The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament – a process known in Britain as “proroguing” – is illegal.
In a surprising unanimous decision, the court ruled that Johnson had no justification for suspending Parliament and urged Parliament to reconvene as quickly as possible.
The ruling is a blow to Johnson and his efforts to deliver Brexit by October 31. James Forsyth has some perspective on the ruling over at The Spectator:
The Supreme Court verdict is a massive constitutional moment. The judges have ruled that the issue of prorogation is justiciable, which the High Court deemed it not to be. They have also declared that the order in council which led to the prorogation was unlawful and so that parliament hasn’t actually been prorogued. In other words, that prorogation never happened.
What is, perhaps, most surprising is that this verdict is unanimous. The expectation in both legal and political circles was that this would be a close decision with a sizeable chunk of the court dissenting from whatever judgement was reached.
This decision is a considerable blow to Boris Johnson. He will now have to return to a parliament where he has no majority and where he is almost certain to lose control of the order paper again, meaning that his parliamentary opponents can continue to try and bind his hands ahead of the European Council next month.
If there’s any consolation for the Prime Minister, it’s that the court refused to specifically rule that Johnson lied to the Queen when he approached her about proroguing Parliament.
It’ll be interesting to see what this means for Boris Johnson, for Brexit, and for Britain’s constitutional framework. Keep your eyes glued across the pond, because the UK is definitely going through some fascinating times.