UK Supreme Court to rule Tuesday on Parliament suspension


Anti Brexit campaigner Steve Bray walks on the beach to pose for a photograph during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, England, Monday, Sept. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

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LONDON (AP) — In a decision with wide-ranging political ramifications, Britain’s Supreme Court plans to give its verdict Tuesday on the legality of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s five-week suspension of Parliament.

Britain’s highest court plans to announce the decision Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. after holding three days of testimony last week before 11 judges.

The court is deciding whether Johnson acted improperly by shutting down Parliament this month for five weeks before Britain’s Oct. 31 Brexit deadline, when the country is scheduled to leave the European Union. The topic has deeply divided British politicians as well as the public.

The government says the decision to suspend Parliament until Oct. 14 was routine and is not subject to review by the courts. It claims that under Britain’s unwritten constitution, it is a matter for politicians, not judges, to decide.

The government’s opponents argued that Johnson illegally shut down Parliament just weeks before the country is due to leave the 28-nation bloc for the “improper purpose” of dodging lawmakers’ scrutiny of his Brexit plans. They also accused Johnson of misleading Queen Elizabeth II, whose formal approval was needed to suspend the legislature.

Johnson, an outspoken Brexit advocate who is willing to leave the EU without a deal if necessary, has been at odds with Parliament, which has passed a law requiring the government to seek an extension to the Brexit deadline if no Brexit deal is reached by Oct. 19.

Johnson has said he will not seek a Brexit delay under any circumstances, but it is not clear how he will deal with the new law if no Brexit deal is reached with EU leaders.

The suspension of Parliament sparked several legal challenges, to which lower courts have given contradictory rulings. England’s High Court said the move was a political rather than a legal matter, but Scottish court judges ruled that Johnson acted illegally “to avoid democratic scrutiny.”

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