Parliament to resume after court overturns shutdown: What you need to know

MPs will return to Westminster on Wednesday after the Supreme Court ruled that Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.

– What happened at the Supreme Court?

The president of the UK's highest court, Lady Hale, announced on Tuesday morning: "Parliament has not been prorogued."

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Prorogation of Parliament ruled unlawful by Supreme Court
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Prorogation of Parliament ruled unlawful by Supreme Court
Gina Miller leaves Millbank in Westminster, after judges at the Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Gina Miller leaves Millbank in Westminster, after judges at the Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Alan Duncan MP, former Foreign Office speaking to media after a ruling that the prorogation of Parliament was unlawful in London,UK on September 24, 2019. The Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minster Boris Johnson acted unlawfully when he requested that the Queen prorogue parliament for more than a month, and that parliamentarians should reconvene "as soon as possible." (Photo by Claire Doherty/Sipa USA)
Joanna Cherry, SNP MP and QC, who led the cross-party legal action in Scotland against the Prime Minister speaks to media after a ruling that the prorogation of Parliament was unlawful in London,UK on September 24, 2019. The Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minster Boris Johnson acted unlawfully when he requested that the Queen prorogue parliament for more than a month, and that parliamentarians should reconvene "as soon as possible." (Photo by Claire Doherty/Sipa USA)
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivers her statement, in response to the Supreme Court ruling, at the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) meets US President Donald Trump at the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday September 24, 2019. Mr Johnson will return to the UK Wednesday following the decision at the Supreme Court ruled that his advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful. See PA story POLITICS UN. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing US business leaders at Hudson Yards in New York after judges at the Supreme Court in London ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Former Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd leaves Millbank in Westminster, after judges at the Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson in New York after judges at the Supreme Court in London ruled that his advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Businesswoman and campaigner Gina Miller, (C) who launched legal proceedings against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government over the suspension of parliament leaving the Supreme Court after a ruling that the prorogation of Parliament was unlawful in London,UK on September 24, 2019. The Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minster Boris Johnson acted unlawfully when he requested that the Queen prorogue parliament for more than a month, and that parliamentarians should reconvene "as soon as possible." (Photo by Claire Doherty/Sipa USA)
Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O'Neill (centre) with party colleagues Caral Ni Chuilin (left) and Chris Hazzard (right) outside the party's headquarters in Belfast, as they react to the Supreme Court ruling that suspending Parliament was unlawful.
Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow on College Green in Westminster, announcing that the House of Commons will resume business from Wednesday, after judges at the Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
A protester holds a giant P45 with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's name on it outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, after judges at the Supreme Court ruled that his advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow on College Green in Westminster, announcing that the House of Commons will resume business from Wednesday, after judges at the Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Labour delegates react as the Supreme Court rules Boris Johnson acted unlawfully when he asked the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks, on the fourth day of the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton. Picture dated: Tuesday September 24, 2019. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
Jeremy Corbyn reacts as the Supreme Court rules Boris Johnson acted unlawfully when he asked the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks, on the fourth day of the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton. Picture dated: Tuesday September 24, 2019. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow on College Green in Westminster, announcing that the House of Commons will resume business from Wednesday, after judges at the Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Labour delegates react as the Supreme Court rules Boris Johnson acted unlawfully when he asked the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks, on the fourth day of the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton. Picture dated: Tuesday September 24, 2019. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
(left to right) John McDonnell and Rebecca Long-Bailey react during Jeremy Corbyn's speech to the news of the Supreme Court ruling Boris Johnson acted unlawfully when he asked the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks, on the fourth day of the Labour Party annual conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton. Picture dated: Tuesday September 24, 2019. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
A man wearing a giant Boris Johnson mask, dressed as a prisoner, outside the Supreme Court in London, where judges have ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP leaving the Supreme Court in London, where judges have ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
(Left to right) Leader of The Independent Group for Change Anna Soubry, Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Liz Saville-Roberts, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP, and Green MP Caroline Lucas, outside the Supreme Court in London, where judges have ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Gina Miller speaks to the media outside the Supreme Court in London, where judges have ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
(Left to right) Leader of The Independent Group for Change Anna Soubry, Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Liz Saville-Roberts, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford MP, and Green MP Caroline Lucas, outside the Supreme Court in London, where judges have ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Anna Soubry reacts outside the Supreme Court in London, where judges have ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
SNP MP Joanna Cherry and lawyer Jolyon Maugham speaking to the media outside the Supreme Court in London, where judges have ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
A man reacts as he leaves the Supreme Court in London, where judges have ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Protesters celebrating outside the Supreme Court in London, where judges have ruled that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful.
Protesters outside the Supreme Court in London, where judges are ruling on the legality of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks.
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But the unanimous judgment of all 11 justices was that it was for Parliament – and particularly the speakers of both houses – to decide what to do next.

