A Scottish court ruled Wednesday that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament was illegal, escalating an already passionate debate over whether the British prime minister respected the rule of law and intended to adhere to it.
The ruling does not mean Parliament will immediately come back into session. But it does give the prime minister’s opponents hope ahead of an expected Supreme Court hearing next week. Some even raised the prospect that Johnson will have to resign if he loses that case.
A panel of three Scottish judges ruled that the government had been misleading — including, perhaps, to the queen — about its real reasons for the five-week suspension and that the move was “unlawful because it had the purpose of stymying Parliament” ahead of the scheduled deadline for Britain to leave the European Union.
The Supreme Court case will be heard on Tuesday after the prime minister’s office said it would appeal the Scottish ruling. “We are disappointed by today’s decision,” 10 Downing Street said. A government spokesperson later ruled out recalling Parliament at least until the Supreme Court has a chance to weigh in.