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State & Ceremonial

Supreme Court Judge questions whether The Queen is being “sucked in” to politics

A Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has questioned whether it is right for The Queen to be “sucked in” to matters involving constitutional principles.

Lord Sales, one of the 12 Justices of the Supreme Court, questioned the government’s barrister on Wednesday morning, asking whether it is appropriate for the monarch to be drawn into politically controversial matters.

Lord Sales asked: “If there are constitutional principles that require to be policed, in our constitution isn’t it more appropriate for the court to do it rather than for The Queen to have to be sucked into what may be decisions with political ramifications?”

Sir James Eadie QC, acting for the government, was in agreement, saying: “My Lord, I think you may well be right. I may be in a position of happily accepting that proposition.”

The Supreme Court has been tasked with establishing whether The Queen had acted upon unlawful advice given to her by the government.

Businesswoman Gina Miller, former Prime Minister Sir John Major, and SNP MP Joanna Cherry are leading the path at court, trying to argue that proroguing Parliament was unlawful.

Last week, the Scottish Court in Session ruled that the advice conveyed to Her Majesty regarding prorogation was unlawful because “It had the purpose of stymying Parliament.”

The current hearing in the Supreme Court is expected to last until Thursday, with a verdict being reached next week.

The decision that the Justices come to will have a profound impact.

If the ruling in the Court of Session is upheld by the Supreme Court, questions will be raised over whether Buckingham Palace can trust Downing Street.

Dr Catherine Haddon, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government, said: “Regardless of the final outcome, it is pretty uncomfortable position for the Palace. 

“HM acts on the Advice of her PM. For a court to rule that advice was unlawful, even if the ruling is later rejected, opens up questions about how that advice is given. She has to be able to trust No.10.”