Scottish court rules UK PM`s suspension of parliament `unlawful`

Clay Curtis
September 12, 2019

Last week, between returning from their summer holidays and parliament's suspension, MPs passed a law to force Johnson to delay Brexit if he does not get a new deal by an European Union summit on October 17-18.

A panel of three judges at the Court of Session found in favour of a cross-party group of politicians who were challenging the prime minister's move.

All three First Division judges have decided that the PM's advice to the HM the Queen is justiciable, that it was motivated by the improper objective of stymying Parliament and that it, and what has followed from it, is unlawful...

The Scottish court challenge was brought by 78 British lawmakers, who said it was unlawful for Johnson to advise Queen Elizabeth II to prorogue parliament if the aim was to limit consideration of Brexit.

But the BBC's assistant political editor, Norman Smith, said it was quite likely that Mr Johnson would recall Parliament before a Supreme Court ruling on the case next week - and perhaps as early as today or tomorrow.

The judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh said the prorogation was therefore "null and of no effect".

Cherry said she wasn't surprised by the unanimous decision, noting that during last week's hearings, she detected "a whiff of bad faith on behalf of Boris Johnson and the British government".

In a statement, the government said it "needs to bring forward a strong domestic legislative agenda".

Professor Alex de Ruyter, Director of the Birmingham City University Centre for Brexit Studies, said Mr Johnson's decision to prorogue has "come back to hoist him on his own petard".

The parliamentarians appealed to the Inner House of the Court of Session after their original challenge to the suspension of Parliament was dismissed by judge Lord Doherty last week.

European Parliament election
Former prime minister Gordon Brown

They stated the "improper goal of stymying Parliament" was behind Johnson's decision - not the stated motivation of introducing a new domestic legislative agenda.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Scottish National Party (S.N.P.), Ian Blackford, has written to Prime Minister Johnson demanding that he recall parliament in light of the ruling in Scotland.

Boris Johnson with the Queen in Buckingham Palace on the day he officially became prime minister at the end of July.

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The House of Commons has already twice blocked Johnson's bids for an election, and all party leaders have said that it's only a matter of time before United Kingdom citizens have to go to the polls.

It is now unclear what impact the judgement will have on the current suspension of Parliament, which began in dramatic scenes on Tuesday morning.

- What happens if the Supreme Court rules prorogation was unlawful?

I have never been able to contemplate the possibility that the law could be that our sovereign Parliament might be treated as an inconvenience by the Prime Minister.

Already, Downing Street is seeking to hit back politically, with a source quoted as saying that "legal activists choose the Scottish courts for a reason".

Labour's Shadow Attorney General said: "This ruling shows that, despite what Boris Johnson has spent his privileged life thinking, he is not above the law".

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