Judge refuses to halt UK Parliament suspension

Boris Johnson

London, Aug 30 (IANS) In a blow to anti-Brexit campaigners, a Scottish judge on Friday refused to order a temporary halt to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend the Parliament.

A group of 75 anti-Brexit MPs and peers were seeking an interim interdict — similar to an injunction — at the Court of Session ahead of a full hearing. Their request was declined by Lord Doherty, who said he was not satisfied there was a “cogent need” for an interdict.

But the full hearing will now be heard on September 3, instead of September 6, according to the BBC.

Lord Doherty told the court that it was in the interest of justice, and in the public interest, that the case proceeds sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, Aidan O’Neill QC, the lawyer acting for the MPs and peers, called in court for Johnson to provide a sworn affidavit under oath setting out why he needed to prorogue the Parliament.

O’Neill also said he reserved the right to call Johnson to give evidence in court at a later date.

Joanna Cherry QC, the Scottish National party MP who is leading the legal challenge, urged Johnson to provide a statement.

“Tell the court the truth in sworn testimony. (If) he believes that he has a good case for prorogation, he should have the guts to swear an affidavit,” said Cherry outside court.

Labour MP Ian Murray, who is backing the legal action, said: “This verdict means a full hearing has been fast-tracked to next week, which is now the most important week in modern British history.

“It is disappointing that we have to go to the courts to protect British democracy, but Boris Johnson’s attempt to silence the people’s representatives cannot go unchallenged. As well as this legal battle in the court of session, the campaign against a no-deal Brexit will also take place in the House of Commons.”

The former London Mayor on Wednesday announced that he would suspend Parliament from mid-September, a week after MPs reconvene on September 3 following the summer recess, until October 14, when there would be a Queen’s Speech.

A Queen’s Speech is held when a new government wants to set out its legislative agenda, but the move was swiftly criticized by opposition politicians and rebel conservatives for its timing, coming just before the UK is slated to leave the EU on October 31.

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