Search icon


24th Sep 2019

Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament ruled unlawful by supreme court

Wayne Farry

The decision was made on Tuesday morning

Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament has been ruled unlawful by the supreme court in a ruling being described as “remarkable” by Downing Street Sources.

The decision, which comes after Johnson sought to suspend parliament for five weeks in what many viewed as a cynical ploy to push through a no-deal Brexit, is yet another blow to the prime minister.

Lady Hale said of the decision to suspend parliament: “Parliament, as elected representatives of the people, has a right to a voice… the effect on our elected democracy was extreme.”

The decision by the supreme court was made after 11 judges ruled unanimously that Johnson’s advice that the Queen to prorogue parliament was unlawful.

It follows an emergency three-day hearing on the matter.

“The question arises in circumstances which have never arisen before and are unlikely to arise again,” Lady Hale added.

“This court has … concluded that the prime minister’s advice to Her Majesty was unlawful, void and of no effect. This means that the Order in Council to which it led was also unlawful, void and of no effect should be quashed.

“This means that when the royal commissioners walked into the House of Lords [to prorogue parliament] it was as if they walked in with a blank sheet of paper. The prorogation was also void and of no effect. Parliament has not been prorogued.”

In response to the announcement, House of Commons speaker John Bercow said that parliament must convene without delay.

“As the embodiment of our Parliamentary democracy, the House of Commons must convene without delay. To this end, I will now consult the party leaders as a matter of urgency,” he said.

The news was also welcomed by businesswoman and campaigner Gina Miller, who brought one of the legal challenges to the suspension of Parliament.

She said: “Today is a win for Parliamentary sovereignty… MPs should turn up to work tomorrow and get on with scrutinising this government.”

Earlier this month, a Scottish appeals court also ruled the prorogation unlawful, while the High Court in London later rejected a challenge against Johnson’s move.