Boris Johnson
Boris JohnsonREUTERS

The British Supreme Court ruled Tuesday against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision earlier this month to suspend Parliament for five weeks.

In its decision Tuesday, the Court ruled that Johnson’s decision to advise the Queen to prorogue, or suspend, Parliament for five weeks “was unlawful”, and said the suspension was null and void.

The Court’s 11 justices were unanimous in the decision rebuking Johnson’s suspension of Parliament, which was read by chief justice Lady Hale.

“The effect on the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme,” the chief justice said.

“The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.”

The ruling constitutes a major setback for Johnson’s bid to ensure that the UK leaves the European Union on the current Brexit deadline, October 31st.

Parliament had been prorogued for five weeks, beginning on September 10 and ending after October 14th, based on Johnson's recommendation to the Queen.

While Johnson had said he wanted the suspension in order to outline his new government’s policies, critics accused the prime minister of attempting to block Parliament from assessing his Brexit plans.

The Johnson government said in response to the ruling that it was still “processing the verdict”.