Sat | Aug 8, 2020

High drama at UK Supreme Court in Brexit challenge case

Published:Wednesday | September 18, 2019 | 12:00 AM

The British government and its ­opponents faced off Tuesday in the UK Supreme Court in a high-stakes legal drama over Brexit that will ­determine whether new Prime Minister Boris Johnson broke the law by suspending Parliament at a ­crucial time ahead of Britain’s impending departure from the European Union.

As pro-EU and pro-Brexit protesters exchanged shouts outside the court building on London’s Parliament Square, 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.

The government countered that, under Britain’s largely unwritten constitution, the suspension was a matter for politicians, not the courts.

Johnson sent lawmakers home on September 9 until October 14, which is barely two weeks before the scheduled October 31 Brexit day. A ruling against the government by the country’s top court could force him to recall Parliament.