Scottish court hands Boris Johnson fresh Brexit blow

Scotland’s highest court of appeal ruled that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks is unlawful. — Reuters pic

The ruling comes a day after the prorogation took place in the early hours of Tuesday, with parliament now suspended for five weeks.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reacted to the accusations made by the Downing Street source - who accused the judges of political bias - saying it was "pitiful, pathetic and desperate".

"The Lord President, Lord Carloway, decided that although advice to HM the Queen on the exercise of the royal prerogative of prorogating Parliament was not reviewable on the normal grounds of judicial review, it would nevertheless be unlawful if its goal was to stymie parliamentary scrutiny of the executive", the Judiciary of Scotland wrote in its summary of the opinion.

It found that Johnson's advice to Queen Elizabeth II to prorogue parliament "was unlawful because it had the objective of stymying parliament", a summary judgement said.

The Government would nearly certainly have to advise the Queen to recall Parliament immediately in such an instance.

A lower court last week ruled that the advice on prorogation was a matter of political judgement and not for judges to decide - but this was overruled by the inner house, Scotland's supreme civil court.

The British government said it was disappointed by the decision and would appeal to the Supreme Court.

A defeat in court after six losses in the Commons before prorogation also gives the opposition a chance to frame Johnson as a serial loser who can't win in or outside of parliament.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Scottish National Party (S.N.P.), Ian Blackford, has written to Prime Minister Johnson demanding that he recall parliament in light of the ruling in Scotland.

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Speaking to Euronews, prominent Remainer and Labour peer Lord Adonis said: "Boris has time to waffle away on the internet but he refuses to speak to Parliament".

Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru's leader in Westminster, said there would be a "strong case" for impeaching Mr Johnson - a penalty last used against an MP 213 years ago - if the Supreme Court rules that he acted unlawfully.

They added: "The Court will accordingly make an Order declaring that the prime minister's advice to HM the Queen and the prorogation which followed thereon was unlawful and is thus null and of no effect".

The petitioners to the Scottish Court of Session case included 13 Welsh MPs, including Geraint Davies, Lord Hain, Tonia Antoniazzi, Wayne David, Stephen Doughty, Jonathan Edwards, Ruth Jones, Ben Lake, Anna McMorrin, Madeline Moon, Owen Smith and Jo Stevens.

Labour, which blocked an attempt to call an election in October, says it would back one after Brexit is either delayed, or a deal has been done - pointing to a possible November poll.

Dominic Grieve, one of 21 Brexit rebels thrown out of Johnson's Conservative Party last week, said that if Johnson had misled the queen, he should resign.

It is now unclear what impact the judgement will have on the current suspension of Parliament, which began in dramatic scenes on Tuesday morning.

He referred the matter to the UK Supreme Court for resolution.

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