Sir John Major, the Prime Minister from 1990 until 1997, has called upon Boris Johnson, the current Prime Minister, to return to the House of Commons and offer an unreserved apology. Johnson, who unlawfully advised the Monarch to prorogue Parliament, is expected to return back to the UK early from New York.
Major said in a statement:
“Parliament must now be recalled immediately to recommence its work, and to receive the Prime Minister’s unreserved apology.
I hope this ruling from the Supreme Court will deter any future Prime Minister from attempting to shut down Parliament, with the effect of stifling proper scrutiny and debate, when its sitting is so plainly in the national interest.
No Prime Minister must ever treat the Monarch or Parliament in this way again.”
The Supreme Court has announced that the decision that the Prime Minister’s advice to the Monarch was unlawful, was unanimous from the eleven Justices who were sitting. The Prime Minister is expected to make an announcement shortly on his position and the Government’s decision on how to proceed.
The Supreme Court has released a summary of its findings.
Supreme Court Ruling
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, acted unlawfully in proroguing Parliament the Supreme Court has announced. The Prime Minister is now under intense pressure to resign, although he had earlier indicated that he didn’t currently intend to do so.
The court decided that Johnson acted illegally and has reversed the prorogation of Parliament, leaving the decision on what to do now to the Speaker of the House of Commons. The decision stated that Johnson’s advice to the Monarch was “unlawful, void and of no effect”.
The President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, said on Johnson’s unlawful advice:
“The effect on the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme.”
The Government has said that the Supreme Court will hear an appeal on the High Court ruling on Brexit from 5 December 2016. The Government is appealing the decision that Parliament needs to approve the Brexit process, saying that the Prime Minister has the authority because of the referendum result.
The hearing is expected to take four days, with the result being announced in the new year. The case is being fast-tracked and will be heard by all eleven of the current Supreme Court justices.
A case brought by two ex-pats to the High Court to allow them to vote in the EU referendum has failed. The ex-pats claimed that they shouldn’t lose the right to vote as part of the freedom of movement within the EU.
Lord Justice Lloyd Jones said that records beyond the current 15-year cut-off weren’t routinely kept and so there was no easy way of checking who was entitled to vote before then. In a ruling the Lord Justice said:
“In our view, Parliament could legitimately take the view that electors who satisfy the test of closeness of connection set by the 15-year rule form an appropriate group to vote on the question whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union”.
The two claimants have confirmed that they now intend to take their legal battle to the Supreme Court.
Jacquelyn MacLennan, one of the two claimants, said:
“The government made a manifesto commitment to enfranchise all British citizens, no matter how long they have been abroad saying that they thought that ‘choosing 15 years, as opposed to 14 or 16 years, is inherently like sticking a dart in a dartboard’ and that ‘if British citizens maintain British citizenship that brings with it rights, obligations and a connection with this country, and that that should endure’. We just want the government to keep its promises”.
The Supreme Court has said today that the Government did not breach the European Convention on Human Rights when it introduced the benefits cap.
The benefits cap was introduced as a maximum that any family could claim in benefits and it is currently set at £26,000 a year. The Government has said that this is equivalent to a taxable salary of £34,000 a year and that those on benefits shouldn’t be paid more than the average working wage. The Government has said that the measure has saved the tax-payer £225 million over two years.
Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said:
“I am delighted that the country’s highest court has agreed with this government and overwhelming public opinion that the benefit cap is right and fair. I am proud to say that it is one of the most significant reforms we’ve implemented over the past five years.”