UK Supreme Court to issue parliament ruling 'early next week'

Johnson has suspended parliament for five weeks, with MPs only allowed to return on October 14 -- a fortnight before Britain's planned exit from EU.

Published: 19th September 2019 09:32 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2019 09:32 PM   |  A+A-

UK Parliament

The UK Parliament (File | AP)

By PTI

LONDON: Supreme Court judges will rule early next week on whether British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to Brexit was lawful, the court's president said Thursday.

"We know that this case must be resolved as quickly as possible, and we hope to be able to publish our decision early next week," judge Brenda Hale said as the third and final day of hearings wrapped up.

Johnson has suspended parliament for five weeks, with MPs only allowed to return on October 14 -- a fortnight before Britain's planned exit from the European Union on October 31.

The Conservative leader, who took office in July, insists it was a routine move to allow his government to launch a new legislative programme next month.

But critics accuse him of trying to silence critical MPs at a crucial time, with Britain's exit terms -- and departure date -- still uncertain.

"I must repeat that this case is not about when and on what terms the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. The result of this case will not determine that," Hale said in brief closing remarks.

"We are solely concerned with the lawfulness of the prime minister's decision to advise her majesty (Queen Elizabeth II) to prorogue parliament on the dates in question.

"As we have heard, it is not a simple question and we will now consider carefully all the arguments which have been presented to us."

Eleven of the Supreme Court's 12 judges heard appeals against two conflicting lower court decisions on Johnson's move, involving multiple plaintiffs.

Scotland's highest civil court found the suspension was unlawful, but the High Court in England said it was not a matter for judges to intervene in.

Johnson insists Britain must leave the EU with or without a divorce deal with Brussels, but MPs have legislated to force him to delay Brexit if he has not reached an agreement in time.

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