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Scottish court says prorogation of Parliament was unlawful

By Earle Gale | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-09-12 03:17

British lawmakers protest before Tuesday’s prorogation of Parliament. [Photo/Agencies]

A panel of three senior Scottish judges ruled on Wednesday morning that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's controversial five-week closure of the United Kingdom's Parliament is unlawful, throwing the future of the prorogation of the lawmaking chamber, and of Brexit, into doubt.

The Court of Session, Scotland's most senior civil court, ruled in favor of a cross-party group of 75 British politicians that had challenged the prime minister's self-declared closure of Parliament, by saying it was undemocratic.

Wednesday's decision overturns a ruling the court made last week that said Johnson had not broken the law.

The BBC said the latest pronouncement is not likely to herald the immediate return of members of Parliament to Westminster because the court has not called for the cancellation of the closure.

The matter will likely now be settled by further legal arguments, at the Supreme Court in Londonon Tuesday.

The Scottish judges said in their ruling that Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament was motivated by the "improper purpose of stymying Parliament".

"The court will accordingly make an order declaring that the prime minister's advice to the queen and the prorogation which followed thereon was unlawful and is thus null and of no effect," the ruling declared.

The extraordinary closure of Parliament means MPs are not scheduled to return to the House of Commons until Oct 14. Many critics said Johnson suspended parliamentary business to escape the scrutiny of lawmakers ahead of the UK's scheduled exit from the European Union on Oct 31.

The EU, meanwhile, has made its citizens' dim view of another national leader known in a new report based on the in-depth polling of 60,000 Europeans.

The European Council on Foreign Relations, which is also known as the ECFR, found most Europeans want the EU to avoid taking sides in future in disputes between the United States and Russia, largely because of their distrust of President Donald Trump.

The report writers found only 5 percent of Europeans trust the US leader.

Give The People What They Want: Popular Demand For A Strong European Foreign Policy, which was released in tandem with the appointment of the new EU commission, found distrust of Trump was widespread in the 28-member bloc.

But Europeans also have suspicions about Russia, with around half of those polled believing Moscow is trying to destabilize Europe politically.

The report writers say the best solution is for the EU to become more "self-sufficient" diplomatically and militarily.

The report's author, Susi Dennison, a senior policy fellow at the ECFR, said: "Our polling confirms that Trump is toxic in Europe, and that this is feeding into distrust of the US security guarantee … They don't need to be sold on the idea of European defense – they need to be sold on whether Europe can deliver."

The same report shows fewer than 20 percent of Europeans believe the bloc is capable of protecting them against the unfair business practices of nations outside the bloc.

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