It was Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to advise the Queen to issue an order in council to prorogue parliament for five weeks. However, in a landmark ruling that followed from an emergency three-day hearing, all 11 justices of the Supreme Court declared the order to be “unlawful, void and of no effect.”
The government’s decision to disregard convention was interpreted as a move to avoid scrutiny by MPs at a time of political crisis, and while Boris Johnson maintains the prorogation was perfectly normal, it’s hard to argue against the highest court in the land. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, The Prime Minister has made it clear he “profoundly disagrees” with the ruling.
The judgement represents a defeat for Mr Johnson, and while it’s highly unlikely he will apologise to the Monarch, the Supreme Court found he had misled the Queen and effectively rejected the convention of British democracy in his pursuit of a “do or die” policy to leave the EU come the end of October.Top of Form
Closing on the matter, the president of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale said: “The effect [of the prorogation] on the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme.”
She added: “The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.”
Welcoming MPs back to their “place of work”, the speaker of the house John Bercow announced that records had been amended to show an “adjournment” rather than a prorogation in parliament. But a little more than 24 hours after the Supreme Court ruling, the Prime Minister shrugged off the warnings from MPs of death threats they were receiving as “humbug”. Having been repeatedly challenged for his use of the word “surrender”, MPs asked the Prime Minister to moderate his language and be wary of the real-life consequences that his actions and words have on the general public.
But the Twitter storm, according to The Prime Minister, will rage on along with the tirade of abuse and death threats until “Brexit is done”. It’s a message that has left a bad taste in the mouth of a number of MPs on both sides; one that has contributed to what John Bercow described as a “toxic culture” in the House of Commons.
Despite the ruling, Boris Johnson said in a speech in New York that he “refused to be deterred” from getting on with what he called “an exciting and dynamic domestic agenda”, and to do that he would need a Queen’s Speech.