UK PM acted unlawfully in suspending Parliament: Supreme Court
Supreme Court defeat deals huge blow to PM Boris Johnson's Brexit strategy
LONDON: Britain's Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson acted unlawfully in suspending Parliament in the run-up to Brexit, in a momentous defeat that sparked calls for him to resign.
The ruling is a huge blow to Mr Johnson's authority and casts further doubt on his vow to leave the European Union on Oct 31 even without a deal with Brussels.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, Mr John Bercow, immediately announced that MPs would reconvene this morning.
The Conservative leader, who is in New York, told British media he "strongly disagreed" with the decision but said he would respect it. He also said Britain should have an election.
Mr Johnson had earlier argued that shutting down parliament until Oct 14 was a routine move to allow his new government to set out a new legislative programme.
But critics accused him of trying to silence MPs.
Delivering the unanimous verdict of 11 judges, Supreme Court president Brenda Hale said "the decision to advise Her Majesty (Queen Elizabeth II) to prorogue was unlawful".
She said this was "because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions".
As a result, the suspension was "void and of no effect", Ms Hale said, adding: "Parliament has not been prorogued."
Mr Bercow subsequently announced that he would reconvene the Commons at 11.30am (6.30pm, Singapore time)today, while the upper House of Lords said it would return the same day.
The judges "have vindicated the right and duty of Parliament to meet at this crucial time to scrutinise the executive", Mr Bercow said.
A small group of protesters outside the court hailed the decision, with one, Mr Gareth Daniels, saying: "This is a great day for democracy."
Mr Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the main opposition Labour party, led calls for the prime minister to step down.
"I invite Boris Johnson, in the historic words, to consider his position, and become the shortest serving prime minister there has ever been," he told his party's annual conference in Brighton yesterday.
Some opposition MPs called for a confidence vote in Mr Johnson, and Mr Bercow indicated that he would allow time for this if a formal request were made.
"I think Boris Johnson should resign," Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon told Sky News television.
The Supreme Court was ruling on two separate challenges, brought by more than 75 lawmakers and a team backed by former Conservative premier John Major. - AFP