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UK Supreme Court begins hearing on parliament suspension, Belfast says it's OK

Christian Fernsby ▼ | September 17, 2019
All eyes were on Britain's highest court as judges began hearing arguments centred on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's controversial suspension of parliament.
UK Supreme Court
Britain   UK Supreme Court
Last week, the prime minister prorogued parliament ahead of his government's scheduled Queen's Speech on October 14 a highly ceremonial occasion in which the British monarch outlines the government's legislative programme.

Topics: Brexit parliament Belfast UK

But critics have accused the Conservative leader of using the five-week suspension to avoid democratic scrutiny as he bids to deliver his pledge to bring the United Kingdom out of the European Union by October 31, with or without a deal.

The UK Supreme Court will now have the final say on the legality of the prorogation, after judges in England and Scotland came to contrasting conclusions.

A ruling is expected by Thursday afternoon at the earliest, but may be delivered on Friday or early next week.

Last week, more than 70 British parliamentarians sensationally won their legal challenge in Scotland after three appeal judges sitting in Edinburgh declared the suspension unlawful, reversing the decision of an earlier sitting Scottish judge.

This followed a verdict in the English High Court that threw out a similar challenge brought by prominent anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, ruling in favour of government lawyers' arguments that the prorogation was a political, not a legal, matter.

In Northern Ireland, for instance, the Belfast High Court dismissed a legal challenge against a no-deal Brexit last Thursday brought by three claimants who argued an EU departure without a formal agreement would harm the fragile Northern Irish peace process.