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Ex-PM Sir John Major instructs Herbert Smith Freehills in fight against Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend parliament

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Twenty-four hours after campaigner Gina Miller engaged the services of Mishcon de Reya and Blackstone Chambers

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Chatham House (Sir John Major)

Former Prime Minister Sir John Major has instructed international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) as he looks to join a legal action seeking to stop Boris Johnson from suspending parliament in the run-up to Brexit.

Sir John, who is pro-Remain, confirmed in a statement this morning that he will join a claim already launched by businesswoman turned campaigner Gina Miller, who hit headlines in 2017 when she won a legal case forcing parliament to legislate before Article 50 could be invoked.

In this latest legal offensive, Sir John will be represented by HSF partner and public law practice head Andrew Lidbetter. Lidbetter, a solicitor advocate, will work alongside Tom Cleaver of Blackstone Chambers and Lord Garnier QC of 4 Pump Court. It will be heard in the High Court on Thursday 5 September.

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“In view of the imminence of the prorogation — and to avoid duplication of effort, and taking up the court’s time through repetition — I intend to seek the court’s permission to intervene in the claim already initiated by Gina Miller, rather than to commence separate proceedings,” Sir John said.

Sir John, who was PM between 1990 and 1997, continued:

“If granted permission to intervene, I intend to seek to assist the court from the perspective of having served in government as a minister and prime minister, and also in parliament for many years as a member of the House of Commons.”

Yesterday, Legal Cheek reported that Miller, a prominent anti-Brexit campaigner, had called on the services of Mishcon de Reya and Blackstone Chambers to help challenge Johnson’s plan to prorogue parliament for five weeks. Miller, who is represented by Lord Pannick QC and Tom Hickman QC, has so far raised over £80,000 to help cover her legal costs.

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44 Comments

Anonymous

This is not you, Thomas. Better tell us about Mishcon de Reya retention rate.

Anonymous

In 1997 Conservative Prime Minister John Major prorogued parliament for 19 days before to avoid the publication of a damning report into Conservative MPs taking cash for questions.

This tw@ is just someone who has become a loaded Remainer in his retirement who was misusing prorogation powers himself

VOTE LEAVE, TAKE BACK CONTROL

Truth Serum

Whilst I agree with your comment, it doesn’t mean what BoJo has done is correct. This is a disgrace. However everyone in Parliament has behaved disgracefully. Why did Labour whip to oppose Theresa May’s deal? Pillocks.

Anonymous

Bum. Even that Oxbridge haven won’t stop Brexit.

Anonymous

Why can’t John Major speak normally? Why does he try to make everything sound important and profound? It comes across as priggish.

Anonymous

He’s part of the leftist elite that has become disconnected from the true Britons!

Anonymous

He’s hardly a leftist. He’s just a former PM who ran the second most incompetent government in living memory (behind Gordon Brown’s) and who prorogued Parliament for several weeks for political advantage.

Which may all be rather unwelcome for those running the case he wants to intervene in.

Anonymous

LOL.

We’ve literally had the three worst PMs in British history, one after the other.

1. The gambler, who gambled first the union and then Britain’s future in europe in some sort of Etonian game of chicken.

2. The robot, whose stubborn inflexibility and inability to persuade left Britain on the brink.

3. The constitutional arsonist who is also a pathological liar.

And you pick Brown and Major. LOL!

Anonymous

I doubt you can remember any government before Cameron’s.

Now back you get to packing for the second year. Your dad won’t want to hang around loading the car.

Anonymous

Ignore the rabid Gammon mate, your comment is spot on.

Anonymous

Viscount Goderich (in office 1827 – 1828) has been called the worst PM in British history.

Dad

Get your cases in the car now! Silly little boy!

Anonymous

It simply highlights how far public discourse has fallen.

Major led the fag end of Tory rule when all around him was crumbling. His premiership was one that the public were desperate to end.

Compare him to today’s crop however and it’s night and day. Major is a true statesman, a man of substance, compared to the reckless idiots and intellectual pygmies who have represented the majority in Parliament since around 2010.

