British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a fresh blow yesterday when a Scottish court ruled that his controversial decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to Brexit was unlawful.
The government immediately appealed, with the case set to be heard in the Supreme Court next Tuesday, and parliament set to remain shut in the meantime.
Johnson says the decision to suspend -- or prorogue -- parliament until October 14 is a routine move allowing his government to launch a new legislative agenda.
But critics accuse him of trying to silence parliamentary opposition to his threat to leave the European Union on October 31 even if he has failed to agree divorce terms with Brussels.
If Johnson fails to secure a deal he insists the country will leave anyway, to the outrage of many MPs who believe a “no deal” exit would bring huge disruption.
After the legal ruling, the opposition Labour party demanded that Johnson urgently recall parliament, which was suspended for five weeks on Tuesday.
However, a government source told AFP that “nothing is changing” until the case was concluded.
The case, brought by 78 British lawmakers, was rejected by a Scottish lower court last week but was overturned yesterday by the Inner House, Scotland’s supreme civil court.
It found that Johnson’s advice to Queen Elizabeth II to prorogue parliament “was unlawful because it had the purpose of stymying parliament”, a summary judgement said.
A British government spokesman said an appeal will be launched at the UK Supreme Court.
He noted a separate legal challenge to prorogation brought at the High Court in London last week had failed.
Scotland’s first minister, Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon, also asked parliament to be recalled.
“The immediate political implications are clear... parliament must be recalled immediately to allow the essential work of scrutiny to continue,” she tweeted.