Court Deals Johnson Crushing Blow on Brexit: Balance of Power

Court Deals Johnson Crushing Blow on Brexit: Balance of Power

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A legal bomb has just dropped on Boris Johnson.In an unprecedented rebuke by the U.K. Supreme Court, the prime minister’s decision to suspend Parliament was ruled “unlawful, void and to no effect.” Lawmakers can be recalled immediately, and there are already opposition demands for Johnson to resign.Eight weeks into office, the prime minister has been stretching the limits of the U.K.’s unwritten constitution in his drive to deliver Brexit at all costs on Oct. 31. He tried to force an election, and failed. He tried to tie the hands of members of Parliament, and that too has also now failed. The question now is whether he’ll quit, having given Queen Elizabeth II unlawful advice, or use the crisis to try again to persuade parliament — when it’s back — to trigger the election he wants.Johnson has relished his role as a rule breaker, but by dragging the Queen into the whole Brexit mess, he may have over-reached. The unanimous ruling implicitly suggests that Johnson misled her by asking her to carry out the suspension. That, more than anything, may be the cudgel with which British media beat the prime minister.The premier is in New York, where he was planning to press his case for a fresh Brexit deal with European leaders. But he’s got precious little leverage.The man who said he’d rather be “dead in a ditch” than delay leaving the European Union, might just have to go back on his word.

Global Headlines

Iran bombshell | On the eve of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations, Johnson finally gave Trump what he wanted to hear about the nuclear deal that the U.S. wants dead and Europeans — who also distanced themselves from Tehran — desperately want to keep alive. “The reality is, as President Trump rightly said, it was a bad deal,” Johnson told NBC News.

How to watch Trump’s speech today in New York: Iran has second-row seats. Will President Hassan Rouhani be watching? Will he walk out? Will the two leaders have somehow found a way to cross paths or artfully avoid each other?

Risky business | Reports that Trump sought to delay $400 million in military aid to Ukraine at least a week before he spoke to its president are inflaming Democratic probes into allegations that Trump improperly pressed Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Joe Biden and his son. But, as Billy House writes, a full-scale inquiry carries risks for the longtime Democratic presidential front-runner.

Still, circumstances differ from 2016, when Trump similarly leveled charges of corruption against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server. Click here for all you need to know about the impeachment talk that’s heating up again.

On a roll | After six months on a steady upward trajectory, 2020 Democratic presidential contender Elizabeth Warren is now edging out Biden for first place, at least according to a new poll from Iowa, the state that kicks off balloting. But heavy is the head that wears the crown. Success has made Warren a more prominent target for her rivals, Joshua Green reports.

Xi’s worries | Chinese leader Xi Jinping is under growing pressure as life worsens for his country’s working class. Bloomberg reporters spoke to people across southern China in interviews that underscore how lives are getting tougher — and why a government already facing headwinds created by the trade war, unrest in Hong Kong and the slowest economic growth in decades should be concerned. Xi will celebrate 70 years of Communist rule on Oct. 1.

Pressuring investors | There’s mounting speculation that Exxon Mobil may sell its majority stake in Vietnam’s largest offshore oil and gas project as China continues to use its coast guard to pressure foreign investors to leave the South China Sea. With Beijing getting closer to cutting exploration deals with other claimants, analysts warn Vietnam increasingly stands alone in the fight to protect its maritime sovereignty.

What to Watch

Japan and the U.S. finished talks on a trade deal with no indication of how the two sides responded to Trump’s tariff threats. Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are set to meet later this week on the sidelines of the UNGA. The U.S. has verbally offered Turkey a new trade package and F-35 jets, Turkish media outlets reported. It includes the sale to Ankara of a Patriot missile defense system and lower tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium.

And finally … Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, berated world leaders and chief executives of global companies at the UN summit yesterday. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she said. “How dare you!” As Will Wade and Saijel Kishan report, nobody refuted her. Most agreed.


–With assistance from Kathleen Hunter, Karen Leigh and Philip Heijmans.

To contact the author of this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson in London at

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