Boris facing legal challenge to stop him suspending parliament for no-deal Brexit

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A Judge has agreed to fast-track a legal challenge which could prevent Boris Johnson from suspending parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.

More than 70 MPs and peers, led by Scottish National party MP Joanna Cherry, filed a petition at the Court of Session, in Edinburgh.

The cross-party group, which includes Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrat and former Tory MPs, claimed it would be illegal and unconstitutional for Johnson to prevent MPs from stopping a no-deal Brexit before October 31.

On this basis, they urged that the petition needed to be considered ‘as a matter of extreme urgency’, as time is now running out.

As a result, Judge Lord Raymond Doherty agreed to expedite the timetable for the legal challenge to take place, with the hearing to go ahead on September 6.

Both sides have been given 10 days to prepare their legal arguments and four more days to revise them.

The legal challenge against Johnson will depend on whether he would be breaching established constitutional law and both the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 and the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019, by suspending parliament.

Ahead of the hearing, Jolyon Maugham QC, director of the Good Law Project, said of Johnson: ‘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.’

Johnson has previously said he remains committed to leaving the EU on October 31, with or without a deal.

In July, talk of him suspending parliament in the two weeks before the deadline emerged, with a member of his team stating that Johnson was ‘discussing everything as an option’.

The notion has since been repeatedly blasted by several MPs, including Scottish Labour’s Ian Murray.

Speaking in support of the legal challenge, he said: ‘When Boris Johnson unveiled his vacuous slogan “taking back control”, voters weren’t told 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.’

Alongside the hearing, the first week of September is shaping up into a busy few days, with MPs returning from their summer break on September 3.

On September 4, the government will provide a progress report on power-sharing in Northern Ireland, which will be debated within five days.

This means September 9 is anticipated to be the first major legislative showdown over a no-deal Brexit.

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