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First legal bid to stop Boris Johnson shutting down parliament fails

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Cross-party group has already signalled intention to appeal

Credit: Wikicommons

A crowdfunded legal challenge aimed at blocking Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend parliament has been dismissed by a Scottish court.

The legal petition, backed by more than 70 MPs and peers, was seeking to get the Court of Session in Edinburgh to rule that suspending parliament so that the UK leaves the EU without a deal was “unlawful and unconstitutional”.

The case, financially supported by the Good Law Project, a not for profit organisation launched by Devereux Chambers‘ Jolyon Maugham QC, came after the PM announced his intention to shut down parliament, a process known as proroguing, for longer than expected in the run-up to Brexit.

However, Lord Doherty today ruled that the matter was one for voters and politicians, and not the courts. The suspension, the judge said, did not render the parliamentary process “futile” or infringe on the right of individuals under EU law.

Joanna Cherry MP QC, who is heading up the legal action, has already indicated they will appeal against the court’s ruling.

In a statement this morning, Maugham said:

“The idea that if the PM suspends parliament the court can’t get involved looses some ugly demons. If he can do it for 34 days, why not 34 weeks, or 34 months? Where does this political power end? It’s not the law, as I understand it.”

He continued: “Yesterday’s hearing was going to be a bit of a pre season friendly. We’re now focused on the Inner House, hopefully later this week, and then the Supreme Court on 17 September.”

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Meanwhile, south of the border, businesswoman turned activist Gina Miller has drafted in lawyers from Mishcon de Reya and Blackstone Chambers to help challenge Johnson’s plan in the English courts. Commenting on her decision to take legal action, Miller said:

“Whilst prorogation is an acceptable UK constitutional practice, no Prime Minister in modern history has attempted to use it in such a brazen manner. The effect of which will be to curtail or deny parliament its constitutional right to scrutinise or pass legislation to limit the damage of a no deal Brexit.”

Others granted permission to join the proceedings include former Prime Minister Sir John Major, represented by City outfit Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF), and Jess Phillips MP and Alex Sobel MP, represented by London law firm Edwin Coe. The matter will be heard in the High Court tomorrow (Thursday 5 September).

UPDATE: 11:58pm

The Scottish Council of Law Reporting has now published Doherty’s reasons for refusing the prorogation challenge.

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24 Comments

Anonymous

You can tell they thought “ooh the Scottish are pro remain I’m sure their courts will do what we want”, and were shocked to find that somewhere outside of England has a functioning legal system that won’t dance to political tunes.

Anonymous

VOTE LEAVE

TAKE BACK CONTROL

Anonymous

*clears throat*

LOL

Anonymous

Well, well, well.

Anonymous

Court of Session has it right. This is a political situation to be determined in Parliament. Just a shame that Parliament is in disarray.

Anonymous

It’s a jolly holiday with Jolyon, trying to subvert the vote.

Claims he respects democracy, the judge saw through that silly scrote.

Jog On

“Jolyon is one of only three practising barristers in the Evening Standard’s list of London’s most influential people, 2018.”

Imagine putting that on your chambers profile!

Anonymous

**vomits in own mouth**

Anonymous

I think the Labour Party should hear more from people like Darren or Wayne than Jolyon or Raphael

Anonymous

So many white knights

Anonymous

BoJo must win.

Anonyman

Wah! The Irish Backstop! Wah! People’s Vote! Wah! People who voted to leave are racist! Wah! Boris has no legitimate claim to office! Wah! Who will serve my coffee in Pret?! Wah! I will have to get a visa when I stay in my parents’ chalet in France! Wah!

Keep crying remainers!

SAD!

Anonymous

Separation of powers is just something that happens in other places then, huh? Idiot.

Realist

Disgraceful, if the Scottish legal system is going to support the self-destructive English nationalist Brexit project, heedless of the cost in lives and happiness, we should seriously reconsider its autonomy from the English and Welsh system

Anonymous

Why?

Anonymous

You should urgently change your name, you are as much a realist as you are a Kirkland NQ.

Anonymous

Why haven’t they instructed Lord Lester QC?

Anonymous

He certainly has experience of fighting against dodgy parliamentary processes.

Anonymous

Jeez when did LC become the mail online

Paul, West Midlands

Shocking display of agreeing to article 50 then renaming. All parties are guilty of not properly informing the electorate of the possible outcomes when asked to vote at the referendum. Theresa May will be remembered only for being the fall guy for Cameron. Boris I’m not sure only possibly for crystallising nearly two years of indecisive action. Corbyn purely for playing politics to become PM before he gets too old. Personally I’m ashamed the small majority that wanted to remain following the referendum can not accept the outcome of leave or remain.

Anonymous

This is a total humiliation for the Tories, Nigel Farage, Hereward the Wake, the BBC, Lord Denning and all the other reactionary, neo-liberal dark forces!

We, the progressive voice, brought this case INTENDING it to fail…because that will show the outrageous bias in the fascist judiciary of the Isle of Man, er, Scotland.

We’ve exposed the institutional prejudice against tax barristers and other humble and deserving folk from the downtrodden masses!

Nothing has been lost. Everything has been won.

Viva Monnet! Viva Maugham! Viva the Berlaymont Building!

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