Published: Thu, September 12, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Scottish judges rule Boris Johnson's prorogation unlawful

Scottish judges rule Boris Johnson's prorogation unlawful

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson suffered a fresh blow Wednesday when a Scottish court ruled that his controversial decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to Brexit was unlawful.

Dominic Grieve, who served as Attorney General for England and Wales from 2010 to 2014, was responding to the ruling in Scotland that the advice given by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the Queen concerning the prorogation of parliament was "unlawful".

The British government said it was disappointed by the decision and confirmed it would appeal to the Supreme Court.

The government immediately appealed, with the case set to be heard in the Supreme Court next Tuesday, and parliament set to remain shut in the meantime.

"I think that what I need to do, and what others need to do, is to get back to parliament and open those doors and get back in, and get Boris Johnson back in parliament so we can hold him properly to account".

Meanwhile, a separate court hearing at the High Court in London rejected a case brought by businesswoman Gina Miller, ruling the decision to prorogue parliament was "purely political" and therefore not capable of challenge in the courts.

On Wednesday, three judges in the Court of Session - including Scotland's most senior judge - found in favour of a group of more than 75 opposition MPs and Lords who had challenged the move, saying it was a breach of the constitution.

With seven weeks until Britain is due to leave the European Union, the government and parliament are locked in conflict over the future of Brexit, with possible outcomes ranging from leaving without a deal to another referendum that could cancel the divorce.

The divisions in the opposition Labour Party over Brexit were on display on Wednesday, when its deputy leader, Tom Watson, said he supported pressing for a second referendum before an early national election. He rejects opposition complaints that he is denying parliament the right to debate Brexit.

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It required the government to ask the European Union for a three-month delay - to the end of January - if no withdrawal agreement was reached and approved by Parliament by October 19.

The latest setback came with the forced release of the government's own assessment of the fallout from a hard Brexit, which found that the number of trucks crossing the main freight route between Calais and Dover would drop by between 40% and 60% within a day, with disruptions possibly lasting with up to three months.

He said: "The decision today is highly embarrassing for Boris Johnson and his government".

The case now goes to the UK Supreme Court next week. Michael Gove, the minister in charge of Brexit planning, said the request was inappropriate and disproportionate.

"Every day Parliament remains suspended, Boris Johnson and the United Kingdom government are shutting down democracy", he added.

Farage also told reporters that unless there was a clean-break Brexit, the Conservatives would take a "real kicking" in any election and could not win a majority.

Johnson ruled out a pact with Farage.

"The mood is changing, the ice floes are cracking", he said.

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