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Former PM John Major joins legal action against Boris Johnson's prorogation

There are now three legal actions against Johnson’s prorogation: one in London, one in Edinburgh and one in Belfast.

Image: PA Images/Photojoiner

FORMER BRITISH PRIME Minister John Major has joined the legal action taken against current Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a London court against his decision to suspend parliament.

Major, leader of the Tories and Prime Minister from 1990 – 1997, promised in July that if parliament was suspended over Brexit,  that he would take legal action.

Campaigner Gina Miller took a case against the legalities of Johnson’s decision to prorogue parliament for five weeks from mid-September to mid-October, meaning parliament would return just weeks before the Brexit deadline on 31 October.

Major said today that he would join that legal action:

In view of the imminence of the prorogation – and to avoid duplication of effort, and taking up the Court’s time through repetition – I intend to seek the Court’s permission to intervene in the claim already initiated by Gina Miller, rather than commence separate proceedings.

Major said that he intends “to seek to assist the Court from the perspective of having served in Government as a Minister and Prime Minister, and also in Parliament for many years as a Member of the House of Commons”.

Lord David Pannick QC will represent Miller, while Lord Garnier QC and Tom Cleaver will represent Major, in the hearing scheduled for next Thursday; two other court actions against prorogation is being taken in courts in Edinburgh and Belfast.

brexit Lord Doherty outside the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

This morning, a Scottish judge ruled against granting an emergency injunction to halt UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson from suspending the UK parliament pending a full court hearing.

Yesterday, Lord Raymond Doherty heard a bid for an interim interdict – the Scottish legal equivalent of an injunction – that would halt Johnson’s move to suspend parliament between mid-September and 14 October.

The queen, the head of state who must follow the advice of her ministers, gave her approval to allow prorogation hours after Johnson’s request.

Today, the judge rejected a request for an emergency injunction, saying in his ruling: “I’m not satisfied that there’s a need for an interim suspension or an interim interdict to be granted at this stage.”

A group of 75 parliamentarians had sought a temporary injunction from Doherty pending a full hearing next Friday 6 September. The judge today ordered that it be brought forward to Tuesday 3 September.

The judge gave his decision at 10am at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Scotland’s highest civil court (England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own separate legal systems).

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SNP MP Joanna Cherry, who is also a QC, said that the UK government has “not had a good track record” when it came to legal advice on Brexit-related matters.

The government had argued that Article 50 couldn’t be unilaterally revoked, which was overruled by the European Court of Justice, and subsequently lost another case on the correct method for triggering Article 50.

“If we don’t win today, we will be appealing it and my own gut feeling is that this case will end up in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom,” Cherry said. “This is very much the first salvo in an intense battle.”

© – AFP 2019

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