MPs get go-ahead for September court showdown with Boris Johnson over no-deal Brexit

Posted On: 
13th August 2019

Anti-Brexit politicians hoping to use the courts to stop Boris Johnson from shutting down Parliament will get a chance to make their case in September, it has been confirmed.

A legal petition to try and hold the Prime Minister's feet to the fire over proroguing Parliament has been backed by more than 70 MPs and peers.
Credit: 
PA

A Scottish judge on Tuesday set a date of Friday 6 September for the legal showdown, which is aimed at curbing the Prime Minister's ability to prorogue Parliament in order to push a no-deal exit past MPs.

The legal bid has been backed by more than 70 MPs and peers, and seeks to get the Court of Session in Edinburgh - which, unlike English courts, sits throughout the summer - to rule that suspending Parliament would be "unlawful and unconstitutional".

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Papers lodged with the court say: "Seeking to use the power to prorogue Parliament to avoid further parliamentary participation in the withdrawal of the UK from the EU is both unlawful and unconstitutional."

Judge Lord Doherty on Tuesday confirmed that a full hearing for the legal petition would now take place on 6 September, teeing up a clash with the new Prime Minister just days after MPs return from the summer recess.

The legal bid is being led by campaign group the Good Law Project, as well the SNP's justice spokesperson Joanna Cherry QC. Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson is also on board.

Jolyon Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project, told the Press Association ahead of Monday's hearing: "A man with no mandate seeks to cancel parliament for fear it will stop him inflicting on an unwilling public an outcome they did not vote for and do not want.

"That's certainly not democracy and I expect our courts to say it's not the law."

Labour MP for Edinburgh South Ian Murray meanwhile said: "When Boris Johnson unveiled his vacuous slogan 'taking back control', voters weren't told that this could mean shutting down parliament.

"The prime minister's undemocratic proposal to hold Westminster in contempt simply can't go unchallenged.

"On behalf of voters across the UK, this cross-party legal challenge aims to prevent him riding roughshod over British democracy.

"A no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for Scotland and the UK, and voters deserve a final say on whether they want to keep the best deal we have and remain in the EU."