High drama at UK Supreme Court in Brexit challenge case
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.