The Supreme Court has judged that the Prime Minister’s advice to the Queen to prorogue Parliament was unlawful, and that the suspension itself is therefore void and of no effect. This was a unanimous judgment by all 11 Justices of the highest court in our country.
Following this ruling, MPs have returned to Parliament and have been continuing their duties.
Prorogation between sessions of Parliament in recent decades has typically lasted less than a week. However, the Government wanted Parliament to be suspended for five weeks. Given the situation facing our country as we approach the Brexit deadline of 31 October, I was firmly opposed to Parliament being shut down in this way.
I also believe Parliament’s suspension in these circumstances is an affront to our democratic principles. As the Supreme Court said in its judgment, the Government’s planned prorogation had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.
This was clearly an example of the Prime Minister abusing his executive power to try and get his own way by silencing Parliament. The Supreme Court’s ruling has slapped-down this power grab and reinforced our system of government whereby the three branches of government hold each other to account and prevent one branch from riding roughshod over the others.
At this stage of the Brexit process, I believe Parliament should be sitting as often as possible. I have always believed that Parliament must be fully involved in the Brexit process – from triggering Article 50, having a meaningful vote on the final deal and shaping our future relationship with the EU.
The Prime Minister should now ensure that he obeys the law, fulfils the will of Parliament, and takes a No Deal Brexit on 31 October off the table. He should also do the honourable thing and resign; however, I can’t see that happening.