+++Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament unlawful, supreme court rules

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A stunning judgment, with huge constitutional importance, which is a massive rebuke to Boris Johnson. Johnson has only succeeded in stirring up a hornets’ nest!

The Guardian reports:

The supreme court has ruled that Boris Johnson’s advice to the Queen that parliament should be prorogued for five weeks at the height of the Brexit crisis was unlawful.

The judgment from 11 justices on the UK’s highest court follows an emergency three-day hearing last week that exposed fundamental legal differences over interpreting the country’s unwritten constitution.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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15 Comments

  • A possible way forward now seems clear. Johnson brings back a “deal” which is effectively May’s deal with a few bells and whistles. Labour and other opposition parties (and the sane Tories) vote for it but Labour et al will insist deal is ratified by a second referendum. We should support this referendum (irrespective of our new revoke policy) and campaign to remain. Even if the deal wins, we still get to stay in the single market/customs union and economic disaster is avoided. Sounds like a plan to me !

  • Daniel Walker 24th Sep '19 - 11:29am

    @Chris Cory ” We should support this referendum (irrespective of our new revoke policy) and campaign to remain.”

    That is our policy absent winning a majority in a GE before a referendum, isn’t it?

  • Bernard Aris 24th Sep '19 - 11:45am

    17,4 million Dutchmen congratulate all British Remainers…

    😉

  • @Daniel Walker. Indeed you are right, but my point is that some members of the electorate probably feel that we are now revokers rather than second referendum supporters. WE understand the subtlety of our position but lets not get hung up on the number of angels on the head of this particular pin.

  • Daniel Walker 24th Sep '19 - 1:21pm

    @Chris Cory “WE understand the subtlety of our position but lets not get hung up on the number of angels on the head of this particular pin.”

    You have a point, but it is a sad state of affairs when a policy that can be summed up as a single “If / then / else” sentence is considered “too complex”!

    But we probably haven’t got time to sort out the parlous state of Civics education before the next election 🙂

  • Richard Underhill 24th Sep '19 - 1:39pm

    The Supreme Court ruling itself quotes from a restriction in 1611
    “the King hath no prerogative except that the law of the land allows him”.

  • Bernard Aris 24th Sep '19 - 1:56pm

    If this isn’t reading those blundering Brexiteers the Riot Act, I don’t know what is.

    The BBC TV news just now mentioned Contempt of Parliament-procedures; that is almost (or: Is) “Hignh Crimens and Misdemeanors”; a ground for Impeachment. see Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_crimes_and_misdemeanors .

    And about the quote in the Supreme Court verdict from 1611 (reign of James I of England / VI of Scotland) :
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_VI_and_I_and_the_English_Parliament .

    For political eartquakes, this will take some effort to beat in the rest of this century.

  • Richard, Bernard – the restriction of 1611 followed magna carta in 1215 and was confirmed by the Bill of Rights in 1688 (which confirmed the legal outcome of the Civil War) which makes it clear that the monarch can only act with the approval of Parliament. That was what Gina Miller’s first court action was about a couple of years ago, reminding people who should know better the most fundamental principle in UK constitutional law. It amazes me that people in politics in this country do not appear to have much understanding of the basics of our law. Just because we do not have a single constitutional document does not mean nothing is written down. Time we had a fully sorted written constitution that defines the running of parliament and its relationship with the executive (and the monarch), elections by STV, elections for the upper house, devolution to the nations and regions and no doubt much else – all key LibDem demands for decades. Our time has come?

  • Bernard Aris 24th Sep '19 - 2:43pm

    @ Rob Renold

    I’m sorry if as a Dutchman I’m not totally up to date about Britisch constitutrional law.

    Seeing the Scotish and London polls mentioned in another LDV thread ( https://www.libdemvoice.org/labours-own-polling-suggests-losses-in-london-and-wipeout-in-scotland-62167.html ), and seeing the Brexit autism on full display at Labour party conference, i don’t doubt we will do better than ever since 1859.

  • Geoffrey Dron 24th Sep '19 - 9:03pm

    http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKSC/2019/41.html

    It’s worth reading the full judgment – link above.

  • Richard Underhill 25th Sep '19 - 12:02am

    Rob Renold 24th Sep ’19 – 2:25pm Thank you.
    Yes, We need a codified and written constitution.
    Gordon Brown tried as PM but David Cameron opposed it.

  • Peter Hirst 25th Sep '19 - 5:28pm

    What is preventing this from recurring with perhaps even more severe outcomes? We need to improve our rules and introduce sanctions for politicians breaking the law. Then, we might improve our politics and increase trust in it by the electorate.

  • Richard Underhill 25th Sep '19 - 11:19pm

    There was no PMQ today but Boris Johnson made a statement. A Plaid Cymru MP quoted from the former MP for Henley, then editor of the Spectator, calling for impeachment of Tony Blair because of the war in Iraq.
    ” the process was first used by the English “Good Parliament” against Baron Latimer in the second half of the 14th century”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment
    Other MPs did not follow up her suggestion.

  • Richard Underhill 25th Sep '19 - 11:23pm

    The last was that of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville in 1806

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