This morning, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson just received another political hit over his bids to leave the European Union without a negotiated deal, with Brexit due in about 50 days.
As Johnson is doing whatever can help him to achieve this, a Scottish court ruled today that his decision to suspend Parliament less than two months before Britain is due to leave the EU was unlawful, leaving the final decesion for Britain’s top court.
Judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh said the government’s action was illegal “because it had the purpose of stymieing Parliament.”
The judges said the suspension was “null and of no effect,” but referred the matter to Britain’s Supreme Court for resolution. A hearing there is due to begin next Tuesday.
After the ruling, opposition politicians urged the government to scrap the suspension and recall lawmakers to Parliament, AP reported.
A group of about 70 opposition lawmakers challenged the government’s decision to prorogue, or formally shut down, Parliament, for five weeks until Oct. 14 — just over two weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU.
According to Johnson, the suspension can allow him to start afresh on his domestic agenda at a new session of Parliament next month. But the suspension also gives him a respite from rebellious lawmakers as he plots his next move to break the political deadlock and lead Britain out of the EU by Oct. 31.
Opponents argue that Johnson is trying to evade democratic scrutiny.
Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said the court’s ruling was “very rare and it’s very strong.” He said the government should immediately recall Parliament.
The British government said it was disappointed by the decision and confirmed it would appeal to the Supreme Court.
In a statement, the government said it “needs to bring forward a strong domestic legislative agenda. Proroguing Parliament is the legal and necessary way of delivering this.”
Johnson says the country must leave the EU on Oct. 31, with or without a divorce deal to smooth the way. But many lawmakers fear a no-deal Brexit would be economically devastating, and are determined to stop him.