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London Supreme Court begins hearing on parliamentary forced break


TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates

London (dpa) - The Supreme Court begins today with its hearing on the compulsory break imposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Last week, a Scottish court declared the five-week parliamentary resolution unlawful. According to the judges, Johnson wanted the members of parliament in the dispute over an unregulated Brexit cold. The government appealed the verdict.

Johnson described the criticism of his actions on Monday in a BBC interview as "Mumbo Jumbo", ie as a hoax. He added that Parliament had lost only a handful of days due to the forced break and would be able to scrutinize the Brexit deal, which he hopefully could finish. If it does not come to an agreement with Brussels, the country will leave on October 31 but still, he assured after a meeting with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxembourg.

Two more lawsuits against the compulsory break, in front of the High Court in London and the High Court in Belfast, Northern Ireland, had been rejected. These decisions should also be reviewed by the Supreme Court. The London High Court had declared the action inadmissible on the grounds that it was a political question, not a legal one. The High Court in Belfast came to a similar conclusion. It is expected that the Supreme Court will also meet on Wednesday and Thursday and announce a decision on Friday.

The dispute touches the core of the British Constitution. Unlike Germany and many other countries, this is not a single document but a whole series of laws, court decisions and conventions. It constantly evolves through legislation or new interpretations of existing rules and is adapted to new circumstances. Sometimes, therefore, there is talk of a political constitution.

The functioning of this system depends on all actors adhering to certain unwritten rules. From the point of view of his critics, Johnson violated this principle because he used the parliamentary resolution as a political means to reach an EU exit if necessary without agreement against the majority will of the deputies.

The judges must now decide whether Parliament can defend itself against the alleged border crossing of the government by new legislation, for example, or whether the intervention of the judiciary is necessary. If necessary, they would also have to re-evaluate whether Johnson used the means of parliamentary recess unconstitutional.

The compulsory break began on the night of 10th September. At the closing ceremony, there were tumultuous scenes. Opposition MPs raised protest notes with the inscription "Silenced" and chanted "shame on you" towards the government faction. The Parliament is scheduled to reunite on 14 October, about two weeks before the planned Brexit.

Despite a forced break, Johnson could not prevent the MPs from passing a bill requiring the Prime Minister to request a further extension of the Brexit deadline. If no agreement is ratified by 19 October, Johnson would have to send a request to Brussels. However, the head of government does not want to bow to that. How to do that without breaking the law, Johnson has not explained yet. It is quite possible that this dispute will also end up in court again.

Source: zeit

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