The prime minister’s decision to prorogue parliament has been ruled as “improper” and “unlawful” by three senior Scottish judges.
The judges of the Inner House, of the Court of Session concluded that the suspension by Boris Johnson was done with “the purpose of stymying parliament,” and the prorogation was therefore “null and of no effect.”
The government will be appealing the ruling at the UK’s Supreme Court and said that they are “disappointed” by the decision.
The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service said in a summary of the court ruling, “The Inner House of the Court of Session has ruled that the prime minister’s advice to HM the Queen that the United Kingdom parliament should be prorogued from a day between 9 and 12 September until 14 October was unlawful because it had the purpose of stymying parliament.
“All three first division judges have decided that the PM’s advice to the HM the Queen is justiciable, that it was motivated by the improper purpose of stymying parliament and that it, and what has followed from it, is unlawful.
“The Court will accordingly make an Order declaring that the prime minister’s advice to HM the Queen and the prorogation which followed thereon was unlawful and is thus null and of no effect.”
Joanna Cherry QC, SNP MP who was one of 70 MPs, and barrister Jo Maugham of the Good Law Project took the government to court.
Cherry wrote on Twitter, “Huge thanks to all our supporters & our fantastic legal team who have achieved the historic ruling that #prorogation is #unlawful #Cherrycase #Brexit #StopTheCoup.”
Judge Lord Carloway told the court in Edinburgh, “We are of the opinion that the advice given by the government to her majesty the Queen to prorogue parliament was unlawful and that the prorogation itself was unlawful.”
Lord Brodie one of the three judges said, “This was an egregious case of a clear failure to comply with generally accepted standards of behaviour of public authorities.
“It was to be inferred that the principal reasons for the prorogation were to prevent or impede parliament holding the executive to account and legislating with regard to Brexit, and to allow the executive to pursue a policy of a no-deal Brexit without further parliamentary interference.”
Lord Drummond Young said, “The circumstances, particularly the length of the prorogation, showed that the purpose was to prevent such scrutiny.
“The only inference that could be drawn was that the UK government and the prime minister wished to restrict parliament.”
Maugham said on Twitter, “We have won. Appeal begins in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. We believe that the effect of the decision is that Parliament is no longer prorogued.
“I have never been able to contemplate the possibility that the law could be that our sovereign Parliament might be treated as an inconvenience by the Prime Minister.
“I am pleased that Scotland’s highest court agrees. But ultimately, as has always been the case, it’s the final arbiter’s decision that matters.
“We will convene again in the Supreme Court next week.”
Speaking at the TUC Congress in Brighton, Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said, “I need to get back to parliament, to see if we can reopen the doors and hold Johnson to account.
“The prime minister was not telling the truth about why he was doing it.
“The idea of shutting down parliament offended everyone across the country, and then they felt they were not being told the truth.”
A spokesman for Number 10 said, “The UK government needs to bring forward a strong domestic legislative agenda. Proroguing Parliament is the legal and necessary way of delivering this.”