Legal bid to stop PM pushing through no-deal Brexit to go before judge
An initial hearing is due to take place at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Tuesday.
A legal challenge to prevent Boris Johnson forcing through a no-deal Brexit by suspending Parliament has been allowed to proceed by the Scottish courts.
The legal bid, backed by more than 70 MPs and peers, is seeking to get the Court of Session in Edinburgh to rule that suspending Parliament to make the UK leave the EU without a deal is “unlawful and unconstitutional”.
The petition has been filed at the Edinburgh court, which sits through the summer, and was granted permission to be heard by a judge.
An initial hearing is due to take place before Lord Doherty at the Court of Session on Tuesday morning to determine how the legal challenge will proceed.
A cross-party group of politicians is backing the legal petition, supported by the Good Law Project, which won a victory at the European Court of Justice last year over whether the UK could unilaterally cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50.
Jolyon Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project, said: “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.”
One petitioner, Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray, 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.”
The legal papers state: “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.”
Warning that “the exercise of the power of prorogation would have irreversible legal, constitutional and practical implications for the United Kingdom”, the challenge calls for the court to declare that proroguing Parliament before October 31 would be both unconstitutional and unlawful by denying MPs and the Lords the chance to debate and approve the decision.
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