- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered an unprecedented humiliation Tuesday when the UK’s Supreme Court ruled that his attempt to suspend parliament was invalid and illegal.
- The ruling could hardly have come at a worse time for the prime minister who is currently 3,500 away from London in New York City, and is set to address the UN Tuesday.
- It is not clear how Johnson will respond. He may even abandon an address to the UN to return and deal with the crisis.
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a humiliation of unprecedented scale for a British Prime Minister on Tuesday when the UK Supreme Court declared his decision to shut down parliament to be illegal, unjustified, and invalid.
The court ruled that Johnson’s decision was “unlawful” and that the decision suspend parliament — a process known as prorogation — has no effect.
The decision to suspend parliament was a bold gambit which had the effect of limiting the ability of MPs to control Johnson’s government as it seeks to remove the UK from the European Union by a deadline of October 31.
At the time of writing, Johnson and his administration have yet to respond to the ruling.
For Johnson himself, the decision came at an awful time, while he was 3,500 miles away from London in Manhattan for the UN assembly. The local time was just before 6 a.m.
Johnson is due to address the United Nations’ annual conference Tuesday, his first opportunity to do so as Prime Minister.
Johnson is meant to deliver a speech to announce a new £1 billion ($1.2 billion) fund for UK inventors seeking to create new technology to fight climate change.
This is likely to be totally overshadowed by the court ruling.
He may now be forced to return to London to address parliament after John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, announced his intention to reconvene parliament as soon as possible.
If parliament does reconvene in the next 24 hours, Johnson will likely be be expected to speak during Prime Ministers’ Questions at midday Wednesday.
Prime Ministers often delegate this role while they are overseas, but political reality may make this difficult for Johnson.
British political journalist Paul Waugh speculated that should Johnson fail to return to the UK in time for PMQs, he could be “empty-chaired” by Speaker Bercow.
—Paul Waugh (@paulwaugh) September 24, 2019
Tom Newton Dunn, the poltical editor for The Sun newspaper, suggested that Johnson could abandon his address to the UN to get home sooner.
—Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) September 24, 2019
Alongside a likely rapid return to the UK, Johnson is also facing calls to resign as prime minister from opposition politicians. Labour MP David Lammy calledon the prime minister to “open the doors of Parliament and resign.”
Number 10 Downing Street said it will not be responding to the Supreme Court’s decision immediately, according to Sky political reporter Sam Coates.