U.K. Supreme Court Ruling Disrupts British Politics
After succeeding Theresa May as Britain’s prime minister in June 2019, Boris Johnson made the controversial decision of advising Queen Elizabeth II in August to suspend the country’s parliament—advice she accepted.
According to HuffPost, during the prorogation, members of Parliament cease work on all parliamentary matters, and political parties convene in nation-wide conferences. At the end of the prorogation, the Queen makes a speech to Parliament, written by the government, that sets out the new agendas. Despite this being an annual occurrence in British politics, Johnson’s calls to prorogue Parliament were met with significant controversy.
While Johnson maintained that his only motive was for the new government to set its “ambitious domestic legislative agenda,” according to HuffPost, many MPs believed that this move was an effort to avoid scrutiny about his Brexit strategy. In addition to these concerns, the unusual length of Johnson’s proposed prorogation, five weeks, contributed to the controversy.
On September 24, the U.K.’s Supreme Court issued a ruling concluding that Johnson’s “decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful,” BBC reported. The Court argued that it had the “effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.”
Although Johnson has agreed to fully “respect” the ruling, numerous members of Parliament, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, have called for his resignation, according to BBC.
This ruling could not only have significant consequences for Johnson’s political legitimacy domestically, but also on Brexit negotiations with the EU.