Boris Johnson could still suspend parliament again, University of Portsmouth political expert warns
PARLIAMENT could once again be suspended by Boris Johnson despite a ruling by Britain’s top judges who insisted he had acted ‘unlawfully’ to prorogue the institution, a political expert has warned.
Professor Shubhankar Dam, professor of public law and governance at the University of Portsmouth, said there was ‘absolutely nothing’ stopping the prime minister from asking for parliament to be temporarily shut down.
The university lecturer said that Mr Johnson could within ‘a couple of days’ to shut down Westminster.
It comes after a team of 11 judges unanimously ruled the PM’s actions to prorogue parliament earlier this month had broken the law and that as a result, parliament should still be sitting.
Prof Dam said Mr Johnson’s actions had a ‘very clear effect of denying MPs the right to scrutinise the government’.
But the academic felt it was unlikely the PM would step down – despite pressure from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Lib Dem chief Jo Swinson to do so.
Prof Dam said: ‘If this were any other occasion a ruling of this nature, with 11 judges speaking unanimously that the prime minister had unlawfully prorogued parliament, it would almost certainly have led to the resignation of that prime minister.
‘But these are not normal times. This may not likely happen again – the court said as much. That shows how momentous this decision is.
‘What makes this decision unique is that for the first time the power to prorogue parliament has been subject to a judicial review.
‘This is something that has never happened.’
Asked whether Mr Johnson could demand a second proroguement of parliament, Prof Dam said: ‘His fully entitled to prorogue again. There's absolutely nothing from stopping him from proroguing again.
‘I suspect these things will have already been worked out in advance of a decision against the government. Theoretically he could prorogue parliament tomorrow.’
He added he was surprised by Lady Hale’s summing up of the review, claiming it was ‘extremely telling’ she explained powers parliament has.
‘This was clearly a nod to Boris Johnson not to disobey the second act of parliament that forbids the UK of leaving the European Union without a deal,’ he said.