The United Kingdom’s high court has dealt a stunning blow to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, ruling Tuesday that his five-week suspension of Parliament amid a debate over Brexit was illegal.
Watching the UK circle the drain is like watching a man put a gun to his mouth and pull the trigger.
Brexit: The Court vs. the Queen
Editorial of The New York Sun | September 24, 2019
Britain’s Supreme Court began its judgment recalling Parliament by claiming it wasn’t about Brexit. The question, said the court president, Baroness Hale, was just about whether Prime Minister Johnson’s request to Elizabeth II that Parliament should be prorogued was lawful. Not, the judge averred, “about when and on what terms the United Kingdom is to leave the European Union.”
That strikes us as unconvincing. It’s like saying — to pick a similar absurdity — that our Civil War was merely about states rights and had nothing to do with slavery. Of course it was about slavery. And of course the case that just rocked Britain is about leaving the European Union. If Baroness Hale believes otherwise, she might like to buy a lovely bridge in Brooklyn.
Of course this is about Brexit. That is why the Remainers of both parties are so jubilant after the decision. It’s why Labor is cheering. And why, as London’s Sun put it, “gloating EU bosses” are reacting to the court’s ruling with “glee.” And why one of Europe’s leading opponents of British independence, Guy Verhofstadt, is calling the ruling “one big relief in the Brexit saga.”
Then again, too, the business about how this isn’t about Brexit isn’t the only flaw in the Court’s opinion. There is also its focus on Prime Minister Johnson. The court reckons his request to Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful. What does that make Her Majesty — chopped liver? She’s the one who approved proroguing the pestiferous parliament.
After all, if Mr. Johnson could have prorogued Parliament himself, he wouldn’t have sent the matter to the Queen. So the court is challenging the Queen, even if it shies away from taking her on directly — if it even has the power to overrule a royal assent. In any event, millions of Britons who voted for independence for their country know that Queen Elizabeth is with them in this fight.
That was clear during the 2016 referendum itself, when the London Sun broke the story that Her Majesty backed Brexit. The Sun put its headline — “Queen Backs Brexit” — all over its front page. The palace tried to deny the story at the time. It was self-evidently true, though; why would any monarch not favor his or her own independence? We called it “Elizabeth’s Finest Hour.”
Right or wrong, it looks like Parliament will be back as early as tomorrow trying to figure out how to defeat the vote of the people that was called by the parliament itself. Mr. Johnson’s remarks in New York suggest he has no plans to quit; we hope he stays with the fight. The betting is that it will end up in a general election, where the fate of Britain’s independence will be decided.
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