- Boris Johnson’s plan to consider suspending Parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit on October 31, could be ruled illegal.
- A group of parliamentarians and lawyers are appealing to a Scottish court to seek a guarantee that proroguing Parliament for the purpose of forcing through a no-deal Brexit would be against the law.
- It relies on the precedent of a previous successful case which found that the UK government was free to unilaterally revoke Brexit.
- The court is set to rule within weeks , potentially forcing Johnson to seek another Brexit extension.
Boris Johnson’s plan to force Britain out of the EU by the end of October, with or without the agreement of the UK parlimaent, could soon be ruled illegal by a Scottish court.
Johnson has insisted that Britain will leave the EU on October 31, with or without a deal, and has refused to rule out suspending parliament in order to allow it to happen, if he becomes prime minister this week.
However, a group of parliamentarians and lawyers on Monday wrote to the UK government’s legal representative in Scotland on Tuesday advising them that they will after seven days sue for a “court guarantee” which could rule any plan to suspend parliament in order to force through Brexit, illegal.
The case could be heard within weeks, with Johnson’s plan potentially being ruled illegal before members of parliament return from their summer break.
Similar cases have been threatened in recent months by the campaigner Gina Miller and the former Conservative prime minister John Major.
However, those involved in this case believe it is vital to secure a court ruling now before any attempted suspension of parliament takes place.
Under the plan, if successful, Johnson could be advised by government lawyers against requesting that the Queen suspend parliament in order to force a no-deal and could then be served with an injunction if he went ahead anyway.
Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Plaid Cymru MPs have all joined the case, alongside Jolyon Maugham QC of the Good Law Project.
“If the Prime Minister asks the Queen to suspend Parliament she faces an impossible choice,” Maugham said.
“Either she ignores his advice and breaks with convention or she dismisses Parliament so the Prime Minister can use her prerogative to force through No Deal.
“Both options explode the notion of the UK as a modern, functioning democracy. We will ask the Courts to assist Her Majesty by ruling on that choice.”
Jo Swinson, who was elected Liberal Democrat leader on Monday with a pledge to “do whatever it takes to stop Brexit,” said the case was essential for protecting the UK economy.
“Liberal Democrats will do everything we possibly can to stop the next Tory Prime Minister from crashing the UK out of the EU,” she said.
“That is why I am adding my name as a petitioner to this important case. Proroguing Parliament so as to crash the UK out without a deal would be catastrophic for our NHS, jobs, and our environment.
Scottish National Party MP Joanna Cherry, who has also joined the case, said that it was “unconscionable that the incoming PM should simply do away with the Westminster Parliament in order to fulfil this slow-motion car crash.”
She added that “we must take all steps we can to prevent prorogation.”
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