The British Supreme Court unanimously declared Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament “illegal” on Tuesday. In a major defeat for the Prime Minister, the eleven judges unanimously found that Mr Johnson acted outside the law when he asked the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks, until October 14, two weeks before Brexit.
The decision to “suspend parliament was illegal because it had the effect of frustrating or impeding the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification,” said Supreme Court President Judge Brenda Hale, announcing the decision.
The measure was “null and void,” Hale added, saying that “the parliament was not suspended.”
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, who welcomed the decision of the judges, invited MPs to sit again on Wednesday at 11:30.
The judges agreed with the government’s opponents who accused Boris Johnson of suspending Parliament in order to muzzle the opposition and bring the UK out of the European Union on October 31, with or without a divorce agreement.
Boris Johnson has repeatedly said that Parliament’s suspension was justified in order to prepare and present the government’s priorities after taking office in late July.
It is not unusual for a leader in the United Kingdom to adjourn the parliamentary session after coming to power. In addition, Parliament does not traditionally sit for a few weeks in September, while the annual party congress take place. But this suspension, especially because of its length, had sparked a wave of indignation, triggering demonstrations and a judicial offensive.
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, called on Boris Johnson to resign. Speaking at the Labour Party Congress in Brighton, Jeremy Corbyn said Boris Johnson should “reconsider his position”.
Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson said that the judges’ decision shows that Boris Johnson “is not fit to be prime minister”. The Lib-Dems, like the Scottish separatists of the SNP, have called for his resignation.