The UK Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that Boris Johnson’s decision to shut down parliament in the run-up to Brexit was unlawful, but a defiant prime minister said he disagreed and vowed that Britain would leave the EU by Oct. 31, come what may.
The stinging judgment by all 11 of the court’s sitting justices undermines Johnson’s already fragile grip on power and gives legislators more scope to try to stop him taking Britain out of the bloc next month, with or without a divorce deal.
Responding in New York to the judgment, which said that the suspension was null and void, Johnson said he would respect the ruling but “strongly disagreed” with it, making clear the setback would make no difference to his Brexit agenda.
The Supreme Court ruling, the most important constitutional legal ruling in decades, was a blistering rebuke of Johnson’s actions.
“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,” Supreme Court President Brenda Hale said.
The ruling said Johnson had not given any reason - “let alone a good reason” - for suspending the legislature for five weeks, an act which had had an “extreme” effect on the fundamentals of British democracy.