London, 24 September 2019 (dpa/MIA) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ignored calls to resign on Tuesday after a historic ruling by the Supreme Court that his suspension of parliament was unlawful.
Supreme Court president Brenda Hale said Johnson‘s advice to Queen Elizabeth II to prorogue, or suspend, Parliament “was unlawful, void and has no effect,” adding that the court’s 11 judges were unanimous in their decision.
“This was not a normal prorogation,” Hale said. “It prevented parliament from carrying out its normal role.”
She said the effect of the suspension “upon the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme.”
Critics of the move to suspend parliament attacked Johnson after the verdict.
“Boris Johnson has lied and lied; the court has now found him to have acted unlawfully. He must resign,” tweeted Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party’s leader in the British parliament.
Johnson told reporters in New York, where he is attending UN meetings, that he disagrees with the ruling but will respect it.
He did not comment on the calls from all opposition parties for him to resign.
“The most important thing is that we get on and deliver Brexit on October 31,” Johnson said, adding that he will continue trying to secure a Brexit deal with Brussels.
He is expected to return to London after Speaker John Bercow announced the resumption of parliament’s elected house, the Commons, on Wednesday.
Johnson said he wanted to suspend parliament to clear the way for the announcement of a new government work program. Opponents accused him of seeking to limit scrutiny of Brexit, amid fears that he could allow a damaging no-deal Brexit on October 31.
SNP lawmaker Joanna Cherry, who led one of the two legal successful challenges, said she was “delighted” by the ruling.
“MPs must get back and be brave and bold in holding this unscrupulous government to account,” anti-Brexit legal activist Gina Miller, who led a second challenge, told reporters outside the Supreme Court.
Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for Johnson to “consider his position” and become Britain’s “shortest-serving prime minister.”
The ruling was being watched carefully across Europe. Influential EU lawmaker Guy Verhofstadt welcomed the ruling as a sign that the rule of law in Britain “is alive and kicking.”
“Parliaments should never be silenced in a real democracy,” Verhofstadt tweeted.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage blamed controversial ex-Vote Leave campaign director Dominic Cummings, now a senior adviser to Johnson, for “the worst political decision ever” to suspend parliament.
“Dominic Cummings must go,” the outspoken anti-EU campaigner tweeted.
Amber Rudd, a pro-EU senior lawmaker who resigned from Johnson‘s government earlier this month, said his cabinet was not shown the legal advice on the suspension, “despite personal assurances from the PM.”
But Conservative lawmaker David Davies backed Johnson, saying he is “doing everything possible to deliver on the clear result of a referendum in the face of a powerful pro-EU establishment.”