The Supreme Court has today ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful.
Boris Johnson prorogued Parliament for five weeks earlier this month, despite protests he claimed it was to allow a Queen’s Speech to outline his new policies.
However, the court said it was wrong to stop Parliament carrying out its duties in the run-up to the Brexit deadline on 31 October.
The Supreme Court’s president, Lady Hale, said: “The effect on the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme.”
She added: “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 said the unanimous decision of the 11 justices was that Parliament had not been prorogued – the decision was null and of no effect – and it was for the Speakers of the Commons and Lords to decide what to do next.
While Downing Street has said it is “currently processing the verdict” many have already started to call for Mr Johnson’s resignation and to immediately recall Parliament.
Commons Speaker John Bercow welcomed the ruling and said: “I welcome the supreme court’s judgement that the prorogation of parliament was unlawful. The judges have rejected the government’s claim that closing down parliament for five weeks was merely standard practice to allow for a new Queen’s speech. In reaching their conclusion, they have vindicated the right and duty of parliament to meet at this crucial time to scrutinise the executive and hold ministers to account. As the embodiment of our parliamentary democracy, the House of Commons must convene without delay. To this end, I will now consult the party leaders as a matter of urgency.”