Quantcast
Connect with us

UK braced for key court ruling on parliament suspension

Published

on

Britain’s Supreme Court will rule on Tuesday whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson acted unlawfully in suspending parliament, in a seismic case that could have profound implications for Brexit and the country’s constitutional foundations.

If the verdict goes against Johnson, it could see parliament rapidly reassemble and would inevitably trigger questions about his position, having unlawfully advised Queen Elizabeth II to suspend parliament.

ADVERTISEMENT

It would be the latest hammer blow to his plans for taking Britain out of the European Union on October 31, and pile huge pressure on his minority government.

It would also raise questions about whether he could hold out as premier long enough to face a general election, which recent polls suggest he could win with a large majority.

His setbacks in parliament and the courts have so far only increased his polling numbers, burnishing his reputation among those who voted to leave the EU, but his popularity could dwindle if he is blamed for dragging the Queen into the fray.

Whatever the decision, it is likely to provoke frenzied reaction, stoking up tensions in an already divided country.

ADVERTISEMENT

– ‘Father of lies’ –

Johnson, who took office on July 24, insists suspending parliament was a routine and long-overdue move to launch a fresh legislative programme.

He also told Sky News on Monday that MPs will still have “ample opportunity to debate Brexit”.

ADVERTISEMENT

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

A ruling against the government would also throw a grenade into the country’s opaque constitutional framework, representing a forray by the judiciary into the political arena.

Johnson was called the “father of lies” and accused of destroying parliamentary democracy during last week’s three-day hearing, which heard two conflicting appeals against lower court decisions on the prorogation move.

ADVERTISEMENT

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

The Supreme Court must therefore decide whether it even has the power to rule on such a case, before coming to any decision on the legality of the move.

David Pannick, representing campaigners appealing against the High Court ruling, argued that judges had the right to decide the proper scope of the prime minister’s power to advise the head of state on shuttering parliament.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This five-week prorogation has prevented parliament from carrying out its scrutiny functions over the executive over a period of exceptional length… for no rational reason,” he said.

But Advocate General Richard Keen, the British government’s top Scottish legal advisor, said it would see the courts straying into an “ill-defined minefield”.

“This is forbidden territory. It is a matter between the executive and parliament.”

– Biggest constitutional case ‘of century’ –

ADVERTISEMENT

The 11 judges each express their own view, and have broadly five options.

They could decide it is not a matter for the courts, or decide it is within their scope but that Johnson acted lawfully.

They could rule that he acted unlawfully, but that the period of prorogation was not in itself unreasonable, meaning Johnson could decide to prorogue again in a lawful manner.

If they find he acted unlawfully and that he suspended parliament for an unreasonably long time, he will be obliged to recall parliament.

ADVERTISEMENT

The court could also decide that because the prorogation was not lawful, it never really happened, meaning parliament remains in session.

“It would be ruling on the basis of general principle, and the general principle is that the government is accountable to parliament,” professor Robert Hazell, from University College London’s Constitution Unit, told AFP.

But even more consequential than the actual prorogation ruling will be the court’s decision on whether political disputes such as this fall within its scope, he added.

If the judges decide they do, it would represent a “big step” in Britain moving away from a “political constitution” towards a “more tightly-regulated legal constitution.”

“This is going to be the biggest constitutional case, certainly of the decade, and possibly of the century,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘He’s cooked’: Sam Donaldson warns Trump the Senate may vote to convict him after impeachment trial

Published

on

Veteran newsman Sam Donaldson on Monday evening told CNN viewers not to assume that Senate Republicans would refuse to remove President Donald Trump from office during an impeachment vote.

"Breaking news," CNN Don Lemon alerted. "A CNN source saying that the effort to pressure Ukraine for political help alarmed John Bolton so much that the told an aide to alert White House lawyers that Giuliani was a hand grenade who will blow everyone up. And a source familiar with Fiona Hill’s testimony says the former Russia adviser told lawmakers she was she saw wrongdoing in the Ukraine policy and reported it."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Rudy Giuliani admits ‘Fraud Guarantee’ paid him $500,000 to work for indicted associate

Published

on

Rudy Giuliani admitted being paid a half a million dollars by an associate currently being held in federal custody, Reuters reported Monday.

"President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was paid $500,000 for work he did for a company co-founded by the Ukrainian-American businessman arrested last week on campaign finance charges, Giuliani told Reuters on Monday. The businessman, Lev Parnas, is a close associate of Giuliani and was involved in his effort to investigate Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination," Reuters reported.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

John Bolton ripped Rudy Giuliani as a drug dealer and ‘hand grenade’: report

Published

on

Then-National Security Advisor John Bolton was reportedly shocked by the shadow foreign policy being conducted by Rudy Giuliani, a top former National Security Council official testified to Congress on Monday, The New York Times reports.

"The effort to pressure Ukraine for political help provoked a heated confrontation inside the White House last summer that so alarmed John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, that he told an aide to alert White House lawyers, House investigators were told on Monday," the newspaper reported. "Mr. Bolton got into a sharp exchange on July 10 with Gordon D. Sondland, the Trump donor turned ambassador to the European Union, who was working with Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, to press Ukraine to investigate Democrats, according to testimony provided to the investigators."

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image