The Supreme Court in the UK has ruled that Boris Johnson illegally prorogued Parliament. Martin Kettle writes in The Guardian:
The supreme court has delivered a comprehensive demolition of Boris Johnson’s government and its handling of Brexit. The unanimous judgment of the 11 justices, announced by Lady Hale this morning, amounts to a root and branch rejection of the prime minister’s attempts to rule without parliament, to take Britain out of the European Union by 31 October without a deal, and to contrive a premature general election. The judgment was incisive and without any waffle. It was very consciously written in the best tradition of British constitutional law, of which parliamentary sovereignty is the foundational rock.
The immediate effect of the judgment is devastating for Johnson. It is expressed so cogently and unambiguously that it will be difficult for him to wriggle out of it – even though he is certainly foolish enough to try. Parliament will surely be recalled on Tuesday – since, as the judgment said, it has not been prorogued in the first place. Johnson’s efforts, to the extent that they exist at all, to negotiate a new or tweaked deal with the EU will be held up to the light. And, since Johnson spectacularly lacks a majority in the House of Commons, it is likely that the cross-party efforts to shape Brexit will be redoubled.
The ruling also puts the spotlight on Johnson's opponents:
His opponents, therefore, absolutely need to agree on the form, composition and, above all, the leader of any government that could replace him. If the court’s ruling means anything for politicians, it is that trying to govern as if you have a majority when in fact you do not is impossible. The belief of the hard-right Tory Brexiters that a party coup against Theresa May in a hung parliament would enable them to get their way by electing Johnson lies shattered. They need to learn the lesson very fast. Militant remainers will have to face the equivalent lesson, too. One notable consequence of the judgment, not to be overlooked in the other excitements, is for the Union. By not overruling the Scottish court of session decision on Johnson’s actions, the supreme court has upheld Scottish judges against English ones, and has removed a potential source of grievance for the SNP against “London judges” if the ruling had gone the other way.
Britons are still in a pickle. But their Supreme Court has upheld the primacy of democracy.
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