Sunday, September 15, 2019

Scottish Blow to Boris Johnson

Scotland's highest civil court had established that Boris Johnson had acted unlawfully. 

In a unanimous ruling, the Court of Session in Edinburgh said the UK prime minister’s decision to prorogue parliament was motivated by the "improper purpose of stymieing Parliament". 

The panel of three senior Scottish judges believed the move was sought in a "clandestine" manner. In other words, the UK prime minister had intentionally misled the Queen in advising her to suspend Parliament – and which began on Tuesday and MPs are not scheduled to return until October 14. 

[Note: The power to suspend – or prorogue – parliament lies with the Queen, who conventionally acts on the advice of the prime minister]. 

Colin Sutherland Lord Carloway, Lord Philip Brodie and Lord Drummond Young concluded that the "true reason" for the prorogation was to reduce the time available for scrutiny of Brexit. 

The case was brought up by a cross-party group of more than 70 parliamentarians and led by SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC (right). 

The surprise Wednesday decision overturned a ruling the week before when the High Court in London maintained that Johnson had not broken the law – even arguing the suspension of Parliament was a "purely political" move and was therefore "not a matter for the courts".

Contrast that with the Scottish reasoning. They subscribed to the view that the real reason for suspending Parliament – to frustrate its role in holding the government to account – was so significant that it justified a legal ruling. 

In any case, bull-headed Johnson (left) stuck to his guns, stubbornly saying: "The High Court in England plainly agrees with us, but the Supreme Court will have to decide". 

Hah, the smug and snotty Englishman is showing his prejudice! 

A UK government appeal against the ruling will be heard by the Supreme Court in London this week. 

Labour MP Hillary Benn (left), one of the lawmakers leading the charge to seize control of the Brexit process said Britain called on Johnson to recall Parliament. 

"It's of huge constitutional significance", he had said. "If they were to uphold, the Prime Minister will have to bring parliament back. Frankly, he should do it anyway. He should never have sent us away at a time of huge significance. We are in a crisis". 

It is noteworthy to mention that suspending Parliament in order to restart the political calendar is usually a routine annual event – but the timing and length of the five-week prorogation was criticized because it limited opportunities for lawmakers to legislate against a potential no-deal Brexit, ahead of the October 31 deadline for the UK to leave the European Union. 

Indeed, the 2016 decision to leave the EU has left the country’s politics gridlocked and tested to the limit the UK’s largely unwritten constitution.

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