Boris Johnson says he will "respect" decision of the Supreme Court

24 September 2019, 07:27

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Supreme Court has ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.

A panel of 11 justices at the Supreme Court in London gave their decision on Tuesday in a ruling on the legality of the Prime Minister's advice to the Queen to prorogue Parliament until October 14.

The judges, led by the court's president Lady Hale, heard appeals over three days arising out of legal challenges in England and Scotland - which produced different outcomes.

The panel held unanimously that Mr Johnson's advice to the Queen was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating Parliament.

The court also found the prorogation and was also "void and of no effect" - meaning Parliament has not been suspended.

Commons Speaker John Bercow has said that Parliament will sit from 11:30am on Wednesday morning.

Speaking in New York, the Prime Minister said: "Obviously this is a verdict that we will respect and we respect the judicial process.

"I have to say that I strongly disagree with what the justices have found. I don't think that it's right but we will go ahead and of course Parliament will come back."

A No 10 source said: "The PM will not resign following the judgment.

"Following the PM giving his speech at the UN this evening he will be flying back overnight to the UK and there will be a Cabinet call today while the PM is in New York."

Lady Hale said: "It is important once again to emphasise that these cases are not about when and on what terms the United Kingdom is to leave the European Union.

"They are only about whether the advice given by the Prime Minister to Her Majesty the Queen... was lawful."

Lady Hale said the case is a "one-off", having come about "in circumstances which have never arisen before and are unlikely to ever arise again".

Lady Hale announced that the court's judgment was the unanimous judgment of all 11 justices.

She added that the court found the issue was "justiciable" - capable of challenge in the courts.

Lady Hale told the court that "a decision to prorogue, or advise the monarch to prorogue, will be unawful if the prorogation has the effect of frustrating or preventing without reasonable justification the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions as a legislature and as the body responsible for the supervision of the executive".

Lady Hale said: "The court is bound to conclude therefore that the decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions."

Lady Hale said the prorogation was "void and of no effect", adding: "Parliament has not been prorogued."

Lady Hale continued that the speakers of the Houses of Commons and Lords "can take immediate steps to enable each house to meet as soon as possible".

Protesters outside the Supreme Court
Protesters outside the Supreme Court. Picture: PA

Earlier the Prime Minister refused to rule out resigning if he is found to have misled the Queen in suspending Parliament.

Boris Johnson insisted the five-week Westminster break would have allowed for a new government agenda, but critics said he wanted to silence the Brexit debate.

He was questioned by reporters on a flight to New York over whether he would resign if the Government lost.

"I will wait and see what the justices decide, the Supreme Court decides, because as I've said before I believe that the reasons for ... wanting a Queen's speech were very good indeed," he said.

Mr Johnson also rubbished the idea there would be no Parliamentary scrutiny of any proposed Brexit deal. He said: “When it comes to parliamentary scrutiny, what are we losing? Four or five days of parliamentary scrutiny when they’ve had three years to discuss these issues and will be able to come back and discuss Brexit after the European Council on October 17. Donnez-moi un break is my message to those who say there will be no parliamentary scrutiny. It is absolute nonsense.”

The government has said it will "abide by the ruling" of the Supreme Court.

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