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UK's Top Court Deals Devastating Blow to Boris Johnson

Court rules that suspension of Parliament was 'unlawful'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 24, 2019 5:03 AM CDT
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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019.   (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
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(Newser) – In a major blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Britain's highest court ruled Tuesday that his decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks in the crucial countdown to the country's Brexit deadline was illegal. The unanimous Supreme Court ruling declared the order to suspend Parliament "void and of no effect." Supreme Court President Brenda Hale said the suspension "was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification," the AP reports. Hale said the court's decision means Parliament was never legally suspended and is technically still sitting.

In this nation without a written constitution, the case marked a rare confrontation between the prime minister, the courts, and Parliament over their rights and responsibilities. It revolved around whether Johnson acted lawfully when he advised the queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks during a crucial time frame before the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline when Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union. Johnson, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, has refused to say whether he will resign if he is found to have broken the law, or will seek to shut down Parliament again. Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow said he welcomed the decision and said Parliament should convene "as a matter of urgency," the Guardian reports.

(Read more Boris Johnson stories.)

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