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Fight over PM’s decision to suspend parliament goes to Supreme Court | Politics News



The legal battle over Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament for five weeks will go to Britain’s highest court today.

The Supreme Court will hear appeals from two separate challenges brought in England and Scotland over the next three days, following the ruling in Scotland that the prime minister’s prorogation was unlawful.

Mr Johnson advised the Queen to suspend parliament, known as proroguing, for five weeks from 9 September, which she approved at the end of August.

But the move infuriated MPs and campaigners who saw the suspension as a bid to prevent the ongoing debates over Brexit and prevent any progress being made.

Legal challenges were taken to courts in England and Scotland, but judges in England dismissed the case, brought by campaigner Gina Miller, finding the length of the prorogation was “purely political” and “not a matter for the courts”.

But on the same day, the Inner House of the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled that Mr Johnson’s decision was unlawful because “it was motivated by the improper purpose of stymying parliament”.

The ruling led to a Downing Street source suggesting MPs and peers “chose the Scottish courts for a reason”, comments which Nicola Sturgeon called “deeply dangerous”.

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A cross-party group of 75 MPs and peers led by SNP MP Joanna Cherry brought the case in Scotland, while Mrs Miller was supported by Sir John Major, shadow attorney general Baroness Chakrabarti and the Scottish and Welsh governments in England.

The Supreme Court will sit as a panel of 11 justices for only the second time in its 10-year history. It will attempt to reconcile the contradictory judgements from each court.

In a statement ahead of the hearing, Mrs Miller said: “As with my first case, my Supreme Court case is about pushing back against what is clearly a dramatic overreach of executive power.

“This is an issue that cuts across the political divides – and the arguments about the EU – and it has united Remainers and Leavers and people of all political complexions and none in opposition to it.

Boris Johnson

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“The precedent Mr Johnson will set – if this is allowed to stand – is terrifying: any prime minister trying to push through a policy that is unpopular in the House and in the country at large would from now on simply be able to resort to prorogation.

“No one could ever have envisaged it being used in this way: this is a classic power grab.”

The Supreme Court will hear submissions from the parties and the interveners, including the Scottish and Welsh governments, over three days from Tuesday to Thursday, but it Is not clear when they will give a ruling.

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