Heavyweights from across the political divide have joined forces to fight Boris Johnson’s prorogation plan in the courts.
Former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major, deputy Labour leader Tom Watson and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson have thrown their weight behind a legal challenge being mounted by campaigner Gina Miller.
There has been an uproar of protest after Boris Johnson ordered a suspension of parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen’s speech on October 14.
A petition against the move hit over a million signatures within a day, and spontaneous protests have taken place nationwide.
Businesswoman Gina Miller – who previously took the government to court over the triggering of Article 50 to start the Brexit process – is bringing a case against the move that she said would be heard on September 5.
After promising to seek a judicial review of Johnson’s decision, former prime minister Sir John Major now says he intends to join Miller’s legal challenge.
In a separate legal case in Scotland, judge Lord Doherty rejected a call for an interim interdict to block the suspension of Parliament but said a full hearing would take place on September 3.
Sir John suggested his experience in Number 10 could assist Gina Miller’s case in the High Court in deciding whether Johnson’s actions are lawful.
“In view of the imminence of the prorogation – and to avoid duplication of effort and taking up the court’s time through repetition – I intend to seek the court’s permission to intervene in the claim already initiated by Gina Miller, rather than to commence separate proceedings,” Sir John said.
“If granted permission to intervene, I intend to seek to assist the court from the perspective of having served in government as a minister and prime minister, and also in parliament for many years as a member of the House of Commons.”
Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has also said he will join forces with Miller, calling the prorogation “an unprecedented affront to democracy”.
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson also added her name to the legal challenge, commenting: “The attempt to shut down parliament is an anti-democratic, authoritarian power grab by Boris Johnson, who wants to silence the people and their representatives.
“The Liberal Democrats are doing all we can, both in the courts and in parliament, to prevent both the shut down of our democracy and a no deal Brexit. That’s why I’ll be joining the High Court judicial review launched by Gina Miller.”