LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of the British parliament was unlawful, a court ruled on Wednesday, prompting immediate calls for lawmakers to return to work as the government and parliament battle over the future of Brexit.
A partial view shows the Houses of Parliament and the Big Ben clock tower in London, Britain September 11, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Scotland’s highest court of appeal ruled against Johnson’s decision to prorogue, or suspend, parliament from Monday until Oct. 14 — a blow for the government as it seeks to leave the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without a deal.
With seven weeks to go, the government and parliament are locked in conflict over the future of Brexit, with possible outcomes ranging from leaving without a deal to another referendum that could cancel the divorce.
“We are calling for parliament to be recalled immediately,” said Scottish National Party lawmaker Joanna Cherry, who led the legal challenge, after Scotland’s Court of Session ruled the prorogation should be annulled.
“You cannot break the law with impunity, Boris Johnson.”
The government will appeal against the ruling to the Supreme Court, the United Kingdom’s highest judicial body, and an official said Johnson believed parliament remained suspended pending a decision by that court.
In a Facebook broadcast Johnson read out a submitted question from a voter, which said he was running an authoritarian government and asked “Why is home-grown authoritarianism better than EU rule?”
In answer, he said: “I must respectfully disagree with you in your characterization of this government. What we are trying to do is implement the result of the 2016 referendum.”
Still, a group of opposition lawmakers gathered outside the 800-year-old Palace of Westminster demanding its recall.