Unanimous decision from judges
British Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson’s advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament was unlawful and therefore the House’s prorogation was also illicit and it should be recalled as soon as possible.
The surprising ruling (PDF) from the Supreme Court was the unanimous decision of all 11 judges.
Lady Hale, delivering the verdict, said the court was bound to conclude the advice given to Her Maj was improper and therefore the prorogation was unlawful, void and of no effect. In simple terms the suspension of Parliament never happened.
The decision to prorogue had a damaging effect on Parliament’s ability to do its democratic duties at a crucial time in the UK’s constitutional history, she said. Britain is due to leave the EU on 31 October.
Lady Hale noted drily that she had been glad to hear from the government’s council that the PM would take any necessary steps to follow the court’s verdict. She said she did not believe the PM needed to do anything to recall Parliament and that it is down to the Speaker (the chair of the House of Commons) and Lords Speaker (who presides over the House of Lords chamber).
Commons Speaker John Bercow has already given a statement saying Parliament must reconvene “without delay” as opposition parties call for the PM’s resignation.
Applicant Gina Miller welcomed the verdict and said MPs needed to get back to work and hold “this unscrupulous government to account”.
What happens next in this never-ending shit show is anyone’s guess but it is a severe kick in the danglies to PM Johnson.
There has been speculation that Johnson would attempt a second suspension which would likely quickly be quashed by the court again.
If you need a technology angle – the Supreme Court website had to have a little lie-down in the immediate wake of the verdict. And of course the entire country, and the tech industry within, is affected by this ruling. ®