In a dramatic decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that the prorogation of parliament was unlawful and that the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Lords Speaker should bring parliament back at their convenience. John Bercow has already said that parliament should return as a matter of urgency.
The Supreme Court verdict is a massive constitutional moment. The judges have ruled that the issue of prorogation is justiciable, which the High Court deemed it not to be. They have also declared that the order in council which led to the prorogation was unlawful and so that parliament hasn’t actually been prorogued. In other words, that prorogation never happened.
What is, perhaps, most surprising is that this verdict is unanimous. The expectation in both legal and political circles was that this would be a close decision with a sizeable chunk of the court dissenting from whatever judgement was reached.
This decision is a considerable blow to Boris Johnson. He will now have to return to a parliament where he has no majority and where he is almost certain to lose control of the order paper again, meaning that his parliamentary opponents can continue to try and bind his hands ahead of the European Council next month.
If there is one consolation for Boris Johnson in all this, it is that the Supreme Court has declined to rule on whether the advice he gave the Queen was truthful. It has instead decided that the effects of the prorogation were so ‘extreme’ that it could not see what justification for that there could be.