UK supreme court rules John­son’s sus­pen­sion of par­lia­ment un­law­ful PM faces ac­cu­sa­tions of giv­ing House Will Re­con­vene ‘pub­lic money’ as grant to friend To­day: Speaker


The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global - Naomi Can­ton Ben­jamin Mueller Lady Brenda Hale

Lon­don: Eleven judges in Bri­tain’s high­est court de­liv­ered a mo­men­tous blow to Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son’s gov­ern­ment on Tues­day when they unan­i­mously pro­nounced his five-week pro­ro­ga­tion of Par­lia­ment was un­law­ful.

The UK Supreme Court quashed the sus­pen­sion of Par­lia­ment, trig­ger­ing calls from op­po­si­tion lead­ers for John­son’s res­ig­na­tion and for an emer­gency na­tional unity gov­ern­ment to be formed.

The jus­tices ruled the Prime Min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion to ad­vise the Queen to sus­pend Par­lia­ment from the se­cond week of Septem­ber “was un­law­ful” be­cause it had the ef­fect of pre­vent­ing Par­lia­ment from car­ry­ing out its con­sti­tu­tional func­tions as a leg­is­la­ture. The judges said: “The ef­fect upon the fun­da­men­tals of democ­racy was ex­treme” and “no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion had been put be­fore the court”.

De­liv­er­ing the ver­dict, Supreme Court Pres­i­dent Lady Hale said: “The Prime Min­is­ter’s ad­vice to Her Majesty was un­law­ful, void and of no ef­fect. The Or­der in Coun­cil (leg­is­la­tion made in the name of the Queen) to which it led was also un­law­ful, void and of no ef­fect and should be quashed. This means the pro­ro­ga­tion was also void and of no ef­fect. Par­lia­ment has not been pro­rogued.”

Speaker John Ber­cow an­nounced Par­lia­ment would con­vene on Wed­nes­day and there would be scope for ur­gent ques­tions and ap­pli­ca­tions for emer­gency de­bates, mean­ing Par­lia­ment could once again seize con­trol of the or­der pa­per.

Speak­ing from New York where he is at­tend­ing the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly, John­son said he re­spected the judg­ment but “strongly dis­agreed” with it. “The pro­ro­ga­tion has been used for cen­turies with­out this John­son on Tues­day re­newed his call for the ri­val Labour Party to back new elec­tions. ‘The ob­vi­ous thing to do is call an elec­tion. Jeremy Cor­byn is talk­ing out the back of his neck,’ John­son told re­porters on a visit to New York, re­fer­ring to the Labour leader

kind of chal­lenge. There are a lot of peo­ple who want to frus­trate Brexit and we have a Par­lia­ment that is un­able to be pro­rogued, does not want to have an elec­tion and I think it’s time we take things for­ward. The peo­ple of the UK want to see Brexit de­liv­ered. On Oc­to­ber 31 , we in­tend to be more global and outward-look­ing than ever be­fore and we are go­ing to take ad­van­tage of all the free­doms that Brexit can give,” he said.

The jus­tices were de­cid­ing on two ap­peals — one brought by anti-Brexit cam­paigner Gina Miller against the high court which had ear­lier dis­missed her chal­lenge to the law­ful­ness of pro­ro­ga­tion, as well as an ap­peal brought by the ad­vo­cate gen­eral against a Scot­tish judg­ment which had found pro­ro­ga­tion was “mo­ti­vated by stymy­ing par­lia­men­tary scru­tiny of gov­ern­ment”.

“No one is above the law — not even Boris John­son and his en­ti­tled chums,” said PIO shadow at­tor­ney gen­eral Shami Chakrabart­i, whose par­ents hail from Kolkata.

Leader of the op­po­si­tion Jeremy Cor­byn said: “I in­vite Boris John­son to con­sider his po­si­tion and be­come the short­est serv­ing PM there has ever been,” he said.

The odds of John­son be­ing gone by the end of the year plunged to odds-on at 10/11, ac­cord­ing to bet­ting provider Bet­fair Ex­change. A UK gen­eral elec­tion looks al­most a cer­tainty this year at odds of 4/9. Lon­don: On PM Boris John­son’s tur­bu­lent path to Down­ing Street, se­rial phi­lan­der­ing and eth­i­cal slop­pi­ness be­came part of his shtick, blots on a ca­reer so chaotic and be­guil­ing that the Bri­tish pub­lic al­ways seemed to for­give the mis­takes. But John­son is now fac­ing a po­ten­tially more se­ri­ous ac­cu­sa­tion of mix­ing friend­ship with a young woman and mis­spent pub­lic money, one that could test vot­ers’ pa­tience in a loom­ing gen­eral elec­tion.

