The 2019 UK Parliament Prorogue Decision.
On the 28th August 2019, the Conservative Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, requested Queen Elizabeth II to prorogued the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
He had what he considered to be “Good Reasons”. Others seemed to agree.
Prorogation of parliament is lawful, English court rules
The period of the prorogation was to be from the 10th September 2019 until the State Opening of Parliament on 14 October 2019.
A prorogation of Parliament, in normal words, means that Parliament is suspended.
It was known by everyone at the time that his main reason was to try to stop parliament from hindering his attempts to fulfil the referendum decision of the British people in the 2016 Brexit Referendum. It was also to enable a Queens Speech, a regular occurence that requires a Prorogation.
They were his genuine reasons.
Various groups, who were all basically against Brexit, were pushing to bring parliament back, so that more time could be spent fighting the final Brexit decision. They had only had since June 2016, and it needed sorting by the end of October 2019.
Prorogation of Parliament is lawful
Three of the most senior judges in England and Wales dismissed the claim from Gina Miller (a highly visible Remain supporter) that the prime minister acted unlawfully in giving advice to the Queen to suspend parliament from next week at a time of momentous political upheaval.
Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament is lawful, English court rules
A Scottish court had turned down a similar legal challenge a few days earlier.
Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament is lawful, Scottish court rules
Prorogation of Parliament is unlawful
The Supreme Court ruled that it was impossible to conclude there had been any reason “let alone a good reason – to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament for five weeks”.
- The British Prime Minister thought it was a good reason to Prorogue Parliament, to follow the will of the people.
- The Supreme Court decided that was NOT a good enough reason to Prorogue Parliament.
“The court is bound to conclude, therefore, that the decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.“
The court ruling does not prevent him from proroguing again in order to hold one, as long as it does not stop Parliament carrying out its duties “without reasonable justification”.
Supreme Court Prorogation Judgment
Quotes from the Supreme Court Prorogation Judgment Summary
- They are only about whether the advice given by the Prime Minister to Her Majesty the Queen on 27th or 28th August, that Parliament should be prorogued from a date between 9th and 12th September until 14th October, was lawful and the legal consequences if it was not.
- The question arises in circumstances which have never arisen before and are unlikely to arise again. It is a “one-off”.
- On 15th August, Nikki da Costa, Director of Legislative Affairs at No 10, sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister, copied to seven people, civil servants and special advisers, recommending that his Parliamentary Private Secretary approach the Palace with a request for prorogation to begin within 9th to 12th September and for a Queen’s Speech on 14th October. The Prime Minister ticked ‘yes’ to that recommendation.
- As soon as the decision was announced, Mrs Miller began the English proceedings challenging its lawfulness.
- On 11th September, the High Court of England and Wales delivered judgment dismissing Mrs Miller’s claim on the ground that the issue was not justiciable in a court of law.
On 24th September 2019, the Supreme Court stated: It follows that the Advocate General’s appeal is dismissed and Mrs Miller’s appeal is allowed.
The Supreme Court Statement on Brexit included in the Judgment.
As everyone knows, a referendum was held (pursuant to the European Union Referendum Act 2015) on 23rd June 2016. The majority of those voting voted to leave the European Union. Technically, the result was not legally binding. But the Government had pledged to honour the result and it has since been treated as politically and democratically binding. Successive Governments and Parliament have acted on that basis.
On 2nd October 2016, Mrs May announced her intention to give notice under article 50 before the end of March 2017. Mrs Gina Miller and others challenged her power to do so without the authority of an Act of Parliament.
It must be recognised that “prorogation, on its own and separate of a Queen’s Speech, has been portrayed as a potential tool to prevent MPs intervening prior to the UK’s departure from the EU on 31st October”.
The dates proposed sought to provide reassurance by ensuring that Parliament would sit for three weeks before exit and that a maximum of seven days were lost apart from the time usually set aside for the conference recess.
Clearly ONLY 7 days would be lost.
The usual length of a prorogation was under ten days, though there had been longer ones. The present proposal would mean that Parliament stood prorogued for up to 34 calendar days but, given the conference recess, the number of sitting days lost would be far less than that.
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