Judge agrees to fast-track Brexit legal challenge

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A judge has agreed to fast-track a hearing on whether the Prime Minister can legally suspend Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.

Boris Johnson has promised to take Britain out of the EU by October 31 “with or without a deal” and has not ruled out sending MPs home in order to do so.

But more than 70 MPs and peers have launched a legal bid, asking that the Court of Session in Edinburgh rules it “unlawful and unconstitutional” to prorogue, or suspend, Parliament as an attempt to stop MPs blocking a no-deal Brexit.

In today's initial hearing to determine the timescale for proceedings, Judge Lord Raymond Doherty set the date for the substantive hearing as Friday September 6 - three days after MPs will return from their summer break. 

Anti-Brexit campaigners stressed the urgency of the case due to the looming withdrawal deadline - hence the petition was filed to a Scottish court which, unlike English courts, sits in the summer.

Former Tory Deputy Prime Minister Lord Michael Heseltine told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that an attempt to suspend Parliament would ignore the rights of MPs to hold the government to account.

He said:  “Anybody who says that those absolutely fundamental rights should be overturned in order to steamroller a policy through parliament is in my view just ignoring the incredible achievements that the British people have in their constitution.”

The legal petition is also 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.

Read more

Donald Trump wants UK trade deal ‘as soon as possible’

Lord Heseltine: ‘Any credibility Theresa May had is gone’