Anonymous

Chillax, Corbyn and take your meds.

GAMMONKRIEG

“intellectual pygmies”

That’s quite good.

Anonymous

So desperate to end that he won the 1992 election? Major was dragged down by right wing anti EU extremist Tories. Exactly the sort running the party now.

John

Pass the pepper please, Norma.

Anonymous

John Major is a very significant figure, given that he is the only politician regarded by both the right and left as being a rubbish Thatcher.

That said, I don’t think he’ll be able to usurp Gina Miller as top, top queen of the brexit legal challenge.

Realist

It’s a disgrace; Gina Miller has been fighting a one-woman campaign for justice, democracy and human rights, and in comes this old white man to try and mansplain her court case to her. This will only cost more time and lives at the hand of brexit

Anonymous

Weak troll

Anonymous

LOL

If it hadn’t been for Gina Miller’s first case, you realise we would not be in this situation?

Anonyman

Really? One word…

SAD!

Terry

For him to have any chance of winning he needed to instruct Kirkland and Ellis. HSF simply won’t cut it.

Anonymous

Imagine Kirkland NQ pulling up to the courts in his Lambo, absolutely shocka.

Anonymous

K&E are utter shyte for litigation matters mate, jog on and get back to your first year LLB resits prep.

Anonymous

Litigation is easy, so Kirkland could step out of his Lambo to do it, as indeed could any law student who has studied judicial review.

Is there power to prorogue ?

Was its exercise properly considered by the relevant officials ?

Were there any steps they should have taken, or any line of reasoning that they did not consider ?

If there were, would it have made a material difference to the outcome ?

Major can add a day’s evidence to the last point because of his experience, but my guess is that the evidence will only be relevant if BJ missed something.

I would be surprised if this action succeeds. I think it will be similar to the misfeasance in public office case against BJ, but the option of the vexatious paragraph that will be on the templates in square brackets will not be selected this time, out of deference to the more prestigious petitioners.

Query whether the name of the game is to seek leave to appeal and apply for an injunction against the prorogation if leave is granted upon being defeated in the High Court.

I doubt there will be a precdent for that.

Also, if Major and BJ are actually on the same side, Major losing the case will strengthen Boris hand in negotiating a deal.

E.g. Juncker, you will have to improve the deal the eu are offering now because the state apparatus in the uk will not stop it leaving on 31 October.

Anonymous

🤦‍♂️

Anonymous

Let’s see how we both get on on Thursday. Nice emoji.

GROOOOOOT

‘Litigation is easy…’ I stopped reading after that.

Anonymous

No you didn’t.

Anonymous

Let’s face it 99% of litigation is easy, I suspect that this falls into the 1% that is not though.

P Hannaby

Matters of boarder security have long been difficult subjects for members of the European States. Having fought over the same continent for hundreds of years and Recently having being involved in Two major World Wars over their own territories.
And In the case of our own United Kingdom, having witnessed untold misery and destruction in the years of the troubles in Ireland.

To dismiss the UK/Ireland boarder backstop dispute as a mere technicality which can be discussed away, is in my opinion, either a denial of the truth, or just plain ignorance of the lessons of history.

The United Kingdom can break away from the EU but Ireland as whole cannot because of its land boarder. The EU ministers are VERY touchy about this boarder, that’s why they are holding out. This is much more important than just a matter of trade tariffs. This has now become a matter of State Soverenty.

The unbreaked steamroller that is Brexit, is now impossible to stop, having been endorsed first by a referendum, and then by the passing of article 50. Now the EU is sticking to the line that it will only allow a framework deal on terms already discussed, or no deal at all.

Remember Margaret Thatchers ‘no, no,no’ speech when she won a reduction in the UK’s payments to the EU. Her strength in opposing them is what is motivating Boris Johnson (or his advisor) to bring the negotiations to the brink. Now It seems it doesn’t matter if parliament has a say in it or not, because Boris having got the people’s endorsement, is determined to see it through come what may.

