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Not for courts to decide parliament suspension: UK PM’s lawyer

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s lawyer told Britain’s Supreme Court on Wednesday that it was not for judges to intervene over his decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to Brexit.

In the second of three days of highly-charged arguments, James Eadie told the country’s top court that parliament had been considering Britain’s exit from the European Union for years.

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He argued that if MPs had needed more time, they had the opportunity to say before Johnson suspended their sitting earlier this month, barely weeks before Brexit is due to take place on October 31.

Eadie said that any suggestion that Johnson’s motives were improper in proroguing, or suspending parliament, were “unsustainable”.

The Supreme Court is deliberating the legality of the advice Johnson gave Queen Elizabeth II to suspend parliament for five weeks until October 14, after two lower courts made conflicting rulings.

Johnson, who took office in July, says he suspended parliament to open a new session with a fresh legislative agenda.

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His opponents claim he did so to silence opposition to his plans to take Britain out of the EU on time, with or without a divorce deal with Brussels.

Eadie said any decision to prorogue parliament was “inherently and fundamentally political in nature” as it concerned managing the government’s legislative agenda, curtailing parliamentary debate and deciding on when it might be appropriate to end a sitting.

“This is, we submit, therefore the territory of political judgement, not legal standards,” he said.

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“If the basic attack is this was improper purpose, motivation or effect, because it was designed to stymie parliament, we respectfully submit: that is unsustainable.”

He said parliament had previously passed laws on prorogation, but there was no law relevant to the case and so it was not for the court to decide upon.

– ‘True reasons’ –

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The maximum 11 of the 12 Supreme Court judges are hearing the case, which began on Tuesday and will end on Thursday, although a decision may be deferred.

Judge Nicholas Wilson questioned Eadie on the lack of a witness statement from the prime minister.

“Isn’t it odd that nobody has signed a witness statement to say ‘this is true, these are the true reasons for what was done’?” he asked.

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Eadie said cabinet documents had been produced which showed the aim of prorogation was to bring forward a new legislative agenda.

The Supreme Court is hearing appeals against two conflicting lower court decisions.

Scotland’s highest civil court called the suspension of parliament “unlawful”, but the High Court in England said it was not a matter for judges.

The Supreme Court must rule on whether they even have the right to adjudicate on the politically contentious issue, before considering Johnson’s motivations.

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Unlike Tuesday’s chaotic scenes, there were few protesters outside the court on Wednesday.


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‘Not true’: Fox News calls out Trump for lying about keeping US soldiers out of harm’s way

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As the U.S. military grapples with the logistics of a quick withdrawal from the northern part of Syria, President Donald Trump drew criticism for abandoning the Kurds and endangering U.S. troops. There are also reports that the army's departure has resulted in members of ISIS escaping from prison.

On Wednesday, Trump defended his decision, insisting that U.S. soldiers were not in danger. "Our soldiers are not in harm's way," he said. “That has nothing to do with us,” he added, about the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds at the Turkish-Syrian border.

But top military officials told Fox News that this was not true. "Not true, according to top US military commanders who tell Fox this is a complicated, deliberate phased withdrawal with a lot of inherent risk," Jennifer Griffin, National Security correspondent for Fox News, wrote on Twitter. "Already US warplanes had to warn approaching foreign troops with a show of force."

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‘Worse than Obama’: Lindsey Graham has full-blown freak out over Trump’s latest Syria statements

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday had a full-blown freak out after President Donald Trump publicly said that the Turkish slaughter of the Kurds in northern Syria was not America's problem.

Writing on Twitter, the senator had his harshest condemnation yet of the president's decision to abruptly pull American troops out of Syria while giving Turkey a green light to invade the area.

"I hope President Trump is right in his belief that Turkeys invasion of Syria is of no concern to us, abandoning the Kurds won’t come back to haunt us, ISIS won’t reemerge, and Iran will not fill the vacuum created by this decision," Graham wrote. "However, I firmly believe that if President Trump continues to make such statements this will be a disaster worse than President Obama’s decision to leave Iraq."

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Trump spirals into deranged conspiracy theory when asked about Giuliani: ‘I want to see the server’

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday blurted out a nearly incomprehensible conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.

During an Oval Office meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, reporters asked Trump if he expected former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify to the House impeachment inquiry.

Trump sidestepped the question and launched into a rant about "corruption" in the 2016 election.

"Giuliani was seeking out corruption in the 2016 election," the president said. "There was tremendous corruption in that 2016 election. It was disgraceful what happened and what happened to me and what happened to the Republicans."

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