Court finds prorogation unlawful

A Scottish court has ruled that Boris Johnson's prorogation of the British parliament shortly before the Brexit deadline was unlawful after a cross-party group of 75 MPs challenged the move. The case will now be referred to the Supreme Court for a final decision. Commentators can't conceal their delight at this latest blow for Johnson.

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

You don't lie to the Queen

The ruling is a serious blow for the British prime minister, the Süddeutsche Zeitung comments:

“Now Johnson can only hope the Supreme Court will get him out of this mess. But the damage is already immense. No one believed Johnson's flimsy justification that the House of Commons had to close for five weeks so he could prepare the government's statement. It was so obvious that this was just a ploy aimed at pushing through his Brexit plans. The Scottish court also said on Wednesday that all the evidence suggested that he had misled the Queen. To lie to the Queen is a sacrilege in Britain. Not even the Conservative Brexiteers will like that. This prime minister is unbearable.”

El País (ES) /

Judges have pilloried Johnson

El País is delighted with the ruling:

“The Scottish judges didn't fall into the trap set by the government advisers, who tried to sell the decision as legal. ... They came to some devastating conclusions, in particular that Johnson's goal was to prevent Parliament from doing its job. ... The whole affair shows that in a democracy you can't solve problems by sidestepping rules or posting slogans on social networks. Boris Johnson has put his country in a situation that would have been unthinkable just a few months ago, while a perplexed Europe is waiting to see how it will all end.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Don't get judges involved in the Brexit battle

A legal tug-of-war over Brexit will undermine democracy, the Financial Times complains:

“The involvement of the courts provides some reassurance that the checks and balances in the UK's unwritten constitution are kicking in as they should. Yet it is regrettable, too, that judges have been compelled to intervene in matters of politics. It opens the way for unscrupulous politicians and elements of the media to characterise the battle over Brexit - disingenuously and corrosively - as one pitting the 'people' against not just parliament but judges too. It risks shifting the UK towards the US model of a politicised Supreme Court with partisan brawling over judges' appointments.”