Gadfly Moon by Holiday Mathis

By Tim Ross, (c) 2019, Bloomberg<p>British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he disagreed with the ruling of the country’s highest court that he broke the law by suspending Parliament for five weeks in the run-up to his Oct. 31 Brexit deadline — and promised to press ahead.</p> <p>In an unprecedented and sweeping rebuke to the premier, the Supreme Court’s 11 judges found Johnson had given Queen Elizabeth II “unlawful” advice to suspend the legislature — and that his decision had wrecked the ability of Britain’s elected politicians to fulfill their crucial democratic role.</p> <p>”Obviously this is a verdict that we will respect and we respect the judicial process,” Johnson said in a pooled interview in New York. “I have to say that I strongly disagree with what the justices have found. I don’t think that it’s right, but we will go ahead and of course Parliament will come back.”</p> <p>Johnson had argued he was right to halt the work of Parliament to bring forward a new lawmaking agenda for his government — but his critics accused him of attempting to deny members of Parliament a chance to stop him forcing the U.K. out of the EU without a deal next month.</p> <p>The judges struck down Johnson’s decision and told MPs to return to work immediately. Johnson was attending the United Nations General Assembly when the court decision was announced. He says he will fly back to London after giving his speech Tuesday night in New York.</p> <p>The verdict marks an extraordinary constitutional moment and an unprecedented political crisis for the U.K. It blows a hole in Johnson’s political authority and calls into question his ability to remain in office as the queen’s principal adviser. While the opposition was quick call for his resignation, Johnson shows little sign of wanting to go in that direction.</p> <p>The question now is what the crisis means for Brexit. Johnson’s opponents began legal action because they feared his decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks in the run up to Brexit day would rob them of the chance to pass laws to stop him taking Britain out of the EU without a deal.</p> <p>Johnson says he is determined to deliver Brexit by the end of next month, whatever the cost, even if it means leaving with no agreement in place to cushion the blow.</p> <p>”The most important thing is we get on and deliver Brexit on Oct. 31 and clearly the claimants in this case are determined to frustrate that and to stop that,” Johnson said. “I think it would be very unfortunate if Parliament made that objective which the people want more difficult, but we will get on.”</p> <p>But MPs moved quickly earlier this month, taking control of the House of Commons agenda and passing a new law designed to stop Johnson carrying out his no-deal Brexit threat.</p> <p>With Parliament now set to reconvene earlier than Johnson had planned, there will be many more potential opportunities for politicians to tie the prime minister’s hands and dictate the shape of Brexit.</p> <p>Further court battles could lie ahead. Johnson’s team have threatened to ignore the new law that was designed to stop a no-deal divorce by forcing him to seek a Brexit delay by Oct. 19 if he is unable to reach agreement with the bloc.If they did it would likely trigger another court challenge. Johnson’s aides are also braced for attempts in Parliament to pass laws potentially cancelling Brexit altogether.</p> <p>Yet the fate of the U.K.’s split from the EU remains far from certain.</p> <p>In New York, the prime minister has been meeting with EU leaders in an attempt to persuade them to give ground so a deal can be done. Officials on both sides regard it as a make-or-break round of talks for the chances of getting a deal.</p> <p>Yet the Supreme Court ruling showed Johnson’s weakness and may make the EU less likely to offer a compromise. If Johnson decides to play hardball and fight on to deliver Brexit without a deal on Oct. 31, it is still not clear that his opponents in Parliament, or the courts, will be able to stop him.</p>

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