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British PM Boris Johnson misled the Queen and broke the law when he suspended Parliament, Scottish Court rules


Tory MP Dominic Grieve said Mr Johnson would have to resign if he is
found to have misled the Queen about suspending parliament

Johnson’s five-week suspension of the British Parliament was always
controversial, but—according to Scotland’s highest court, it’s also illegal and
therefore null and void.

The shock
ruling came through Wednesday from Edinburgh’s Court of Session. The
Conservative prime minister had said “proroguing” Parliament was necessary to
prepare his government’s legislative agenda—this is what he told the Queen when
asking her to approve the suspension. The Scottish court ruled that this advice
was false and unlawful; rather, Johnson wanted to stop lawmakers debating

The ruling,
which was partly based on documents provided by Johnson’s government,
overturned another Scottish judgment last week that said the prorogation issue
was political and not a matter for the courts. It also ran contrary to a ruling
last week from the High Court in London, which said Johnson had not acted
unlawfully in advising the Queen to suspend Parliament.

Both the
High Court and Scottish cases will now move up the U.K.’s Supreme Court for a
final decision. The Supreme Court will only start examining them on September
17, along with a similar case that was lodged in Northern Ireland.

So, what
happens in the intervening six days?

they say Parliament’s prorogation is invalid, the judges at the Court of
Session have not ordered Johnson to recall Parliament immediately, ahead of the
Supreme Court hearings.

there is strong political pressure on Johnson to do so sooner rather than
later, mainly coming from the opposition Labour Party and the Scottish National
Party (SNP)—the 78 lawmakers behind the Scottish case were led by the SNP’s
Joanna Cherry and the Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson.

deputy, Ed Davey, told the BBC that if the Supreme Court agrees that Johnson
misled the Queen, it could mean he has to resign as prime minister.

government has responded by briefing the media that the Scottish
judges were politically biased. Gavin Barwell, who was chief of staff to former
prime minister Theresa May, said on Twitter that this stance was
“very unwise” for a Conservative Party that believes in the union with Scotland,
and the rule of law.

“Our judges
are renowned around the world for their excellence and impartiality and I have
total confidence in their independence in every case,” tweeted Robert
Buckland, who as lord chancellor is responsible for judicial independence—a
clear slap-down for Johnson’s team.

Johnson, an
ardent Brexiteer, claims he wants the U.K. to leave the European Union with a
deal. However, all evidence suggests he is making no effort to
achieve this—his Brexit negotiating team has shrunk to a mere four people—and
that he instead wants the U.K. to crash out with no deal at the end of October.

Thanks to
the looming prorogation of Parliament, opposition forces urgently coalesced
and finalised a law forcing Johnson to ask the EU for another Brexit
extension, just before the suspension took effect on Tuesday. However, the
prime minister still maintains he will not do so, and that Brexit will take
place on schedule.

It remains unclear how Johnson will avoid complying with what the new law tells him to do, while not breaking the law.

source: fortune.com

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