Lady Hale basically just said ‘f*ck Johnson, f*ck the government’

Boris Johnson
Fréa Lockley

The UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that Boris Johnson’s prorogation of parliament was unlawful. This is a landmark ruling. In short, the verdict delivered by Judge Lady Hale basically said “fuck Johnson, fuck the government”.

“Contempt for democracy and an abuse of power”

The judgement delivered on 24 September stated:

the decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification. …

It is for parliament, and in particular the Speaker and the Lord Speaker to decide what to do next.

Speaker John Bercow said parliament “must convene without delay”:

As Sky‘s Lewis Goodall noted, this is an extraordinarily important verdict:

Jeremy Corbyn responded immediately, calling on Johnson to resign. Speaking to huge cheers at the Labour Party conference, Corbyn said this verdict shows Johnson:

acted wrongly in shutting down parliament. It demonstrates a contempt for democracy and an abuse of power by him…

I will… demand that he obeys the law… and recognise that our parliament is elected by our people to hold our government to account.

The European parliament’s chief Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt‏ also made a strong response:

So, as Captain SKA noted, Hale basically said “in much more eloquent terms” ‘fuck Boris’:

#BorisJohnsonMustResign

Calls for Johnson’s resignation came thick and fast:

Whether we support the monarchy or not, this verdict ruled that Johnson essentially lied to the queen. So many people went as far as calling him a criminal:

Where’s Johnson?

So far, Johnson’s made no response. He’s currently in New York. He was due to give a “major Brexit-related speech” and meet with Donald Trump and Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Aides reportedly said “it would take time to digest” this “extraordinary” verdict.

Several people wondered what conversations are currently taking place:

This is a monumental day in British politics. Amid rumours that Johnson may refuse to resign and may well try to suspend parliament a second time, it remains to be seen what happens next. But nothing will ever take away the power of this verdict when 11 judges unanimously said ‘fuck Johnson’ and stuck it to this corrupt, right-wing government.

Featured image via Flickr – Chatham House

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  • Show Comments
    1. There must be an immediate vote of no confidence. No situation in British history has called for one more clearly than this one. This adds up to a total breakdown of trust. The prime minister has even left the the threat of another prorogation open – at any time – so parliament can only defend itself by removing him.

      Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have surely earnt the trust – through this long period of restraint on their part – uniquely amongst all the players – to form a government. But there’s no time to waste if some MPs are going to obstruct on the issue of backing Corbyn. The only acceptable compromise should be to have a Green prime minister up until the election, Corbyn as deputy prime minister, and a Labour cabinet.

      John McDonnell should have a chance to bring down a budget before an election, as a concrete support for a Labour manifesto. And a leave option for a referendum should be quickly prepared, based on the deal Labour took to parliament – the one that came closest of all the options to passing.

      If there’s any further obstruction, beyond that compromise, Labour should threaten to back the prime minister to go to an immediate election, on the binary choice for the people: Jeremy Corbyn and a referendum, or Boris Johnson and No Deal.

    2. “Lady Hale basically just said ‘f*ck Johnson, f*ck the government’”

      A message for groundlings? An inaccurate one too. Chaucerian language, particularly when applied to the wrong context (non-sexual) by persons of limited literacy can, as now, obfuscate deeply important matters of principle.

      Our Supreme Court unanimously established that henceforth exercise of royal prerogatives is not immune from scrutiny in court when claims of erroneous judgement or malfeasance are raised. Given that prerogatives are exercised by the monarch on ‘advice’, a raft of behind the scenes powers fall within ambit of judicial review.

      The scope for questioning actions of the executive hidden behind royal prerogative appears to range from foreign policy to the trivia of the honours system. Indeed, the latter is non-trivial when recommendation of ‘ennoblement’ to a seat in the Lords occurs. It may be asked whether a prime minister did due diligence before signing the list of recommendations. The criteria informing recommendation may be questioned as fit for purpose and consistency of application.

      The Supreme Court ruling has brought into play a key aspect of what one day will become a written constitution (with or without a monarch): accountability from top to bottom.

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