UK Parliament Shut Down declared Unconstitutional


Kristy Wiggesworth, Associated Press

The British Houses of Parliament.

Brendan Guillen, Reporter

On September 11, 2019, the UK’s decision to shut down Parliament in the run-up to Brexit was declared unconstitutional by Scotland’s highest civil court. Parliament began the shut down September 9th and will remain shut down until October 14th.

Lord Brodie, one of the three senior judges involved in the ruling, stated that “this was an egregious case of a clear failure to comply with generally accepted standards of behavior of public authorities.” The court has not ordered a lift of the prorogation due to the High Court in London having a different ruling. However, the government has confirmed that the Scottish court’s decision would be appealed to the Supreme Court. Currently, the Members of Parliament (MPs) cannot vote for an early election on Brexit, which aids Prime Minister Borris Johnson.

The ruling comes after Prime Minister Johnson reportedly suggested to the Queen that a suspension of Parliament would help via the Queen’s Speech, which establishes a new government legislative agenda. Although the Queen’s Speech is an annual event, the length and timing of the prorogation were criticized due to the Parliament’s inability to legislate against a no-deal Brexit.

Dominic Grieve, former attorney general for Theresa May, stated that if Johnson had purposely misled the Queen, he would have to resign. Johnson later stated that the break would be used to press deals with the EU, though the UK is “preparing to leave without one.” Keir Starmer, the Labour Party’s Brexit spokesperson, tweeted “No one in their right mind believed Boris Johnson’s reason for shutting down Parliament.”

Investigations are ongoing in Parliament.