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Boris Johnston – Oh dear, what have I done?

By Bill Heaney

Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful.

The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the UK prime minister’s political decision to prorogue parliament.

The judges said the prorogation was “improper” and done with “the purpose of stymieing  parliament”. It was therefore “null and of no effect”.

Lawyers acting for 75 opposition MPs and peers argued Mr Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks was illegal and in breach of the constitution, as it was designed to stifle parliamentary debate and action on Brexit. 

The British government said it would appeal against the Scottish appeal court’s decision, which also contradicts a decision in Mr Johnson’s favour by senior English judges last week, at the supreme court.

The supreme court has already scheduled an emergency hearing on both the Scottish and English cases for September 17th, alongside a third challenge brought in the courts in Belfast.

At the Scottish appeal hearing, Judge Lord Carloway told the court: “We are of the opinion that the advice given by the government to her majesty the Queen to prorogue parliament was unlawful and that the prorogation itself was unlawful.”

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