Protecting British Democracy: Boris Johnson Should Resign

On September 24, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom unanimously ruled that Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament was unlawful and an obstruction of democracy. The intervention of the Supreme Court underscores the gravity of the situation, as it rarely involves itself in political matters. 

Because the Prime Minister does not have the ability to suspend Parliament himself, Johnson requested the Queen to suspend it for him. This reduced the time British lawmakers had to negotiate a deal for exiting the European Union. 

Ultimately, Johnson’s audacious move not only resulted in a blow to his reputation but also posed a major threat to democracy in the UK. If Parliament can be shut down whenever the Prime Minister deems it necessary, then there is no way to differentiate this so-called democracy from a dictatorship. 

Many have called for the resignation of the PM because of this suspension. According to the The Independent, Johnson responded that prorogation was a “routine” matter and that it was merely coincidental that it lined up so perfectly with Parliament’s ongoing crisis on Brexit. 

But Johnson’s suspension was clearly a deliberate attempt to stall Members of the Parliament from doing their job and protecting the interests of their constituents. Furthermore, the Supreme Court found no valid reason as to why he suspended Parliament. This lack of evidence constitutes a disconcerting testament to his true motives.

Why would the Queen allow him to suspend Parliament? Tradition. In the UK, monarchs traditionally separate themselves from politics and do not actually have any say in political and economic matters. As a result, his suspension of Parliament exhibits the dictatorial power that he has, especially if he can forestall the voices and opinions of those who oppose him. 

Bryan Luo, an exchange student from Cheltenham College in the UK, concurs for the most part that Mr. Johnson has abused his power. While he feels that the PM is “a really dedicated person,” he also feels that he is “too robust in trying to achieve what he wants.” He doesn’t think that the PM should resign immediately, but he feels that if Johnson leaves Brexit without a deal, then he should definitely resign.  

Ultimately, however, Mr. Johnson is using the Queen’s condoning of his prorogation as an excuse to slow down the government’s ability to vote –– an abuse of executive power. He fails to respect the balance of government and tries to reach his personal goals through the manipulation of his own Queen. As the Supreme Court has declared, this is extremely unlawful and a dangerous precedent to set in politics. Mr. Johnson has abused his position as PM, and thus should resign immediately.

Creative Commons Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking at a press conference.