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5 Wednesday, September 11, 2019 14:47

Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament was unlawful, rules Scotland’s highest court

LONDON — Scotlands highest court has ruled that Boris Johnsons decision to shut down parliament was unlawful, in a significant blow to the prime ministers authority. Three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotlands most senior judge, on Wednesday overturned a previous ruling that the courts could not intervene in the prime ministers political decision to suspend parliament until mid-October.

Lawyers, who were acting on behalf of over 75 opposition members of Parliament and peers, said Johnsons move to suspend parliament on Monday was illegal and designed to stifle parliamentary debate and scrutiny on Brexit. This was an egregious case of a clear failure to comply with generally accepted standards of behaviour of public authorities, the Court of Sessions ruling said on Wednesday morning.

It was to be inferred that the principal reasons for the prorogation were to prevent or impede Parliament holding the executive to account and legislating with regard to Brexit, and to allow the executive to pursue a policy of a no-deal Brexit without further Parliamentary interference. It added: The prime ministers advice to HM the Queen and the prorogation which followed thereon was unlawful and is thus null and of no effect.

Read more: Boris Johnson plans to solve Brexit by building a bridge over the sea between Scotland and Northern Ireland The Royal Family Johnsons government will now appeal the Scottish appeal courts decision — which also contradicts a ruling made by English judges last week — at the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has already scheduled an emergency hearing for the Scottish and English cases on September 17, along with a third challenge brought in Belfast. Johnson suspended, or prorogued, parliament on Monday, claiming that the longest parliamentary session ever should be brought to a close so that his government could introduce a new domestic agenda with a Queens Speech.

But opponents said the timing of his move indicated he was seeking to stifle opposition to his Brexit plans ahead of the October 31 exit deadline. Johnsons move to prorogue parliament, which was approved by the Queen, also meant he would not receive questions from the House of Commons powerful Liaison Committee on Wednesday afternoon as planned.

A UK government spokesperson said: We are disappointed by todays decision, and will appeal to the UK Supreme Court. The UK government needs to bring forward a strong domestic legislative agenda. Proroguing parliament is the legal and necessary way of delivering this.

. Pro-European Union campaigners welcomed the ruling. Naomi Smith, CEO of Best For Britain, described it as an important victory for democracy. She added: The Prime Minister and his unelected advisors have shown contempt for our Parliament.....


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