Week Ahead: Supreme Court to rule whether suspending Parliament was lawful as Mercury winner announced

The Supreme Court will rule this week on whether it was lawful to suspend Parliament - with the possibility MPs could return to the Commons.
The Supreme Court will rule this week on whether it was lawful to suspend Parliament - with the possibility MPs could return to the Commons.
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Boris Johnson’s controversial decision to suspend Parliament will be examined by the Supreme Court tomorrow. Chris Burn looks at the Week Ahead.

PROROGATION PALAVER

Party conference season may be under way, with the Liberal Democrats currently in Bournemouth and Labour MPs and members decamping to Brighton later this week but all eyes in the political world will be on the Supreme Court in London tomorrow in a case with potentially major consequences.

After three senior Scottish judges ruled last week that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament was “unlawful”, the matter has been referred to the Supreme Court.

A panel of nine justices will hear the case, led by Lady Hale, president of the Supreme Court, and they are likely to make a ruling later in the week.

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The Supreme Court is also expected to consider a similar case brought in England by businesswoman Gina Miller, in which High Court judges said it was not a matter for the courts.

Should the Supreme Court agree with the Scottish decision, it is thought the Government would almost certainly have to advise the Queen to immediately recall Parliament.

Raphael Hogarth, an associate at the Institute for Government, says: “If the Supreme Court rules that the prorogation was unlawful, then I’d expect Parliament to be sitting again in very short order. The mechanics of that depend on what the court says. The court might say that Parliament was never prorogued at all in the eyes of the law and so is actually still sitting after all. Or, the Government might need to recall Parliament immediately.”

Whatever happens, another week of intense debate around Brexit undoubtedly awaits.

CARNEY’S CALL

In another piece of Brexit-influenced news, the Bank of England will announce its latest interest rates decision on Thursday and whether there will be any change to the current 0.75 per cent figure.

When rates were held last month, the Bank of England said uncertainty around Brexit was making future economic decisions difficult to predict.

“Increased uncertainty about the nature of EU withdrawal means that the economy could follow a wide range of paths over coming years. The appropriate path of monetary policy will depend on the balance of the effects of Brexit on demand, supply and the exchange rate,” it said. “The monetary policy response to Brexit, whatever form it takes, will not be automatic and could be in either direction.”

It has been speculated that a no-deal Brexit at the end of October is likely to lead to a cut in rates but last week, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said his institution will not pursue negative interest rates, a tactic that has been used by the European Central Bank and Bank of Japan in the past.

ANXIETY EXHIBITION

In an undoubtedly appropriate piece of timing given the current political turmoil, on Wednesday the Science Gallery London will be hosting a preview of its new Living in an Age of Anxiety exhibition.

It promises to combine art, design, psychology and neuroscience to “highlight positive and creative responses to our anxious times”.

The show will be open to the public from September 19 until January 19 and is free to enter.

MERCURY MAGIC

The winner of one of the most sought-after accolades in music will be announced on Thursday evening as the winner of the 2019 Hyundai Mercury Prize is revealed at a ceremony in London.

Viewed as the the music equivalent to the Booker Prize for literature and the Turner Prize for art, this year’s nominees include The 1975, Idles, Foals and Anna Calvi, who will all undoubtedly be hoping to emulate the success of past winners who have included the likes of Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, Elbow and James Blake.