In a recent visit by our prime minister to Germany and France, when asked about a solution to the backstop. It was suggested to him that he should go away for thirty days and come back with any suggestions he might think of!
Now if that’s not a snub,then I don’t know what is.

Either way it looks like we all loose to some extent. It will take a long time for Brexit to be consigned to history and the economy to heal. Even longer than the ten years of Conservative Austerity, after the financial Banking crash in 2008 (caused by greedy investors) and under a previous governmental ‘panic moment’.
Was bailed out by the then Labour Government which led to their eventual downfall.

BJ and his ministers truly believes that their decision to leave the EU is best for the future of the United kingdom’s economy. And In all fairness to them who can fault them for believing that.

But is the Short and long term disruption caused a price worth paying? When even ‘they’ don’t know what really going to happen after we leave with or without a deal?

The whole affare in my opinion has been a hurried, mis-managed, and entirely unprepared four years of government. They have been economical with the truth when they have seen fit. Has seen exagerated statements made by fledgeling political parties who have never even served in office! And has paralysed parliament and divided the nation making us a laughing stock of Europe.

I wonder if our ‘Kingdom’ will still be ‘United’ when this is all over.

Anonymous

B+ Good effort, with a little more time and dedication could be an A.

Anonymous

These extremist Remainers have seriously lost the plot.

Anonymous

BJ is trying to go it alone and get a deal or no deal through by 31/8/19 and see off The Brexit Party. However, his ultimate fall back if Miller succeeds & somehow Parliament thwarts the will of the electorate again, is a GE & electoral pact with Farage. He would then have an outright working majority in Parliament and the chance to bin off the likes of Ken Clarke, Phillip Hammond, Oliver Letwin & all the other weasel so called Tory MPs, who have no place in the party.
Love him or loathe him, he’s a winner who is actually getting things done.

Anonymous

I think one of the options will be to play it straight.

Try and get a good deal before 31 October or after.

Show some political skill.

Survive the five year term.

Seek re election.

A lot depends on the appetite of the EU businesses to trade with the UK after a no deal with a view to exploiting the UK’s non membership of the club.

E.g it occurs to me that some Brits want bmws rather than cars.

They can order an electric bmw and have it delivered by the factory to them, if the scene is set that way.

Less maintenance is needed.

New electric servicers owned by the factory, based in the Uk, could be established in the uk.

They will still employ english workers, but cut out the role of the english middle class managers and owners.

This would improve the investment gearing for Germany at our expense. There is no need to tarnish your profit ratio paying the English middle class.

That would be brutal.

The trouble is the heads of the think tanks are brutal. Why wouldnt they treat our whole country like they once treated just the miners ? They would find willing people to over promote to get the policy through.

That is what I worry about.

Vw, bmw and hymer seem to me to be in a position to do that. Will they, or wont they ?

Would someone like WRM care if they did ?

Anonymous

Major is a pleb who didn’t go to university and who was a hopeless PM. A hypocrite, too, given his useless back to basics campaign when he had been fucking Edwina Currie.

Anonymous

I never met a Brexiteer I liked. Sign of poor character.

Anonymous

I never met a truthful Remainiac.

So I’ll take your comment as an endorsement – have a thumbs up.

Anonymous

I absolutely cannot fucking wait til Brexit. It’ll be a nightmare for a bit, then it’ll be fine. Referendum has to be respected, end of story. If that arsehole Boris has to be a bit sneaky to get it over the line, so be it. Remainer MPs had their chance and they fucked it. Now they can suck it.

Anonymous

Ditto.

Brexit is gonna b absolutely epic.

Scep Tick

Wonder if he will tell the Court he prorogued Parliament early to avoid the publication of a report that would have shown his government was institutionally corrupt.

Anonymous

Surely he has to, it is inevitable that it will come out, surely he has to be proactive and proffer this information.

Would be interesting to see what advice he received on this at the time…

Paul

Major = May. Absolute wet weekends . Too polite and trying to please the electorate, boring!

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