A judge at the highest court in Scotland has deemed that the government’s planned prorogation of parliament is lawful.
Legal action aimed at preventing the UK government suspending parliament ahead of the Brexit deadline of October 31 was considered at the Court of Session in Edinburgh following a petition from barrister Jolyon Maugham QC alongside a cross-party group of 75 MPs and peers.
They claimed that the prime minister wants to limit MPs’ scrutiny and their attempts to stop a no-deal Brexit.
Delivering his verdict Judge Lord Doherty said that it was a political matter rather than an issue for the courts as he threw the case out.
But it is not the end for campaigners with more action expected from the group, and a case from Gina Miller to be heard in the High Court on Thursday.
Former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major, deputy Labour leader Tom Watson and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson have thrown their weight behind the challenge.
Announcing his decision, Lord Doherty said it was not a matter for the courts.
He said: “In my view, the advice given in relation to the prorogation decision is a matter involving high policy and political judgement.
“This is political territory and decision-making, which cannot be measured by legal standards, but only by political judgements. Accountability for the advice is to parliament and, ultimately, the electorate, and not to the courts.”
Lord Doherty added: “I do not accept the submission that the prorogation contravenes the rule of law and the claim is justiciable because of that.
“In my opinion, there has been no contravention of the rule of law.
“The power to prorogue is a prerogative power and the prime minister had the vires to advise the sovereign as to its exercise.”
Jolyon Maugham QC tweeted that the “hearing was always going to be a bit of a pre-season friendly.”
He added: “We’re now focused on the Inner House, hopefully later this week, and then the Supreme Court on 17 September.”
Responding in a statement petitioner Ian Murray, Labour MP for Edinburgh South said: “The fight against Boris Johnson’s assault on democracy and his plan to crash the UK out of the EU goes on.
“There will be an appeal on this ruling, and there is another court case taking place in England.
“But the main battle is currently in parliament, where the prime minister has lost his majority and does not have the support of the House for his dangerous plan to impose a no-deal Brexit on the country.
“We have wrested control of parliamentary business and will attempt to pass a law that makes a no deal Brexit illegal. We will also fight to secure a final say for the people of the UK on Brexit and we must campaign to remain in the EU.”