Prorogation sought in 'clandestine manner', says Scottish judge

13 Septembre, 2019, 19:27 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

Boris Johnson is facing furious demands for the immediate recall of MPs to Westminster after the suspension of Parliament was ruled unlawful by Scotland's highest civil court.

Normally courts do not intervene in the decisions of the government, using the principle of a "margin of appreciation", which gives ministers more leeway under the law than that of ordinary people or organisations. But it is unlikely that the prime minister will decide to recall the House before Tuesday when the case goes to the UK's Supreme Court for a final ruling.

They concluded that the PM was attempting to prevent Parliament holding the government to account, ahead of Brexit.

The appeals court, however, decided that the order was "null and void" after lawyers acting on behalf of 75 MPs and peers said suspending parliament would stifle action on Brexit.

"That is within his power, and we must take the decisions when we are recalled and back actually doing the job we are sent to Parliament to do".

MP Dominic Grieve, expelled from the Tories for rebelling over Brexit, warned: 'If the government misled the Queen about the reasons for suspending parliament, it would be the moment for Mr Johnson to resign.

"This ruling today has enormous constitutional significance. Central", he told the BBC.

The UK parliamentary rulebook Erskine May notes: "When Parliament stands prorogued to a certain day, the Queen may issue a proclamation, giving notice of her intention that Parliament shall meet for the dispatch of business on any day after the date of the proclamation; and Parliament then stands prorogued to that day, notwithstanding the previous prorogation".

Downing Street insisted the five-week prorogation was so the new Government could set out its legislative programme in a Queen's Speech on October 14.

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We believe that the effect of the decision is that Parliament is no longer prorogued.

Either way - if the Supreme Court rules that the prorogation was unlawful - it is likely that UK Parliament will have to return very quickly.

In the meantime, officials said Parliament would remain prorogued.

So the fact that all three judges at the Court of Session have - albeit by different routes - arrived at the decision that they can intervene is highly significant.

The judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland's most senior judge, concluded prorogation had been done with "the goal of stymying Parliament". The controversy will come to a head next week at the UK's Supreme Court in London.

MORE: Legal bid could empower Scottish court to extend Article 50 on Boris Johnson's behalf The case, brought by Ecotricity entrepreneur Dale Vince with Joanna Cherry QC MP and Jolyon Maugham, follows the anti-no deal Benn Act which legally obliges the government to either secure a deal with the European Union by October 19 or request an extension.

But the UK Supreme Court could rule that their parliament was never prorogued and is still in session, meaning that there is no need to recall Parliament.

"We have uncovered more and more evidence that this was a plot by Boris Johnson and his cronies to prevent us from stopping them taking Scotland and the United Kingdom off a Brexit cliff edge by forcing through a damaging no deal against the will of Parliament".

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