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Boris Johnson's suspension of Parliament is unlawful, Supreme Court rules: Live updates

運営事務局 JIMOPLE 69 September 24, 2019
Christopher Furlong - WPA Pool /Getty Images
Christopher Furlong - WPA Pool /Getty Images

Boris Johnson has had some awful days since becoming Prime Minister. But Tuesday’s ruling that his decision to suspend – or prorogue – the legislative branch of his own government was unlawful really sets a new low.

Those who opposed Johnson’s suspension, from opposition leaders to several of his own Conservative lawmakers, have already made clear their intention to get Parliament back on its feet and holding Johnson to account ASAP.

John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has been out the blocks early, saying that “the prorogation was unlawful and is void” and therefore “the resumption of the business of the House of Commons” will take place Wednesday morning.

Untangling the parliamentary jargon, this means that Parliament never stopped sitting, meaning that there is no need for Johnson to lay out a legislative agenda nor to have a formal re-opening of Parliament in order to do so (his given reason for choosing to suspend in the first place).

On paper, this is all very embarrassing and damaging for a leader. But politics works in funny ways. Whenever Parliament comes back, the politics of the situation remain as deadlocked as ever and the October 31 Brexit deadline is still happening.

This leaves Johnson with two options: try to find a compromise in Parliament to get a deal through before October 31, or lean even harder into being Mr. Brexit.

As things stand, Johnson is perfectly placed to say that everyone is against him: the opposition parties, Parliament, the Speaker, and now even the courts. If he is forced to extend Brexit and hold an election, he can point his finger at his opponents and repeatedly say that the establishment stole Brexit from the people.

If he instead goes the compromise route, then he might get a deal through Parliament. However, if he does this, he leaves a space for someone else to scream Brexit betrayal.

Both options are risky, but that’s where Brexit has left British politics. And if Johnson wants a way out of this other than being the shortest-serving leader in history, then, at some point, there has to be a risk he is willing to take.