– How did the Prime Minister respond to that?

Boris Johnson said he strongly disagreed with the verdict and Downing Street made clear he will not resign.

Mr Johnson is cutting short his trip to the United Nations in New York to be in Westminster on Wednesday.

– What will happen in the Commons on Wednesday?

Speaker John Bercow announced that the Commons will sit at 11.30am and while the usual Wednesday session of Prime Minister's Questions will not take place, he said there will be opportunities for MPs to hold the Government to account.

Brexit Bercow
John Bercow on College Green announcing that the House of Commons will resume business from Wednesday (Jonathan Brady/PA)

– What did the party leaders say?

Labour's Jeremy Corbyn called for the PM to resign and brought forward his party conference speech to Tuesday afternoon so he could be back in Westminster by Wednesday.

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said the justices' decision proved Mr Johnson was "not fit to be Prime Minister".

And Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage called for the Prime Minister's chief adviser Dominic Cummings to be sacked, adding: "The calling of a Queen's Speech and prorogation is the worst political decision ever."

– Where does it leave the Prime Minister?

In a bind. He cannot control the Commons and as he put it: "we have a Parliament that is unable to be prorogued" and "doesn't want to have an election".

UN General Assembly
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is currently in New York for the UN General Assembly (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

In a hint he could have another go at suspending Parliament – presumably for the usual matter of days at the end of a session – he said there was a "good case for getting on with a Queen's Speech".

– Where does this leave Brexit?

Mr Johnson said he "will not be deterred" from delivering Brexit on October 31.

He hopes that the EU summit on October 17 will provide a breakthrough, but if not he faces another headache because of the so-called Benn Act which aims to prevent a no-deal exit.

– So could Brexit be delayed?

The Benn Act requires the Prime Minister to ask the EU to delay Brexit if Parliament has not backed a Withdrawal Agreement or voted in favour of a no-deal exit by October 19.

Brexit
Protesters celebrating outside the Supreme Court in London (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Government ministers have repeatedly dodged questions about whether they think there are loopholes they could use to avoid that law – but would Mr Johnson really risk another legal battle after his Supreme Court humiliation?

– What about the Tory conference?

Mr Johnson's party is expected to gather in Manchester from Sunday for four days, but it is unclear whether the Commons will still be sitting – meaning MPs will be required in Westminster.

But party chairman James Cleverly said "of course" the conference – which the Tories hope to use to make a string of pre-election announcements – will go ahead.

– What about the rest of the political agenda?

The ruling that the suspension was unlawful means any unfinished Bills that were discarded in the wrap-up process can now come back into play – MPs expect to be able to debate the Domestic Abuse Bill, for example.

It will be business as usual in terms of the legislation being debated – but little else will feel anything like the same following the Supreme Court intervention.

Longest continuous parliamentary sessions
(PA Graphics)

– Does this bring a snap election closer?

All the main party leaders have said they want one but first they want to make sure Mr Johnson will not carry out a no-deal Brexit on October 31.

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