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Brexit: Supreme Court rules that Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament was unlawful

  • Supreme court rules prorogation was “null and void”
  • Parliament will convene on Wednesday
  • The Supreme Court’s decision was unanimous

By Eimear McGovern

MPS will return to Westminster on Wednesday after the highest court in the UK ruled unanimously that Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.

The case was a significant test for the Prime Minister, whose decision to shut the doors of Parliament until October 14 had led to claims he is seeking to avoid challenges to his Brexit strategy ahead of the October 31 withdrawal date.

Because the order to suspend Parliament is made by the Queen, he was also accused of dragging the monarch into Westminster’s bitter Brexit battle.

The court's president, Lady Hale, said: "The effect on the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme."

She said Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen was "unlawful, void and of no effect".

"It is impossible for us to conclude, on the evidence which has been put before us, that there was any reason - let alone a good reason - to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament for five weeks, from 9th or 12th September until 14th October," the judgment said.

Speaker John Bercow said there would be no Prime Minister's Questions tomorrow but there would be scope for urgent questions, ministerial statements and emergency debate applications.

Earlier he welcomed the ruling and said Parliament must "convene without delay" following the unanimous decision of the 11 justices in the Supreme Court.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's conference speech will now take place on Tuesday afternoon in light of the Supreme Court's decision.

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, Supreme Court President

Giving the judgment on Tuesday morning, Lady Hale said: "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."

She added: "The prorogation was also void and of no effect. Parliament has not been prorogued. This is the unanimous judgment of all 11 Justices."

Ministers had said the suspension, or prorogation, was not a court matter.

But critics argued it was intended to limit scrutiny of the Prime Minister's Brexit plans.

Mr Johnson refused to rule out seeking to prorogue Parliament for a second time if the Supreme Court judged against him.

In a three-day hearing at the Supreme Court, two appeals were dealt with - one from the Government and the second from campaigner and businesswoman Gina Miller.

Mrs Miller was appealing against the English High Court's decision that the prorogation was "purely political" and not a matter for the courts.

Meanwhile, the Government was appealing against a ruling from Scotland's Court of Session that the prorogation was "unlawful" and had been used to "stymie" Parliament.

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