Mon | Sep 23, 2019

UK court rules Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament unlawful

Published:Wednesday | September 11, 2019 | 10:06 AM
The entrance of the Supreme Court in London, Wednesday, September 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s political opposition demanded Wednesday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson reverse his suspension of Parliament after a court ruled that his decision to send lawmakers home less than two months before the U.K. is due to leave the European Union was unlawful.

Judges at Scotland’s highest civil court said the government’s action was illegal “because it had the purpose of stymieing Parliament.”

But the Court of Session judges said Britain’s Supreme Court must make the final decision at a hearing next week.

Johnson claims he shut down the legislature this week so that he can start afresh on his domestic agenda at a new session of Parliament next month.

But the five-week suspension also gives him a respite from rebellious lawmakers as he plots his next move to break the political deadlock over Brexit and lead Britain out of the EU by October 31.

The Scottish judges said “the only inference that could be drawn was that the U.K. government and the prime minister wished to restrict Parliament.”

They ruled that the suspension was “null and of no effect,” but referred the matter to the Supreme Court for resolution. A hearing there is due to begin Tuesday.

Opposition politicians urged the government to scrap the suspension and recall lawmakers to Parliament.

The court ruling came after a group of more than 70 opposition lawmakers challenged the government’s decision to prorogue, or formally shut down, Parliament, until October 14 — just over two weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU.

Last week, a court in Edinburgh rejected the lawmakers’ challenge, saying it was a matter for politicians, not the courts, to decide.

But that was overturned Wednesday on appeal.

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