In an ar­ti­cle pub­lished this week­end, The Sunday Times of Lon­don re­ported that, when John­son was mayor of Lon­don, his of­fice di­rected tens of thou­sands of pounds in gov­ern­ment money to a fledg­ling en­tre­pre­neur and close friend Lon­don: Even be­fore she de­liv­ered the mo­men­tous de­ci­sion that crushed PM Boris John­son’s sus­pen­sion of par­lia­ment, supreme court pres­i­dent Lady Brenda Hale had brought a blast of fresh air to Bri­tain’s stuffy and male-dom­i­nated in­sti­tu­tions.

Af­ter she read out the court’s rul­ing on live tele­vi­sion on Tues­day morn­ing, Hale was be­ing lauded as fash­ion and fem­i­nist icon — due in part to the huge spi­der brooch that adorned her trim black out­fit. “The Beyonce of the le­gal world...stole the show with her spi­der brooch,” said the Daily Mir­ror. The Guardian sug­gested the brooch may have given a clue to which way the rul­ing was go­ing to go. “Wear­ing a spi­der to de­liver news that trapped the prime min­is­ter felt pointed,” it said.

The brooch is one in a col­lec­tion which Hale sports in whose apart­ment he of­ten vis­ited dur­ing work­ing hours.

The en­tre­pre­neur, Jen­nifer Ar­curi, an Amer­i­can and a for­mer model, was 27 when she first crossed paths with John­son in 2012. In the en­su­ing years, she was given cov­eted spots on trade mis­sions with the mayor to Tel Aviv, New York, Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia. In some in­stances, John­son’s of­fice in­ter­vened to add her to the ros­ter even though she did not meet the court that also in­cludes a frog, a fox and a cen­tipede. But as a very mod­ern women, she might not wel­come the at­ten­tion on how she dresses and would rather the fo­cus was on how she runs the United King­dom’s high­est ju­di­cial body.

The supreme court has only been in ex­is­tence since 2009. Never in its short his­tory had it weighed such a mo­men­tous case. And never had Bri­tons been treated to so many mod­ern trap­pings at a core es­tab­lish­ment in­sti­tu­tion. cri­te­ria for trade del­e­gates, The Sunday Times re­ported.

John­son re­peat­edly re­fused to an­swer ques­tions about the ar­ti­cle, in­clud­ing whether he was in a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with Ar­curi at the time.

And the Bri­tish De­part­ment for Dig­i­tal, Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport, which this year awarded Ar­curi’s com­pany a grant of £100,000 in­tended for Bri­tish firms, said it was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the grant af­ter it was re­ported that Ar­curi had va­cated the com­pany’s reg­is­tered ad­dress in Eng­land and now lives in Cal­i­for­nia.

“This goes into a new cat­e­gory — it’s no longer just the tabloid sex scan­dal thing,” said So­nia Pur­nell, au­thor of “Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Am­bi­tion.” “Ev­ery sin­gle in­gre­di­ent there is alarm­ing. ”

Un­like other Bri­tish courts, Hale and her fel­low judges do not wear wigs nor do they sit in an el­e­vated po­si­tion.

While TV cam­eras are barred from nearly all other tri­bunals, the supreme court’s live stream on the first day of the hear­ing was ac­cessed on its web­site more than 4 mil­lion times. Thrust into the Brexit mael­strom, Hale in­sisted her court was de­ter­min­ing points of law, not pol­i­tics. “I must re­peat that this case is not about when or on what terms the UK leaves the EU,” she told the court when hear­ings fin­ished.

Hale, 74, be­came SC pres­i­dent two years ago and is em­blem­atic of its mod­ern face. She be­came a high court judge in 1994 and Bri­tain’s first fe­male law lord in 2004 — un­til re­cently the top court’s only woman. Last year, she made a brief ap­pear­ance on a TV cook­ing show MasterChef.




Jen­nifer Ar­curi

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.