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

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By Thomas Connelly on

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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