Britain’s highest court dealt a major blow on Tuesday to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, ruling that his controversial decision to suspend Parliament was unlawful, in a landmark decision that will have immediate implications for Britain’s departure from the European Union.
In one of the most high-profile cases to come before Britain’s Supreme Court, the 11 judges ruled unanimously that Johnson had not acted lawfully in shuttering Parliament.
The court ruled that Johnson’s decision to ask the queen to suspend Parliament essentially frustrated the ability of lawmakers to do the business of democracy, including debating Johnson’s plans for Brexit.
The ruling was a brutal one for the embattled prime minister, asserting that his move to suspend the Parliament was political maneuver, and suggesting that he might have misled Queen Elizabeth II.
Johnson has said he will not resign.
The ruling follows a three-day court hearing last week at the highest court, which was hastily convened to weigh contrasting judgments from English and Scottish courts on Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament until mid-October.
The high-profile legal case concerns Johnson’s decision to ask Queen Elizabeth II to suspend Parliament from Sept. 10 to Oct. 14, which the prime minister said was needed to introduce his “exciting” new legislative agenda. The queen agreed with the advice of her prime minister, as is customary.
Johnson’s critics say that the break — the longest since 1945 — was an attempt to thwart lawmakers’ ability to scrutinize the government’s Brexit plans ahead of Britain’s scheduled departure from the bloc on Oct. 31.