September 24, 2019
The UK’s highest court will give its historic ruling on Tuesday over the legality of the five-week suspension of Parliament.
Boris Johnson Declines To Rule Out Suspending Parliament Again
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has been accused of an unlawful “abuse of power”, will be in the United States when the Supreme Court announces its findings, following an unprecedented hearing last week.
Eleven justices have been asked to determine whether his advice to the Queen to prorogue parliament, for what opponents describe as an “exceptionally long” period, was unlawful.
Johnson was asked whether he was nervous about the Supreme Court judgment in an interview in New York, and replied: “It takes a lot to make me nervous these days.
“All I can tell you is that I have the highest regard for the judiciary in this country, I will look at the ruling with care.”
He was questioned by reporters on the flight to New York over whether he would resign if the Government lost.
“I will wait and see what the justices decide, the Supreme Court decides, because as I’ve said before I believe that the reasons for...wanting a Queen’s speech were very good indeed,” he said.
Asked whether he would rule out proroguing parliament again before the current October 31 Brexit deadline, the PM replied: “I’m saying that parliament will have bags of time to scrutinise the deal that I hope we will be able to do.”
Johnson advised the Queen on August 28 to prorogue parliament for five weeks, and it was suspended on September 9 until October 14.
The PM says the five-week suspension is to allow the government to set out a new legislative agenda in a Queen’s Speech when MPs return to parliament.
But those who brought legal challenges argue the prorogation is designed to prevent parliamentary scrutiny of the UK’s impending exit from the EU on October 31.
The Supreme Court heard appeals over three days arising out of separate legal challenges in England and Scotland, in which leading judges reached different conclusions.At the High Court in London, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and two other judges rejected campaigner and businesswoman Gina Miller’s challenge, finding that the prorogation was “purely political” and not a matter for the courts.
But in Scotland, a cross-party group of MPs and peers led by SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC won a ruling from the Inner House of the Court of Session that Johnson’s prorogation decision was unlawful because it was “motivated by the improper purpose of stymieing Parliament”.
Miller has appealed against the decision of the High Court, asking the Supreme Court to find that the judges who heard her judicial review action “erred in law” in the findings they reached.
The justices have been asked to determine whether Johnson’s advice to the Queen was “justiciable” - capable of challenge in the courts - and, if so, whether it was lawful.
During last week’s hearing, Lord Pannick QC, for Miller, told the packed court that Mr Johnson’s motive for a five-week suspension was to “silence” Parliament, and that his decision was an “unlawful abuse of power”.
He argued that Johnson’s reasons for advising on a suspension of that length “were improper in that they were infected with factors inconsistent with the concept of Parliamentary sovereignty”.
But Sir James Eadie QC argued on the prime minister’s behalf that the suggestion the prorogation was intended to “stymie” parliament ahead of Brexit was “untenable”.
Miller’s case is supported by former prime minister Sir John Major, shadow attorney general Baroness Chakrabarti, the Scottish and Welsh governments, and Northern Irish victims’ campaigner Raymond McCord.Related... Labour Can End Brexit And This Tory Government At The Same Time. Here's How. What Happens If Boris Johnson Gets A Brexit Deal? Here's What Happened On The Final Day Of The Supreme Court Hearing About The Shutdown Of Parliament
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