British Prime Minister Boris Johnson acted unlawfully when he suspended Britain's parliament just weeks before Brexit, the UK's Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday (September 24).
In a humiliating rebuke to the prime minister, the court ruled that the advice he gave to Queen Elizabeth, under the formal process for suspending parliament, was unlawful.
That means, the court's president Lady Hale said, that the suspension - or prorogation in British jargon - was void, paving the way for British lawmakers to return to parliament.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) SUPREME COURT HEAD, LADY BRENDA HALE, SAYING: "The court is bound to conclude therefore that the decision to advise her majesty to prorogue parliament was unlawful, because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification." Johnson was not in the UK to hear the verdict, away from his disunited nation on a trip to the United Nations in New York.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) UK PRIME MINISTER, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "I have to say I strongly disagree with what the justices have found.
I don't think that it's right.
But we will go ahead and of course parliament will come back." Parliament was prorogued for five weeks on September 10.
Johnson, who has vowed that the UK will leave the European Union at the end of October, with or without a deal, claimed it was so he could come up with a new legislative agenda.
His opponents said it was to side-step parliament - where Johnson lacks a majority and where most lawmakers oppose a no deal Brexit that they fear could have catastrophic economic consequences.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) SUPREME COURT HEAD, LADY BRENDA HALE, SAYING: "Parliament has not been prorogued.
This is the unanimous judgment of all eleven justices.
It is for parliament and in particular the speaker and the Lords' speaker to decide what to do next." And what's next is lawmakers returning to work.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, said parliament will reconvene on Wednesday (September 25).
(SOUNDBITE) (English) SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT, JOHN BERCOW, SAYING: "The prorogation was unlawful and is void." Calls too for Johnson to resign.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH OPPOSITION LABOUR PARTY LEADER, JEREMY CORBYN, SAYING: "And I invite Boris Johnson in the historic words to consider his position." Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said Johnson should now become the shortest-serving prime minister the UK has ever seen.
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