Court case fighting against prorogation of parliament pushed forward

PUBLISHED: 11:56 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:37 29 August 2019

Protesters in Westminster fighting against Boris Johnson's plan to prorogue parliament to force through Brexit. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire.

Protesters in Westminster fighting against Boris Johnson's plan to prorogue parliament to force through Brexit. Photograph: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire.

The hearing of a court case that aims to stop Boris Johnson proroguing parliament without MPs' approval has been pushed forward - and will now be heard today.

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Judge Lord Raymond Doherty had originally agreed to expedite the timetable for the legal challenge to take place, setting the date for the substantive hearing as Friday 6th September, but the hearing will now take place today.

The legal bid, backed by more than 70 MPs and peers, is seeking to get the Court of Session in Edinburgh to rule that suspending parliament to make the UK leave the EU without a deal is "unlawful and unconstitutional".

The cross-party group of politicians is backing the legal petition, supported by the Good Law Project, which won a victory at the European Court of Justice last year over whether the UK could unilaterally cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50.

Aidan O'Neill QC, representing the petitioners, said the prorogation was "unprecedented" and the petitioners are invoking the court's "constitutional jurisdiction."

He said: "Prorogation is being used to create something which is irreversible, that the UK will be made to leave the EU deal or no deal, do or die, and parliament is being prevented by abuse of the power of prorogation from doing anything about it.

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"There are no precedents for the abuse of prorogation.

"The power of prorogation is not one which is unlimited or unfettered but has to be used in accordance with public trust."

O'Neill said the Queen should be obliged to recall the prorogation order if it turned out to be based on an error of law.

He said: "If the court is satisfied that the advice to the sovereign given yesterday that parliament be prorogued is in fact found to be an abuse of power based on an error of law, then there should be an obligation on the sovereign to recall that order of prorogation because the sovereign is not above the law."

Seperate legal challenges in Westminster from Gina Miller, who has made an urgent application to the high court for a judical review and victims campaigner Raymond McCord in Belfast will be heard imminently.

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