LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s top court will rule on Tuesday whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament was unlawful, a judgment that could lead to the recall of the legislature and give lawmakers more chance to obstruct his Brexit plans.
FILE PHOTO: A woman protests outside the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament, in London, Britain September 17, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Johnson advised Queen Elizabeth to prorogue, or suspend, parliament on Aug. 28, a move his opponents said was made to stymie challenges to his promise to take Britain out of the European Union on Oct. 31 with or without a divorce deal.
Johnson says the aim of the suspension – from Sept. 10 until Oct. 14 – was to allow his Conservative government bring in a new legislative agenda and that few working days would be lost.
The Supreme Court said its 11 justices would hand down their judgment at 10:30 a.m. (0930 GMT) on Tuesday.
During three days of hearings last week, the Supreme Court was told by lawyers for anti-Brexit campaigners, opposition lawmakers and even former Conservative prime minister John Major that the five-week shutdown was the longest in 50 years and simply a means to stop parliament doing its job.
Under Britain’s uncodified constitution, the power to suspend or dissolve parliament formally remains with the monarch, a politically impartial figure who acts in accordance with the advice of the prime minister.
The Supreme Court will have to decide if the issue is one that judges should even be involved in or if it was simply a political issue.
The High Court of England and Wales ruled earlier this month that the issue was indeed not “justiciable” but Scotland’s top court concluded Johnson had acted illegally and that the