Is Boris Johnson's proroguing of UK parliament lawful?

An anti-Brexit protester holds a placard as he demonstrates in Westminster in London
An anti-Brexit protester holds a placard as he demonstrates in Westminster in London -
REUTERS/Simon Dawson
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UK PM Boris Johnson's move to prorogue parliament has moral and legal justifications, a constitutional expert has told Euronews.

Sir Anthony Seldon, the University of Buckingham's vice-chancellor, said the government can claim with justification that it is trying to enact the will of the people as enshrined in the 2016 EU referendum result.

Johnson's move to suspend parliament until October 14 — just two-and-a-half weeks before Brexit — has sparked a storm of criticism.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow called it a "constitutional outrage".

Meanwhile, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was a "smash and grab against our democracy".

Parliament goes into recess each September as political parties hold their annual conferences but Johnson's move would see it shut for longer than normal.

"You can make a very compelling case that it's lawful and that all other measures have been tried," said Sir Anthony. "Mrs May tried to get a deal through parliament three times and three times parliament turned it down.

"And parliament has not come up with any clear solution itself and therefore the government is pushing at present to get through a deal that it says the British want and voted for in the referendum and general election."

“Constitutional lawyers will argue, no doubt, lawyers always do about the precise legality, but I wouldn’t say that this is illegal in any sense at all.”

“People always argue about what is morally right, particularly on an issue, which in Britain is the biggest domestic issue since World War II, and people will decide really on morality and on legality, not on the basis of some objective criteria, but essentially do they like what is being proposed or not, and then they will find legal and moral arguments to support it.”

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