What happens next in parliament after supreme court ruling?

<span>Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

MPs returned to Westminster on Wednesday after the supreme court ruled that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks was unlawful. But what will happen and will it make any difference to Brexit?

What’s happening with parliament on Wednesday?

The president of the UK’s highest court, Lady Hale, announced on Tuesday that “parliament has not been prorogued”. The unanimous judgment of all 11 justices was that it was for parliament – and particularly the speakers of both houses - to decide what to do next. Commons Speaker John Bercow said that parliament must be reconvened as a “matter of urgency” and MPs began sitting at 11.30am. The usual Wednesday session of prime minister’s questions would not take place, he said, although there would be opportunities for MPs to hold the government to account via urgent questions.

So if there’s no PMQs, will Johnson have to face questions at the dispatch box?

Jeremy Corbyn brought forward his party conference speech to Tuesday afternoon so he could be back in Westminster by Wednesday, presumably hoping to drive home Johnson’s discomfort across the floor of the Commons. On Wednesday morning, it was confirmed that Johnson would appear before the Commons.

Related: Boris Johnson flies back to face MPs' fury after court ruling

What does it mean for Brexit?

Corbyn was meeting the leaders of the Scottish Nationalists, Lib Dems and other opposition parties on Tuesday night to work out how to exert maximum pressure to achieve their number one goal: making sure Johnson cannot escape the legal obligation set out in the Benn-Burt bill to delay Brexit if he has not reached a deal of any description by 19 October. Johnson has always insisted he will not request an extension of article 50 and may be hoping that the EU summit on 17 October will provide a breakthrough.

Government ministers have repeatedly dodged questions about whether they think there are loopholes they could use to avoid complying with the Benn legislation. But it would risk another potentially humiliating legal battle with the courts if Johnson chose to go down that route. In a hint he could have another go at suspending parliament he said there was a “good case for getting on with a Queen’s speech”.

Does any of this make an election more likely?

Johnson would like to have an election as soon as possible, but he has failed to force the necessary legal instrument through parliament. As he put it, “we have a parliament that is unable to be prorogued” and “doesn’t want to have an election”. The opposition parties don’t want an election until Johnson has asked for the Brexit extension. Their calculation is that Johnson will be weakened by doing so because he has made delivering Brexit on 31 October “come what may” the totem of his prime ministership. They can therefore go to the country portraying him as someone who has failed to deliver his promises.

Isn’t Tory conference next week?

Johnson’s party is expected to gather in Manchester from Sunday for four days, but it is unclear whether the Commons will still be sitting – meaning MPs will be required to be in Westminster. The government is expected to table a motion to secure a short conference recess. If MPs reject this, then the conference would go ahead while parliament sits, adding to the sense of chaos. Party chairman James Cleverly said on Tuesday that “of course” the conference – which the Tories hope to use to make a string of pre-election announcements – would go ahead.