Top UK court to rule on Johnson’s suspension of parliament
LONDON, Sept 17: Britain's top court met on Tuesday to consider whether a decision by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to suspend parliament until shortly before the date for Brexit was illegal.
Scottish judges ruled last week the suspension was unlawful and supporters of the legal challenge in the Supreme Court want parliament recalled immediately if it rules against Johnson's decision. Critics say he should quit if judges rule against him.
Johnson announced on Aug. 28 that he had asked Queen Elizabeth to prorogue, or suspend, parliament for five weeks from last week until Oct. 14. He said the shutdown was necessary to allow him to introduce a new legislative agenda.
Opponents said the real reason was to prevent scrutiny and challenges by parliament - where he now has no majority - to his Brexit plans, especially his promise to leave the European Union by Oct. 31 even if no divorce deal has been agreed.
In a damning judgment last Wednesday, Scotland's highest court said the suspension was an "egregious" attempt to stymie parliament.
A week earlier the High Court of England and Wales rejected a similar case, saying the matter was political and not one for judicial interference.
Both cases are now before the Supreme Court, the highest judicial body in the United Kingdom. Its 11 judges will decide how far Britain's unwritten constitution limits the power of the prime minister and whether Johnson's advice to the queen was therefore illegal.
"That this is a serious and difficult question of law is amply demonstrated by the fact that three senior judges in Scotland have reached a different conclusion from three senior judges in England and Wales," said Brenda Hale, president of the Supreme Court. -REUTERS