening of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Reaction to the Ruling

Commentators from many different media outlets have expressed surprise at the clarity and unambiguity of the supreme court ruling. For those on the winning side, this is an enormous victory and a body-blow to the government. The PM’s main opponents, including Jeremy Corbyn and Ian Blackford, have called for his resignation. Under normal circumstances, having been found to have misled the Queen would, no doubt, be a resignation matter. However, it remains to be seen what steps the government takes next.

The speaker of the House, John Bercow told reporters that parliament would resume tomorrow at 11.30 am.

On Twitter, some of Boris Johnson’s supporters have bemoaned the court ruling as interference. They view this judgement as another move by “remoaners” to overturn the referendum result and stop Brexit.

In contrast, supporters of those who welcome this judgement have hailed it as a victory for democracy.


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