Boris Johnson’s Parliament shutdown ruled unlawful by Scotland’s highest court

The highest court in Scotland has ruled that Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament is unlawful.

The decision on appeal comes less than 36 hours after the Commons was shut down despite the ongoing legal case.

Parliament was prorogued just after 1am on Tuesday in the face of unwilling Speaker John Bercow, who warned it was being used as an act of “fiat”.

The appeal judgement appears to reverse an initial finding in the same case at Edinburgh’s Court of Session last week.

Lord Doherty said the prorogation was lawful last Wednesday morning.

But three judges of the Inner House, the supreme civil court in Scotland, disagreed with Lord Doherty's ruling.

Their judgement said the Prime Minister's advice to the Queen was "motivated by the improper purpose of stymying Parliament and it, and what has followed from it, is unlawful".

It concluded: "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 verdict will now trigger a final hearing at the UK Supreme Court in London next Tuesday, a lawyer backing the case said.

Campaigning QC Jo Maugham added: "We believe that the effect of the decision is that Parliament is no longer prorogued."

The UK Government plans to appeal against the latest ruling.

Speaking outside court today, victorious SNP MP Joanna Cherry said she was confident the decision would now be upheld by the Supreme Court.

She branded the prorogation of Parliament “a plot to prevent us representing our constituents views” and scrutinise ministers over a back-door no-deal Brexit.

Ms Cherry was one of a cross-party group of 75 MPs and Peers who argued that the the Prime Minister's decision to prorogue Westminster to reduce the time parliamentarians have to scrutinise Brexit legislation or attempt to prevent a no-deal Brexit was unlawful.

Jolyon Maugham QC, who was second petitioner in the case, tweeted: "We have won. Appeal begins in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

"We believe that the effect of the decision is that Parliament is no longer prorogued.

"I have never been able to contemplate the possibility that the law could be that our sovereign Parliament might be treated as an inconvenience by the Prime Minister.

"I am pleased that Scotland's highest court agrees. But ultimately, as has always been the case, it's the final arbiter's decision that matters.

"We will convene again in the Supreme Court next week."

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by today’s decision, and will appeal to the UK Supreme Court. The UK Government needs to bring forward a strong domestic legislative agenda. Proroguing Parliament is the legal and necessary way of delivering this.”

During the original hearing it was revealed that the Government appeared to consider suspending Parliament as early as mid-August, two weeks before publicly announcing the move and despite Mr Johnson's spokesman claiming at the time that any suggestion of prorogation was "entirely false".


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