Boris Johnson Wins Scottish Case Over Suspension of Parliament

(Bloomberg) -- A Scottish judge declined to block Boris Johnson’s plan to suspend Parliament, dealing a blow to lawmakers who argued that there isn’t enough time to thwart a no-deal Brexit.

Judge Raymond Doherty in Edinburgh held off granting an injunction against the prime minister’s move after the government said that the courts shouldn’t interfere with the political process. The ruling may be short-lived as the lawmakers plan to appeal.

The decision comes as members of Parliament themselves -- in the time available before a prorogation comes into effect -- prepare a bill to force Johnson to ask for an extension, with the PM in turn threatening a snap election if his negotiations with the European Union are undermined.

“This is political territory that can’t be measured by legal standards,” Doherty said.

The group of more than 70 lawmakers had argued that the government’s advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for as long as five weeks was unconstitutional because it curtailed debate in Westminster.

The case, alongside two other cases in London and Belfast will likely end up in front of the Supreme Court, the U.K.’s highest court. The country’s top judges are currently planning to cut short their traditional summer break to review the matter on Sept. 17, five days after the planned suspension comes into effect.

Jo Maugham, an attorney spearheading the legal case for the lawmakers, said that he’s focused on an appeal to the Scottish Inner House, “hopefully later this week.”

“This releases some very ugly constitutional demons,” he said after the ruling. “What we heard this morning is not the law as I understand it.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.