A legal bid to stop Boris Johnson suspending Parliament has failed its first test in Scotland’s highest civil court.
A cross-party group of around 75 MPs and peers had urged the court to step in immediately, saying the decision was ‘an abuse of power’ and ‘unconstitutional.’
On 30 August, a judge denied their request although he did grant a fuller hearing on the issue early next week ‘in the interests of justice.’
The group – led by the SNP’s Joanna Cherry and Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson – had filed a petition at Edinburgh’s Court of Session earlier this summer aiming to stop the new Tory Prime Minister from suspending Parliament. It was a pre-emptive strike and the court had not made a ruling on it.
The issue gained some urgency when, on Wednesday, the Queen gave Mr Johnson permission to suspend Parliament from mid-September until 14 October. Proroguing parliament halves the number of days MPs will sit before the Brexit deadline of 31 October. It has led to claims that Mr Johnson is acting like a ‘tin-pot dictator’ and the move is unconstitutional and designed to prevent the blocking of no-deal
On 29 August, campaigners went back to the court in Edinburgh court seeking an interim interdict, which would stop the Prime Minister taking the option of suspension until a final decision had been made.
The following day, Judge Lord Doherty said: ‘I’m not satisfied that it has been demonstrated that there’s a need for an interim suspension or an interim interdict to be granted at this stage.’
However, he did set another hearing date for Tuesday 3 September – which is before the first possible date that parliament can be prorogued.
‘Although the judge has refused a temporary halt to the Prime Minister’s plans, I welcome the news that the full hearing has been brought forward to 3 September.’
A court in Northern Ireland will hear from lawyers representing anti-no-deal campaigners challenging the move. Meanwhile London’s High Court will hear a challenge by Gina Miller, which John Major his supporting.