04:30, August 13 131 0 theguardian.com

2019-08-13 04:30:05
Court hears fresh challenge to Johnson's no-deal Brexit

Boris Johnson is facing a new legal challenge from campaigners backed by more than 70 MPs and peers who want to stop him proroguing parliament to push through a no-deal Brexit.

The legal bid, led by Jolyon Maugham of the Good Law Project, will be placed before the court of session in Edinburgh on Tuesday morning.

The MPs’ aim is to get the court to rule that suspending parliament to make the UK leave the EU without a deal is “unlawful and unconstitutional”.

An initial hearing will determine how the legal challenge will proceed in terms of timing, with just weeks to go before Johnson could try to shut down parliament in order to proceed with a no-deal Brexit.

The backers include the Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and the Scottish National party MP Joanna Cherry among others in the same group of anti-Brexit politicians who last year obtained a ruling that the UK can cancel Brexit without the permission of the other 27 EU members.

Maugham said: “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.”

Another petitioner, Ian Murray, Labour MP for Edinburgh South, said: “When Boris Johnson unveiled his vacuous slogan ‘taking back control’, voters weren’t told that this could mean shutting down parliament.

“The prime minister’s undemocratic proposal to hold Westminster in contempt simply can’t go unchallenged.”

Johnson has refused to rule out proroguing parliament to achieve a no-deal Brexit on 31 October but he would be likely to face a huge constitutional battle if he tried to do so.

John Bercow, the speaker of the Commons, has said it is “simply not going to happen” that the government should try to sideline parliament.