It is Boris Johnson who broke the law and it is Boris Johnson who must resign

We have witnessed some astonishing developments in the three years since the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

The previous prime minister was forced to resign after losing three House of Commons votes on her Brexit deal. Meanwhile, the work of the Westminster Parliament ground to a halt.

All of that is extraordinary and unprecedented. But none of these extraordinary events compare with what has now happened.

The judgment of the UK Supreme Court, and the implications of it, are of enormous significance. It has ruled – unanimously – that the British prime minister acted unlawfully by suspending the UK Parliament. The president of the court, Lady Hale, said: ‘The effect on the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme.’

It is truly historic and unprecedented in our modern democracy that a prime minister has been held to have broken the law to ‘frustrate or prevent the ability of parliament to carry out its constitutional functions’.

It is hard to think of another democratic country where there has been a more damning verdict on the behaviour of a prime minister.

The judgment could not be starker. ‘It is impossible to conclude’, said the Supreme Court, ‘that there was any reason – let alone a good reason – to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament for five weeks.’

A prime minister with no electoral mandate and no parliamentary majority tried to shut down Parliament.

In other words, he sought to prevent Parliament doing all the things that give meaning and life to the term ‘parliamentary democracy’.

This behaviour on the part of a prime minister shames his office, it shames the UK Government, it shames the Conservative Party and it demonstrates beyond doubt that Westminster politics is badly broken.

It speaks volumes that in his initial reaction to the ruling, the prime minister has accused those who brought the actions to have the prorogation declared unlawful of trying to frustrate Brexit.

Not only is that argument wrong – it is also remarkable from a PM who also claims that prorogation had nothing to do with Brexit.

It was Boris Johnson who took the decision to prorogue Parliament.

It was Boris Johnson who acted unlawfully.

And I do not say this lightly, but it is Boris Johnson who must now resign.

The court has ruled that the UK Parliament is not legally prorogued. It must therefore return to business as soon as possible.

The UK Government must make it absolutely clear that it will respect and adhere to the Benn Act, which is designed to prevent a disastrous no-deal crash-out of the EU.

There have been alarming whispers that the Tories are looking for technical loopholes or are prepared to simply ignore the law and press ahead with their no-deal plans.

We need a clear and unambiguous statement that the law will be respected and that the UK Government will ask for an extension to prevent a catastrophic no-deal Brexit on October 31.

Going forward, this UK Government should now be removed from office as soon as possible.

There is, in truth, no functioning UK Government right now.

It is impossible to have any confidence in this prime minister or the government he leads. Therefore, as soon as the risk of it being used to force through no-deal Brexit on 31 October has been removed, there must be a general election.

We will continue to do everything we can to make Scotland’s voice heard and protect our citizens from the damage of Brexit.

And we should resolve that the better foundation on which to build the future of Scotland is as an independent member of the European family of nations.

This article originally appeared in the Metro.