Supreme Court: Government defends Parliament suspension

Police guard the Supreme Court in Parliament Square

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The government has continued to defend its decision to suspend Parliament at the Supreme Court, as proceedings continue for a second day.

Barrister Sir James Eadie - representing the government - maintained that suspending Parliament served to prepare for a Queen’s Speech.

Lord Kerr, one of the justices on the case, asked whether the five week dismissal of MPs garnered a “political advantage” given that it reduces the time for scrutiny during the “very critical period coming up to Brexit”.

In his response, Sir James admitted political advantage but rejected that it was purely Brexit related.

“There is a political advantage to the government in having a clear space when it is not subject to the daily grind within which to prepare, not merely to do all the things that have to be done in relation to Brexit, but also to prepare a Queen's Speech,” he stated.

The court also heard discussion over the Prime Minister’s decision not to appear in court.

Sir James said: “I have never been involved in a judicial review in which the minister who made the decision has actually given a witness statement.”

The ongoing hearing in the UK’s highest court is dealing with two challenges to legal decisions about Boris Johnson sending Parliament home.

The government is appealing a ruling by the Court of Session in Edinburgh that the move was “unlawful”.

Meanwhile, campaigner Gina Miller is also in on proceedings, appealing a London High Court decision to throw out her original case on the matter on the grounds that it was “purely political” and not a matter for the judiciary.

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