LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for more than a month before Brexit was ruled unlawful by Scotland’s highest court of appeal on Wednesday, one of three legal challenges facing the British prime minister.
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks with year four and year six pupils during a visit to Pimlico Primary school in London, Britain, September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
Parliament was prorogued, or suspended, on Monday until Oct. 14, a move opponents argued was designed to allow the prime minister to push through a no-deal exit from the European Union on Oct. 31 with little scrutiny.
Johnson had argued he needed to launch a new legislative agenda. But three Scottish judges who heard an appeal last week concluded that the principal reason to prorogue parliament was to prevent it holding the executive to account over Brexit.
Johnson’s office said the government would appeal to the Supreme Court, the highest judicial body in the United Kingdom. It was not clear what effect the ruling would have.
A separate legal challenge, brought by the campaigner Gina Miller, is to be heard by the Supreme Court next Tuesday. Belfast’s High Court will rule on a third challenge on Thursday.
Robert Blackburn, a professor of constitutional law at King’s College university in London, had said the cases were likely to be combined and the Supreme Court could overturn the decision to suspend parliament.
“The Supreme Court could quash and/or declare unlawful” the order, he said.
Around 70 lawmakers from opposition parties backed a bid to have Scotland’s highest civil court rule that Johnson cannot suspend parliament before Britain leaves the EU on Oct. 31.